A Knit Decision

Knitting in Oregon, with other stuff, too, such as crochet, cats, dogs, history, fashion, highly opiniated rants, reading, diabetes, church, life in general, etc. I like circular needles, prefer natural yarns, don't spin, choose small projects, and don't have any one favorite yarn store. I love them all.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Four Baby Sweaters

If the photograph is bad enough, I can claim anything about it. That's kind of a nice principle for the blog.

So here's my claim: This is a photograph of four completed baby sweaters. The only remaining thing for these things is buttons or ties. The top sweater is the blue/purple/grey Baby Surprise Jacket. The right one is the Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono. The one at the left is a pink & green Baby Surprise Jacket. The one in the center is my famous Hippy Baby Surprise Jacket. I sewed seams and edgings and finished these four. Except for the buttons on the BSJs and the ties on the Baby Kimono.

The pink & green and the blue/purple/gray BSJs go to Dr. Parts' employee's babies, J'meer & Audrey. The Hippy BSJ is going to my quadriplegic co-worker. No, it's not for him directly. His caregiver just had her first grandchild. That's close enough to a stranger, and yet a deserving, hardworking stranger, for a recipient of a beautifully crafted hand-knit wool garment. And, even though I think the color is awful, it's probably the best constructed and most technically satisfying of these four garments, to me, the knitter. Also, baby is small enough so it should fit. The Baby Kimono is for Dorothy, whose mom blogs here. (BTW, I spotted Dorothy's mom on Sunday and she looked happy and healthy and still pregnant. Hooray!)

I'm sticking to my deadline rule of no new casting on until these projects are done and given to their intended recipients. I have to sew on the buttons on these three, create and attach the ties for the baby kimono, finish (4 rows) the white BSJ, sew the seams on the white BSJ, do an I-cord edging on it, and sew on buttons.

Dr. Parts drove me to the fabric store and gave helpful input on the button selection. What a great guy. Later, I bought him blue flame bean bag chairs and Ben & Jerry's ice cream. What a lucky guy.

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Okay, this is it. This is the weekend for finishing all those baby sweaters. They need to be completed and out of my house. Those youngsters are growing and it's time they got their gifts.

No new projects for you, young lady, until you finish up those sweaters! No casting on. No new needles. No yarn purchases. Nope, not even that.

We'll see how I do on Monday. Hopefully I'll have photos for you.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Photo of me

This is a photo of me knitting in the wild, taken last Sunday, July 23, 2006. I am working on my One Skein Secret Pal exchange gift, which will go to Kim.

Cooler to my left, yarn to my right. River in front. Life is good!

Thanks, Dr. Parts for taking the photo. And thanks for telling me that I looked beautiful when you took it.

Monday, July 24, 2006

When the knitting gets hot...

...the tough go out into the woods to knit.

This is the view I had from my camp chair. This is the Salmonberry river, as it flows through Oregon's Tillamook Forest.

Dr. Parts found this place. It's only a few hours from our home. You drive about halfway on normal, standard, civilized highways, with pavement and signs and fast food and convenience stores. Then you head off into the forest and drive the rest of the way on gravel and dirt roads, without signs and without seven eleven stores.

This river is small, by northwest standards, but the location is lovely. It has some delightful pools which I waded into. That mountain chilled water helps cool the body and refresh the spirit. We got there at about 2:30 pm and stayed until about 8 pm.

I knit several rows on my gift project. It's for my One Skein Secret Pal. It's not wool or acrylic, so it was fine to knit on hot summer days. Dr. Parts and Snickers wandered around and explored the nearby rail tracks. (You knew there had to be a railroad connection.)

We also practiced with the firearms. I think my husband was suitably impressed. This was my first time firing a handgun. I must say, my husband owns a very large handgun. I hit the target several times with the .22 rifle, but didn't hit it at all with the very large handgun. He says I got close enough, but I would certainly require more practice with the handgun.

There were nasty biting flies, but we had repellant and protective clothing, so we did okay. The temperature in Portland over the last three days has been exceptionally high, which I find particularly unpleasant. The weather forecast says that the overnight temperatures should return to a more normal range today or tomorrow.

I'm looking forward to it. The knitting fares much better when it's cool.

Old Business: yes, I did offer my North Neighbor a small cash amount for the orange plastic & metal swift she had out in the garage sale junk pile. So I now own a swift. I used it to help wind the ball from which I was knitting out on the Salmonberry River.

Dr. Parts took the photo above, and he also took a photo of my knitting.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I walked, I knit, I made a sock.

Saturday morning, I went for a four mile training walk with my girlfriends, as I am supposed to be doing this big relay in five weeks. My feet ached for the remainder of the weekend.

I'm not sure if the walk is going to happen for me. I took a chair to the dog park (normally, the owners stand around or stroll). I sat through the songs at the Sunday church service. When you're measuring out how much pain you're in vs. how many steps and how much standing time it requires to prepare your next meal, that's pretty serious. Also, much of the knitting kit and the stash is on floor two of the house, and I was on floor one. When you consider whether you need to make a trip to the second story of your own house to continue to knit, that's bad.

I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I consulted my podiatrist earlier this year. I got orthotics. I got new shoes. I'm wearing the orthotics and the new shoes. I iced, I used OTC anti-inflammatory drugs. I'm going to go see my internist on Thursday. Is surgery a good solution for my feet? Blecch. Maybe after August. I am too young to feel this bad.

Anybody out there want to walk a few miles and do a little sleep deprivation with my friends later this summer? Email me at lorirode AT gmail DOT com. I'll knit you some leg warmers, if you'll go get my yarn.

Saturday afternoon, I visited Tangle, a great LYS, which does not have a website, as far as I can tell. (Otherwise I would link to it. They're in Lake Oswego. There is free parking nearby. They carry Blue Moon. They have social knitting on Sunday afternoons, 2-5 pm.) I ran into Judy, who writes a blog that I admire greatly. Her fabulous blog, entitled Persistent Illusion, is here. I felt so pleased with myself for 1) identifying her by the overheard comments (son, music) and sock project in her hand, and 2) introducing myself. They are terrific and pleasant people in the shop. Great teenagers there, too.

I had to buy some yarn for my One Skein Secret Pal's July gift. I was thinking purples, as I have a set of purple stitch markers to send her, and some beautiful post-it notes in purple. I was also thinking Blue Moon's Socks that Rock. I love that yarn. It is a joy to work with and generous amount of yardage per skein. They didn't have a nice solid purple (I think I was remembering 'Star Sapphire'), so I got a colorway entitled 'Mist'. Judy put a photo of it up at her website. I got my OSSP one skein and I got one for myself. I was also tempted by 'Scaponia' but it had orange, and that was similar to the last skein I got for my pal.)

I had started my Class Sock from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks book. (Thanks for the tip, Stephanie.) I used the free yarn that I had on hand, so my stupid little worsted weight non-wearable sock looks great. I made several errors. That's OK. That's what practice socks are for. I used two circulars. It worked great. My errors were: carrying yarn in front during the heel stitch, so that part looks wonky, and lousy picking up of stitches along the edge of the heel flap for the gusset. One side of the picked up stitches looks great; the other is awful. How does that happen? And why didn't I go back and do it right?

Because it was a flippin' practice sock and it didn't really matter! I know how to pick up stitches. Besides, the color changing yarn made it look worse than it might have. No one's going to wear the thing. I might stuff it and let it become a dog or cat toy. I might add a drawstring and let it become a bag for storing game tiles.

By the time I was at Tangle, I had turned the heel, and decreased for the gusset, but not yet completed the body of the sock or grafted the toes. Judy was there, working on her Lapis socks, which have since been renamed to Tangled Up In Blue. They are so beautiful. Judy was very encouraging to me and explained the pattern for the leg of the sock, which looked so complicated to me, but turns out to be quite simple. She also gave me permission to work the ankle in straight ribbing if I wanted to.

I may do Judy's sock next, as I want to try doing two socks at once, using two circulars. I also want to try her cast-on technique and try a toe-up version. A couple of the Schurch socks are really appealing to me, too, so we'll see.

Oh, and while I was doing my three inches of ribbing for the ankle of my first practice sock, I knew I had been entered by the spirit of Hermione, when I thought to myself, "You know, you could just do a few decreases right here and this would be a lovely little preemie hat."

House-elf hats are everywhere. They get into your blood.

Friday, July 14, 2006

M-D Heartbreakingly Cute Baby Kimono

Here it is, in Sugar'n Cream, color Violet Veil (white with blue, violet & yellow). How nice. I don't have the ties done. I'm not sure if I'll do Stephanie's twisted cord or I-cord or ribbons. I did a make-one increase, two stitches from the end, which mades a lovely angled edge.

I like it, but I'm not sure I'll make this particular shape again. The wrist openings on this one seem quite narrow. I may not sew the seam quite to the end, to leave a slit. I was thinking this slit would be about 3 stitches long (to the first/last increase/decrease for sleeve length). It's a design feature, right?

Maybe I just haven't hung out with enough babies. They are tiny things, I hear.

I'm planning on giving this one to Becci, who is the mother of Dorothy. I'm still planning on making a more formal Baby Sweater for Dorothy, too.

I want to try the Sally Melville The Knit Stitch Baby Albert jacket next. I have several nice choices of yarns to try it in.

I need to purchase some yarn for my One Skein Secret Pal's July package. I'm thinking deep rich purple. I have a project to knit to send to her in August, but haven't started that one yet.

In my interactions with our North Neighbor, I have a high level of frustration. I like her kid, but don't like kid's behavior all the time. (In other words, I, the childless one, have trouble saying 'no' when it needs to be said.) North Neighbor has been trying to have a garage sale in her driveway for the last few weeks. It looks more like a garage explosion over the front yard, with no order, very junky, no posted prices, she starts the sale at noon, and we live on a dead end street. Not likely to be terribly successful. They've just left the stuff out during the rains of the past few days. I looked at the offerings once and didn't see anything worth talking about. For instance, they're trying to sell DVD sets with the movie disc missing.

So, yesterday, I was walking North Kiddo back to her house, and seeing the stuff, and I spotted a swift in a pile! It looks like it's plastic and metal, and I couldn't really take a look at the thing, but I don't have a swift. I may have to talk with them about it in the next few days. I wonder if it's actually in working order.

And now back to our regularly scheduled house-elf hats.

Oh, BTW, the aforementioned Stephanie has joined a new web-ring, the Knitting Stephanies. I think this is so cool and I am 100% jealous. I'm going to have to find out if I can get a 'Friend of' button. The Knitting Loris just doesn't quite sound the same. And I'm glad to learn that Stephanie likes squirrels. My dog would approve. As long as 'likes' means 'likes to chase and is willing to kill if required'.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Free Yarn

Here is a Kristin from the Naked Sheep Knit Shop , the closest yarn shop to my house - and they have Bryspuns - with the 10 skeins of yarn that I won in their annual sales raffle. They're 100 gram balls of Universal Yarn's Classic Worsted LP, in a pink/dusty mauve colorway. It's a nice worsted weight blend of wool & acrylic. It's perfect for baby girl sweaters and hats, as it is washable. It may go into the stash, as I really must finish some other projects up first.

Since I mentioned the 2006 weight loss out loud in my previous post, the scale has punished me by informing me that I have re-gained 2 lbs overnight. Ah, yeah, go on. I think it will be strict dieting for the remainder of the weekend.

I'm nearly done with the Mason-Dixon Cute Baby Kimono. I think I have another 8-12 rows to go on the front.

I'm listening to the book Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and it's in a format that only works in the house, not the car. The car book is Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham. It makes me have a low opinion of art students, let me tell you. I already had a low opinion of medical students. The library has the movie Of Human Bondage with Bette Davis. Must see that.

So I sit in the Dr. Parts-less house and listen to my book and knit. A very pleasant way to spend the evening. (And, yes, Dr. Parts, we taped your Stephen King show. At least, I think we did.)

My free yarn may work to make the Charlene Schurch class sock from Sensational Knitted Socks. Thanks for the reference, Stephanie!

The Naked Sheep Knit Shop has open knitting tonight. Perhaps I'll go and knit with them. They're good people. They gave me yarn.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Dr. Parts is off to the wilderness

He's out camping with his buddies for four nights. I have a few 'please record my show' assignments and have to feed the animals in his absence, but other than that, I'm on my own.

I'm undecided whether to pig out or strictly diet all five days. My scale says I'm only 8 lbs from my weight loss goal. Note-my weight loss goal is still 10 lbs higher than the highest 'acceptable' weight for my height on any height-weight chart I've ever seen. But, as a diabetic, any weight loss is helpful in controlling the disease. My weight loss goal for the year 2006 is 25 lbs. And, of course, the secondary goal is to keep the weight off and do it for the next 3-5 years. So, what I do this next five days is unlikely to make or break the whole project. Then again, I have to go to visit the M.D. next Thursday, and she cares what I weigh. It might also help her decide that I may need less medication. Cross your fingers for me.

My friends at The Naked Sheep Knit Shop called to say that I won a bag of yarn in their annual sale raffle. Will I be able to pick it up tonight or will I have to put it off until tomorrow? (Maybe I can get a photo of it in my blog.) I don't recall what kind of yarn it was. I think there were 6 or 8 skeins in the bag, but I have no idea what sort of project it may make.

This weekend, I plan to finish up J'meer's baby jacket, as Dr. Parts swears the kid is on the verge of out-growing it. I'm skeptical. It's wool. It's garter-stitch. It's stretchy. I think it would fit his nieces who have just turned six.

And my One Skein Secret Pal has promised to send me my June and July skeins in this week. Hooray! Bless you, dear one. I hope your summer has gone well. I'll have to take a good photo of the OSSP yarn!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Weekend Recap

Mom's visit was great, even though we didn't get to go to a movie together. We chose a very popular movie and did not pre-purchase tickets. We decided to skip the 45-minute wait for seats in the next available show. The wait line snaked around the building in the sun, without benches.

I got to show off my collection of baby jacket projects. Mom was suitably impressed. I've got a great mom and we have a good relationship. I am so blessed.

I had a knitting growth moment. I was working along on my Mason-Dixon Baby Kimono and realized that I didn't think the body was long enough. So, I thought to myself, 'I can pull out the cast-on edge and knit some extra rows on the bottom.'

And I did.

I'm so impressed with myself.

It was in cotton, so the un-doing was not too tough. It was a long-tail cast-on, but I put the needle in one loop and pulled on the free end of the yarn and un-did it, stitch by stitch. Then, however, it took a little bit of attention to figure out which way to go and straighten out which stitches to work on the edges. Then I figured out that instead of knitting every row to complete my garter stitch pattern for this extra section, I would have to PURL every row. Go figure. I guess my removal of the cast-on row turned me around a bit. I could have taken out a second row, I think, or started the yarn on the other end to go back to knitting, but I'm pretty happy with my purl stitch. Purling is fine.

So I did. I purled an extra 8 rows or so, and I'm much happier with the length of the body. It was gonna look like a baby shrug, if I didn't.

Dr. Parts is going on a camp-out with his nuts & bolts buddies this weekend. I'll have lots of time to knit.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Mom's On Her Way

My mom's coming for the weekend. This means that Dr. Parts goes into a cleaning and repair frenzy. All of the messes that I've been looking at and projects requiring his help for the last vague period of time or so must now be done, at Dr. Parts' decree, by the time my mother arrives on the weekend.

Thanks, Mom! Can you be sure to drop by at least four times a year? I'd appreciate it. No, I'm not joking. No you don't hear any sarcasm. Truly. We love to see you, and the house has never looked better.

This does, however, mean less time to knit. I've not finished those last two Baby Surprise Jackets, but have made progress on the Fingerless Garter(stitch) Mitts.

Because Stephanie has made them look so cute, I was attracted to the Baby Kimono from Mason-Dixon Knitting. I went out and bought the book. At my LYS. I read the pattern. I thought to myself, "Well, I think I bought 3 balls of dishcloth cotton the last time I was over at that fabric store in Beaverton. I don't know which brand it is, but Stephanie says that the brand she used took 3 balls, and Ann & Kay say that their brand uses 2 balls to make the adorable baby kimono, so you're OK either way."

So, this morning I was AWAKE at 3:30 am. No particular reason. I could have used those hours to clean and organize, but no. I proceeded to my stash, cleverly stored in a plastic tub on the living room floor, which will be easily moved as the hours for Mom's arrival grows closer. I pulled out the cotton. It's the brand specified in the Mason Dixon book. It's a variegated: white with yellow, purple and blue. I got the needles. I stole away to the upstairs TV room/guest room/train room. I knitted. I have most of the back done and am about halfway through the casting on section for the arms. It is so cute. It is hard to resist. I can always give this one to Dorothy. It's much better than the Hippy Baby Sweater. I promise.

And here is the finished Hippy Baby Sweater:

The yarn goddesses gave us a nice solid blue stripe along the front edge which lays on top. This is, IMHO, very helpful in calming the whole thing down. It needs buttons, but that's all.

Life is good. And I get to see my mom soon. Hooray!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

School's out for summer

I've decided not to take any knitting classes this summer. I want to take a beginning sock class, and a nice one is offered at the Naked Sheep store near my house. I want to learn socks on DPNs, but I will likely switch to using circulars once I understand the technique. I have a couple of patterns for beginning socks, but I really wanted to take a class to have an experienced knitter explain things.

I'm not going to take a class at this time, because I am planning to walk the Portland-To-Coast relay walk on August 25 and 26. My weekends are prime walking time. After I take a nice long walk, 60-90 minutes, and at a good brisk pace, I often require a nap. This will cut into my knitting time, both the walking and the napping. The gals on my team are also requiring that I do several things that seem to be in my job description as Team Captain. Here I am, wondering why I ever agreed to do this, and who are these annoying people on my team?

Don't worry, it usually all works out OK in the end, much like knitting, as long as your technique was good through the project.

I can move the sock class to the autumn schedule, I think. Or, I can, given my propensity to make the project prior to the class, attempt the sock construction on my own, using internet help and tutorials. It's really just an excuse to buy more Socks that Rock from Blue Moon Fiber Art. That is fine yarn.

On Tuesday, I knit for several rows on the second Fingerless Mitt, so that project nears completion. I like these mitts and may be wearing them this winter around the office. Two finished Baby Surprise Jackets, hooray. Minimal progress on the preemie hats.

I do have a nice place to send them now, though, that's good. I plan on sending these to Heavenly Angels in Need. They're headquartered in Oregon, but have chapters all over the place. I may also send them my wedding gown. They use donated wedding gowns to sew burial gowns for infants (all sizes). I'll be able to ask Mary to send my items to Oregon hospitals, although I'm not sure if they'll be sent to Portland metropolitan area hospitals.

So, for the PTC relay walk, we need to drive the course. That's going to be best to do on a weekend.

Oh, and DH has settled on an acceptably nickname. Henceforth, he will be referred to on the blog as Dr. Parts. His initials are DR and he is the parts manager for a local truck and trailer company.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Red Portrait

This photo is of my DH, who does not yet have a cool blog nickname, and the dog, Snickers, who goes by her real life call name. She also answers to 'doggy', as in 'little brown doggy' and 'duyawanna', as in 'duyawanna go to the park' or 'duyawanna cookie'.

I did knit this weekend. I have two out of four Baby Surprise Jackets finished, well, finished to the point of needing buttons. These are the Hippy version and the pink & green one. I still have to finish up the blue/purple/grey one and the white. I need to knit a fifth sweater for my giving away, (and perhaps a fourth, if I decide not to give the Hippy Baby Jacket to any of these families).

The I-cord border with I-cord border buttonholes is brilliant, both functional and cute.

I started on the second hand of the Leigh Radford Fingerless Garter(stitch) Mitts, and have worked on that piece to the point of having one beaded row done and two of the extra wrap sections done.

I went down to Close-Knit on Saturday morning and participated in their Lawn Chair Knitting. They encourage you to bring your own chair and sit under the awning along the sidewalk in front of their establishment and knit. I met several great folks. I love visiting a variety of LYS. One is not enough. They also have a really cool South African Baby Bootie pattern there, which I must make soon. Maybe I'll take the class they're offering. Whoops, no, inconvenient scheduling, conflicts with my normal practice of worship. Worship comes first, and no, we're not talking about the yarn goddesses.

Still haven't cast on for the Yorick scarf from Knitty. It will be for the aforementioned DH. We could call him 'the Manager', 'Mr. Parts', 'DR', or simply enough 'Sir'. He went fishing with Bro on Saturday. Hey we could call him 'He Who Fishes'. I think they had a nice time (although he swiped my chair, which gave me moments of frustration). On Sunday, he bought a beautiful double purple petunia to hang in the front entry and an interesting salmon lily for the front entry also. Gosh, he's a good guy and I'm a lucky woman. I did get some housework done, believe it or not.

I got some bubble-gum pink yarn and have started on one of TiaJudy's Baby Cable Caps. The yarn is a superwash merino by Lanett. I must say, pink definitely improves the house-elf hat.

Enjoy your fourth of July, whether it is a holiday for you or not. I certainly enjoy the freedoms in my native land, the USA. I would caution folks to remember the difference between patriotism and nationalism. We do not currently plan on enjoying any out-of-home Independence Day celebrations, but rather, relaxing at home.

Cool, that means I can knit.