Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bye Bye July

Did you know we’re only a handful of days away from August? Where did the last 2 months go?!  This means my summer is coming to an end and I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled programming.  Back to normal days and normal weeks.  Teacher workshops begin August 18 and kids return on August 23.

But then it’s only 3 ½ more months after that when I’ll start maternity leave! 

I wish I had more to share with you today. Life has slowed down a bit and I’ve been able to get through a really long week this week.  Now I can relax.  Bring on the knitting!

I’ve held off on large or complicated projects because I couldn’t them the attention needed.  Now I have time.

Anyway, I know the blog has been a bit quiet over the summer, but it will pick up again soon.

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

WIP Tuesday??

It’s Tuesday and I don’t really have a whole lot to share with you.  I’ve been preoccupied with other things that take priority and so my knitting has taken a backseat.  And it seems that even when I do have time to sit down, relax and knit for the evening, I can’t find the motivation.

With that said, I have made some progress on a few things.  I won’t be posting a WIP post tomorrow, so I’ll share a bit today.  Lego Man remains at the same point he was last week.  What’s holding me up this time?  I have to go downstairs and find my fiberfill (I know right where it is) and pack a ziplock bag full of it to take back to my knitting bag.  Hard, right?  Just a few steps down and back up and I’d be ready to roll.  Nope, still haven’t done it!  After next week I’d like to put some real effort into working on that project.  Now that I’ve started it, I’m feeling more confident that I have the skills necessary to make this a wonderful toy.  While I’m not usually one to worry if my knits don’t look exactly like the picture, I know I’ll be disappointed if this one doesn’t, so I sort of feel as though I’ve gone into this project with too many expectations of myself.  Then again, you know that saying?  “Reach for the moon and you’ll fall among the stars.”  That’s the mentality I’m trying to maintain here.

I’ve finished 1 more Harris Tweed Square on Squishy’s Dream Catcher blanket and have started the 4th HT square.  Once the 4th square is done, I’ll have 20% of the blanket done.  I may make it bigger than 25 squares, but I’m aiming for 25 and then I’ll wait to see what I think of the size.  On a side note, and certainly something I’ll be mentioning later on…  the yarn is acrylic.  And I’m going to block it.  Yep, you heard me.  I’m going to block my acrylic squares.  Then no matter how many times I put this thing through the wash, I will never have to reblock it again.  I’ve found some great resources and how-tos on blocking acrylic and I think I can make it work.  I’m actually really excited about this because I think it will really finish the blanket nicely.

I finished a baby hat for Lovebug.  I’ll share pictures another day.  

As for other WIP news…well Friday marks 24 weeks for Lovebug and me.  She’s moving around quite a bit now (or rather, I feel her more now).  She seems to really like chocolate milk because she always gets really active after I’ve had a glass.  We went to the last Harry Potter movie the other night and I thought she’d move around a lot with all the noise, but she didn’t.  (About this time, babies can hear loud noises outside the womb and recognize familiar loud noises like the vacuum and your dogs barking…like mine love to do…)  Instead, it was when we got back to Mr. Man’s mom’s house that she started moving a ton.  Maybe because it got so quiet?

I’ve had horrible heartburn that attacks every night. Pepcid and TUMS are my friend right now.  There’s a more noticeable belly now too. 

Lovebug has a good selection of clothes at the moment, ranging from 3-6 months up to 18 months.  Very cute, adorable girly things that I can’t wait to dress her in.

So that’s what’s new with me this week.  I think near the end of the week we’ll be heading to the Demolition Derby at the County Fair.  Squishy will love it and Mr. Man actually gets to come along this year!  Hooray!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WIP Wednesday 7/13

Good afternoon, readers!  I hope you all are keeping cool and comfortable.  We’ve had an array of weather from hot and humid to rainy and a little cold.  I sort of like those rainy days because it tempers the humidity, which is never lacking during an Iowa summer!

So what’s on my needles for this week you ask?   Nothing to block, that’s for certain.  I’ve started Squishy’s Lego Man and have almost finished the head.  I just need to stuff it, kitchener some pieces together, and knit one additional part and Squishy can run around telling me his man is “broke.”

I showed you my blanket squares last week.  They’ve not gotten any further.  I’m okay with that – it’s not meant to be a “get it done now” project. 

But since both of these items are a bit more long-term, I had to start something that was small and easy.  To take the edge off, I cast on for Little Pumpkin by Susan Anderson.  If you’ve been following the blog for awhile, you’ve seen this hat before, a couple times.  Since the baby will be born in November, she needs a fall hat.  I’m sizing it down slightly so it will be sure to have a nice fit when she arrives.

Things have slowed down with the knitting and probably won’t pick up again much until August when I’m not so occupied by other things.  That’s when small projects are the best!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Pair of Socks

While procrastinating the cast on for Squishy’s Lego Man, I decided to cast on for a pair of baby socks.  I’ve been watching The Expectant Knitter Podcast and currently, she has a KAL (knit-a-long) happening in her group.  The KAL encompasses 4 baby sock or bootie patterns.  They include the Super Quick Baby Socks (you saw mine HERE), the Spring Daffodil Baby Socks, Converse Booties, and Seamless Saartje Booties.

For every pair of baby socks or booties that you finish, you post a picture in the appropriate thread and you get an entry into a drawing for some lovely prize (it could be yarn, stitch markers, project bag – things like that).  This was great timing because it’s prompted me to knit some booties that I might not have otherwise knit for the baby.  And while I’m trying to make one or two things (at least) for Squishy before the baby comes, this gives me an excuse to knit some small projects that are more instant gratification than the large toy.

The second pair of socks I finished are these.  The Spring Daffodil Baby Socks by Steph Mychaid.  (I do believe that is Steph from the Expectant Knitter Podcast.) 
These were toe-up construction, which I’ve not done before.  It meant I had to learn a new cast on.  So off I went to the Knit Girllls video on Judy’s Magic Cast On and after a few tries, I finally got it right.  In this video, the demonstrator is using a circular needle – but I was using dpns at the time because I don’t have any circs smaller than US 4.    The cast on is neat because it gives a seamless cast on that is good for the tops of hats and toes of socks and that sort of thing.  It’s definitely one I’ll keep in my tool box.

I don’t know if you notice or not, it’s somewhat hidden by the variegated yarn, but there is a diagonal pattern created on the top of the foot, whereas the bottom of the foot, heel and back of the cuff are plain stockinette rows. 

I thought this would be better suited for a girl’s design, but in a pair of socks like what I’ve made, I think they easily work for boys.  And my first inclination was to save these socks for a little boy, but I decided to keep them for myself.

I’m not completely happy with the heel construction.  I’ve only made a few pairs of baby/toddler/small child socks and they’ve all been top/cuff down.  This pattern included a short row heel where the stitches for the heel are wrapped until there are 4 remaining unwrapped stitches in the middle, after which point, you go back through and pick up and knit the wraps on the stitches to decrease and increase short rows accordingly. 
Personally, I feel that makes the heel just a little too deep for baby feet.  I think if I were to make them again, I’d go until there were 6 unwrapped stitches in the middle (7 wrapped stitches on each side) and then increase again. 

I tried the socks on a baby doll I have.  Dream Baby’s got pretty stubby fat feet that are nothing like a baby’s, but they gave me a small idea of how they might fit.  I think these will be okay, but the heel might have a funny dimple – kind of like when you put a sweater on a hanger and you get hanger nipples.

Overall, I think this is a really cute pattern.  I don’t know if I’d knit it again.  There are so many options for baby socks and booties, it sort of feels like a waste to only use one pattern.  And I certainly have a few more in my queue that I want to try. 

But now Lovebug has 2 pairs of hand-knit socks to keep her bitty toes nice and toasty. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Just in Case Any of You Wonder

For those of you who are active members on Ravelry, you know what I'm talking about when I mention looking for patterns, talking to friends, and sharing our knits.  But for those of you who aren't part of the community, I thought it might be interesting for you to read a little more about what it's all about.

Through the Due in November 2011 pregnancy group on Ravelry, another member shared a link to an article describing Ravelry.  I think it sums it up nicely, so I wanted to link it for all of you to read.

Article on Raverly found here. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Whirlwind of a Weekend

For those of us in the US, this weekend had potential to be a very busy weekend, since Monday was the 4th of July. Since the 4th landed on Monday, most activities took place over the weekend. Mom & I took Squishy to Kid's Day in the park on Friday. It was terribly hot and sticky and I'm glad we were only outside for a couple hours. We spent the remainder of the day doing some shopping. But Squishy got to see the Kid's Parade and hear some of the drums play in the band, and then he got to ride the Smiley Train!

It's hard for little kids to wait in line, but Squishy did really well. He enjoyed watching the train pull kids around, although he always got upset when kids got out and he couldn't get in. When it was his turn, I thought he might get upset and not want to ride, or that he'd be uncomfortable being taken away from where Mom & I were, but to my surprise, he hardly noticed. He's getting to be such a big boy! Instead he was very intent on "driving" his car as best as he could. And he insisted on having his sunglasses on. The hardest part was probably getting him out of the train to leave…he wanted another ride!

The weekend was spent enjoying time with family. On Saturday, Mr. Man worked during the day, but that evening we dropped Squishy off at Grandma's for the night and we went to a movie. We saw X-Men: First Class. I really enjoyed the movie and since we went to the local theatre, it was only $4 for the two of us. The Charles Theater isn't fancy, but it's cheap and it's in town and when there's a movie we really want to see, it's worth it. Next up is Cars 2 and I think we might try and take Squishy.

Sunday was a low-key day. We picked Squishy up at lunchtime, ate and put him down for a nap. He took a VERY long nap and by the time he woke up, it was time to go back to Mom's house for a Low Country Boil. We had shrimp, sausage, corn on the cob and potatoes. It was so good and there wasn't a piece of it left over by the time the evening came to an end. PaPa's daughter (my stepsister) was home with her family from Colorado, so we got to enjoy their company (Squishy loves playing with his cousins and insists on trying to keep up with them!) My grandpa and great-uncle came to town, and my uncle and his wife were in town from Chicago. It was relaxing and enjoyable. As everyone settled into relaxing after supper, Mr. Man, Sis and I took Squishy for a drive in my mom's yellow convertible Mustang. Squishy LOVES this car and always wants to drive it. We actually have to keep a very close eye on him because he's prone to walk out to the garage and get in the car…

We went for a short drive through town and out on the highway. Again, the little man surprised me because he enjoyed the wind and open view of the sky. He doesn't like riding with car windows down so I thought for sure this would bug him. But he took in all in and really enjoyed himself. It was a late night for him, but good to do something out of the norm.
Then Monday was the 4th and so of course that meant the parade. Squishy ooh'ed and ahh'ed at the big trucks, the band and the horses (as well as all the dogs), but spent a majority of his time sitting next to my niece on the curb like a big boy. Even though we applied copious amounts of sunscreen, he still got a little burned on his face and neck. I think it's required that the 4th be hot and sticky!

After the parade and lunch, we were back home for some time to relax and Squishy's nap. Then back to Grandma & Grandpa's house for more good food (we grilled) and fun. Fireworks were at 10pm at the airport, preceded by the Municipal Band at 8:30pm. We loaded up the cars with snacks and drinks and headed out early.

There were sparklers and s'mores and good seats. During the fireworks, Squishy decided to sit with his cousins again. He was very absorbed in what they were doing, but you could always tell when he was watching the lights and colors because he would "WOW" and exclaim "What was that?!"
It was nice to see everyone and spend time as a family together. Squishy enjoyed all the company and excitement and makes me very excited to see him with his little sister when she arrives. I hope everyone had as enjoyable weekend as we did. I did hardly any knitting, but honestly, it was a good break for me.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Aren't They Sweet?

My friend, Ber, in Ireland sent us a wonderful surprise last week. I checked the mail on Friday to find a package with a few goodies for the kids.

Squishy was thrilled to receive a new book, of tractors no less! He has really enjoyed looking through all the photos, picking out items and naming colors. Ber, you hit the nail on the head with this one. :) Monday, when were in the kitchen getting our cooler ready for fireworks, he spent his time with us flipping through the pages.
And for Lovebug, Ber sent a super soft, pretty little pink set. Tiny Shoes with iridescent white buttons are a wonderful touch. And a Swirl Hat (I've made one as well - it's a great pattern) that looks so tiny it's hard to believe a person could ever be so small!
Ber, we really appreciate the time you took to make these for our little girl and send them our way, as well as to think of sending something for Squishy! Mr. Man was surprised to see such a gift in the mail, "just because." It goes to show how wonderful, kind and generous other knitters can be! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

WIP Wednesday 7/6

I've hit a lull in my knitting, which probably makes sense if you've been reading the blog for the last week or so. I wouldn't say I burned myself out, but for a good while, I was planning what I wanted to knit, one right after another. Once I finished the last baby cardigan, I realized I didn't have anything specific lined up to knit next.

I thought I would find this a bit liberating, but what I'm coming to learn is that I fumble a bit when this happens. Every time I get the chance to knit whatever I want, with no specific project in mind, it takes me forever to pick something and knit it. And it feels as though it's because there's no drive or motivation behind any one pattern.

I've been wanting to knit Some Assembly Required for Squishy. I thought he would enjoy all the interchangeable pieces. Actually, I know he'll enjoy it. But I've procrastinated for almost a week from casting on because of the provisional cast on. I've done it before, but it was done poorly. And although I've watched a couple videos, I don't feel as though I have mastered the technique yet.

So instead, using the yarn I purchased for the toy, I started a blanket. I've knit 1.75 squares from the Dream Catcher Baby Blanket pattern on Spud Says by Susan B. Anderson. I have 3 colors - navy, gray and yellow in I Love This Yarn. It's a cheap, acrylic yarn, but it's pretty soft and not too squeaky. I don't mind working with it. I thought it would be a nice, cheap, durable yarn for a toy that's likely to get a lot of use and love. Normally I would splurge on a higher quality fiber, but with a tight budget and the need to be knitting something, Hobby Lobby is the place to go at the moment. (I would have knit from stash but I didn't have anything that really suited my needs.)
I like the blanket squares because they're mindless and give me something to do while I gather the courage to cast on for this giant Lego Man. Some time down the road I'll pick up 2 more colors to round out the blanket. Also, I feel the need to mention that I knew I would have well beyond enough of this yarn after the toy was finished, and felt obligated to find another project to use this yarn on. I thought about a crocheted blanket, but I wasn't quite ready to dive back into really thinking about crochet and Susan's pattern is so simple and lovely I couldn't pass it up.
So that's what's on the needles this week. Probably a pair of baby socks as well, seeing as how they're so quick. :) I've also got a couple gifts I need to get started so I can send them on their way.

What's on your needles or hook this week?