Two Left Needles

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June 2007 - Posts

My birthday nearly coincided with a sale Miss Babs was having on her fibers (she's closing out her handdyed fibers to focus on handdyed yarns), so I went a bit nuts. Here are some of the goodies:

Miss Babs merino/silk in Rose Garden
80/20 Merino/Silk in Rose Garden

Miss Babs BFL in Rock Wall
Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) in Rock Wall

Miss Babs merino/silk in Soft Falling Leaves
80/20 Merino/Silk in Soft Falling Leaves

Miss Babs merino/silk in Deep Triad
50/50 Merino/Silk in Deep Triad

Miss Babs SW Merino batt in Sunrise!
Superwash Merino batt in Sunrise!

I keep thinking about gorgeous colors and spinning and get all excited! And then I look at the neverending white/brown cormo/alpaca on the wheel and sigh.

Must. Finish. Cormo/alpaca!

Thanks for the reassurances that things get easier sooner than 6 years from now. I needed to remember that last night. Over the last 2 weeks Baby Girl has gone from Easy Baby to "Fussy" Baby (which my sister reminds me is really Normal Baby). It's been a combination of gas / night light / overstimulation / overtiredness / heat. Boy, my troubleshooting skills really come into play here.

The night light we bought because the dark scared her, and she'd wake up and freak out. Turns out the night light meant poorer sleep (for all of us). She's been getting used to the dark and my reassurances, so it's become a non-issue.

The overstimulation was from too much fun. Now we know she can handle only so much playing before she is POOPED. (Lifting your head is hard work!)

The overtiredness was from being overstimulated! And when you're having fun, who thinks about sleep?? But then it hits you. And once overtired, man, it's tough to sleep. Now we keep an eagle eye out for signs of naptime.

Heat, well, not a lot we can do there. We're MELTing in this 90's heat. No A/C, either (casement windows). We always toughed it out before, but dealing with a baby in this weather is making us reconsider our options. Any suggestions on portable A/C's?

Gas, well, still working on that one. I've changed my burping technique and that helps. Also, a lot more belly massages and bicycling of legs going on. In fact, I spent a few hours doing that last night. And nursing. Between 11 pm and 3 am. Hence the need to remember that it does get easier!

Still, she's a relatively easy baby, and outside of those late night hours, I'd be quick to say it.

FBS

Much progress has been made on the Flower Basket Shawl:

FBS Redux - in progress

Ha! Bet you didn't expect to see it so grown!

The pattern uses a heavier weight yarn and only requires 6 repeats of the main chart. Naturally, as I neared the end of 6 repeats, I got kinda excited! Until I noticed the shawl was quite, well, tiny. When I checked my first FBS, I counted 12 repeats. 6 of 12 repeats put me at 30% complete. Ouch!

I've been chugging away, and while the rows feel quite long now (almost 300 stitches on the needles), I can feel the end is near. One more repeat and then an edging. Woohoo!

FBS Redux - in progress

Still loving the Sea Silk, but I'm worried the color will not suit my mom. I knit on anyway.

More Fleece Artist!

I needed mindless sock knitting, and I loved wearing my Summer Anklets, so I started another pair, this time in the Origin colorway:

Fleece Artist Sock yarn in Origin
Fleece Artist Merino Sock yarn in Origin

The color in the skein did not translate as expected when wound:

Fall Anklets - in progress

The contrasts between colors seems much sharper. And then the colors in the sock were unexpected as well. I definitely didn't expect striping, since Summer Anklet didn't much stripe:

Fall Anklets - in progress

However, the more I knit, the more I like it.

Sigh, I'm such a newb sock knitter, aren't I?

Spinning

The effort to empty bobbins has begun in earnest. The Spunky Eclectic merino/silk (Thunderstorm colorway) seemed the easiest to knock off. In a few days I spun the second 2 oz:

Spunky Eclectic merino/silk in Thunderstorm

and then plied:

Spunky Eclectic merino/silk in Thunderstorm - 2 ply

It needs a washing and whacking, but I am pleased with the results. 3.7 oz, 520 yards, enough for a small shawl. One bobbin freed!

This skein converted me to the treadle counting method of plying. I had always plied "by sight", meaning I'd watch the twist as I treadled and let it wind onto the bobbin when it "looked right". For bulkier and less barberpole-y yarn, this was not so bad. But for hard to see, endless yards laceweight, not so fun. Plus, I think the counting treadles method gives an overall more consistent yarn. I'm sold. (I still kept an eye on how it looked and adjusted my treadle count several times over the bobbin, though.)

Next up, the spun itsy bitsy Foxhill Farm cormo/alpaca:

Foxhill Farm cormo/alpaca

I will really like this yarn (or so I keep telling myself) but the spinning of it is making. me. nuts. Besides pulling out little neppies, the itsy bitsy-ness makes this 4 oz feel neverending. This second bobbin is taking me hours and hours and I still have this much left:

Foxhill Farm cormo/alpaca

Which, granted, is not a lot, considering what I started with, but still, it probably represents another couple of hours of my life.

Scott said, Take a break, spin something else. But I'm persevering. If I don't finish it now, it may sit for many months more.

Anne was more than a little right (in the comments) when she said my mom took my sanity with her. The Friday after she left, I took Baby Girl to the Fabric Place Knit Club to meet my knit buds. One of the first questions asked: How old is she?

They got nothing but blank stares back. I honestly could not even begin to answer that question. How old is she? She's... What's today? What day is it? Hunh?

Fortunately, I was quickly asked when she was born, an answer I could rattle off without thought, and they made their own calculations. Clearly, my mind is gone, and one cannot have sanity without it...

It was really great to hang out with knitters and mothers. Being able to talk about nursing and motherhood was such a relief, I had no idea how much I was craving it. By the time I left I was exhausted (just going out of the house with baby wipes me out; trying to carry on a conversation while holding her and making sure she's okay? Poop-ed.). In an empty parking lot, trying to get her into the carseat and the carseat into the base, I wanted to cry. Knit Clubber Pauline drove by on her way out to see if I needed help. "Oh, I'm fine!" Automatic response. Followed by a joking (but sounding desperate in my ears), "It gets easier, right?" Pauline said something along the lines of, "Oh yeah, much easier now, she's 6 and we just use the booster seat now," while nodding toward the backseat. Me, joking (and sounding ever more desperate), "Just six more years, eh?"

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On the spinning front

It would appear that I'm trying to make up for lost time with the spinning. After 2+ months of wanting to spin but not being able to, I've been slowly catching up. There's the Spunky Eclectic superwash merino plied up:

Spunky Eclectic Superwash Merino in Toronto - 2 ply

(yep, colorway Toronto)

Spunky Eclectic Superwash Merino in Toronto - 2 ply

Turns out that plying is easier to remember how to do than spinning. I think it's a simpler process. Either that, or the process of spinning brought back physical memories of plying and made it easier.

After plying, I decided to spin up some wool/nylon roving (bought from A Touch of Twist at Rhinebeck). For (what else) socks. I spun a small sample back in February at Spa, but wasn't in the mood for it back then. It's a roughly prepared roving with gradual color shifts that lends itself well to quick, textured spinning. Not worrying about "perfect singles" seemed the way to go.

The first oz or 2 went fairly quickly, but then I tired of it. I worried that the small irregularities would feel uncomfortable on the foot and spent too much time trying to minimize them. So much for not worrying.

Spinning for socks requires roughly 4 oz. About 3 1/4 oz in, I realized it would have been clever to start a second bobbin after the first 2 oz. I am now committed to spinning up the full 8 oz:

A Touch of Twist wool/nylon

I wanted to try my hand at worsted weight merino next, but full bobbins prevented me:

Bobbins

From left to right:

Foxhill Farm dyed cormo/alpaca, spun fine - a bit of felting and a touch neppy made for Not so much fun... should I Abandon?

A Touch of Twist rambouillet - some sections of roving feel soft and lovely, but some feel coarse and No Fun to spin; I have 3 pounds of it, what to do?

Foxhill Farm cormo/alpaca, spun fine - ~2/3 done, but requires me to pick out small neppies and generally Pay Attention

Spunky Eclectic merino/silk in Thunderstorm (pretty!), spun fairly fine - needs Some Attention and Time

Time to clear out the bobbins, eh?

With Retro Rib Socks out of the way, I had to cast on for another pair of socks.

I know. I said I wasn't a sock person. I wasn't. But then, the belly thing happened, with attendant unpredictable sweater knitting. And before I knew it, I was in possession of beaucoup de sock yarn. Since then, even more sock yarn has found its way here. From Yarn4Socks.com:

Lorna's Laces Sheperd Sport
various Lorna's Laces

Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Ebony
Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Ebony

Fleece Artist Sea Wool in Ebony
in its full glory

That's some of it. I don't want you to hyperventilate or think me too insane. I'll spread out the photos...

The new socks-in-progress are Waving Lace Socks (also from IK's Favorite Socks):

Waving Lace Socks - started

and the yarn

Handdyed by Sheila of Wool2dye4

was dyed by Sheila of Wool2Dye4. Sheila was my Dye-O-Rama angel, since my pal went AWOL. I wasn't much of a sock knitter back then, so I was considering knitting a shawl, and waited for inspiration. I've been wanting to do something with this yarn all this time!

I wore my Flower Basket Shawl to my birthday sushi dinner, and it was all I could do to convince my mom she could not leave with it. Scott threatened to do a luggage check. She set out to tell me:

  • all the reasons why it was perfect for her (size, color, drape; you know, all the reasons I love it)
  • how much she really really really in-no-uncertain-terms liked it

If I weren't so attached to it, I would have waved bye-bye to it. Alas for my mom, I am. But, the only way I could:

  • convince her not to abduct it
  • feel okay about keeping my shawl

was to show her this skein of Sea Silk:

Handmaiden Sea Silk in Lily Pond

and promise to send her a like shawl in a few weeks. Because, you know, I have all this knitting time now. (Ha!)

I cast on this weekend:

FBS Redux - started

and as before, am enjoying the lusciousness that is Sea Silk. Good thing, because I happened to order some more in an, ahem, recent sale. Ahem.

(It seems that buying yarn is a replacement for knitting when you're time-poor. Don't tell me you don't know what I mean.)

This weekend I also made time for spinning! It's been a couple of months and I was definitely rusty. But, like riding a bicycle, it slowly came back to me. I'm not quite in my old groove yet, but I'm sure I'll get back there eventually. I've got almost 4 oz of Amy's superwash merino spun:

Spunky Eclectic Superwash Merino in Toronto
(see the fiber)

Soon we'll see what I remember of plying.

Level 1 Human

Onesie from here.

Thanks for the birthday wishes!

I had my post-partum check-up yesterday -- everything checks out. What a relief.

We got there a little early. I sat across from a narrow window with a little sunshine. Is it weird that I pulled out a couple of projects to photograph? Is it weird that I brought them with me in case I would find sunlight and a few free minutes?

On the way home Scott pulled over to rescue a baby turtle crossing the road:

We brake for turtles

The Knits

Berry Socks (sock 1) using Artyarns Supermerino, on which I knit a few rows at the hospital post-delivery:

Berry Socks - in progress

I decided on a sewn bind-off for elasticity, but that requires finding instructions, so it's languishing. I should have added an extra couple of stitches to the width; that may also be affecting knit-desirability...

Retro Rib Socks (sock 1) in Koigu:

Retro Rib Socks - in progress

I really like how the yarn color and pattern texture come together on this one. I was stalled for a while because Scott had allergic reactions when I was working with the Koigu (oh the horror). But I snuck in a few rows here and there, especially the last week, and they're done!

This photo is from a while back, but it belongs. Jaywalkers in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Amethyst Stripe: 

Amethyst Stripe Jaywalkers - in progress

Cool striping.

I tried to knit Jaywalkers in the past with Socks That Rock, but it just didn't work for me. I gave up on the combo but not on the pattern. I'm glad I came back to it.

These were finished pre-labor. I initially thought the fit was a bit tight, but trying them on today for photos, they fit just fine.

Finally, 2/3 an alien head (Alien Scarf from Stitch n Bitch) for Scott:

Alien Scarf - in progress

Makes me think of X-Files. Spooky Mulder. Doo doo doo doo doo doo.

When I found out a few weeks ago that my parents would be visiting Lily during my birthday, I immediately decided we were going to Minado for All You Can Eat Sushi to celebrate. It's been MONTHS since I've had sushi. Maybe even a YEAR. What better way to celebrate a birthday than with family and sushi???

Baby girl and I dressed up for the occasion. For months I've been stuck wearing yoga pants and stretchy/roomy t-shirts, and even post-delivery most of my pre-pregnancy clothes don't fit. My hips have grown an irrecoverable 1-2". BUT. While showering (space of creativity) I remembered a skirt that sat on the hips, which now comfortably sits at the waist:

IMG_3843

and a summery button-down shirt that seemed nursing-friendly and color-coordinated. I can't tell you how happy it made me to wear regular clothes. (AND to be showered AND have blowdried hair! Woohoo!)

Baby girl wore Tangerine Cardi and man did it look cute on her:

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I love this pic:

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I had forgotten all about the cardi, thinking it would be weeks before she'd be able to wear it. Newborns grow fast.

The ladybug buttons are too cute. Seeing her in the cardi makes me want to knit another, this time out of lighter weight yarn. (Still no knitting-while-nursing, but I've read more in the last couple of weeks than in the last year!)

What's that on her feet, you ask?

IMG_3838

Pink Converse Chuck Taylors. Of course. From The Gap. Scott saw them and had to have them. They make her feet look huge:

IMG_3830

But there's plenty of room in them to grow into.

Isn't my mom cute?

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Happy and sushi-sated:

IMG_3840
(my brother was able to fly up at the last minute)

Adding to my smile:

My sister and her 2 kids flew up the weekend before. AND she made her fabulous ice cream roll cake. My nephew's birthday is 2 days after mine (turning 2!) and he was so excited when that cake came out! He didn't know it had anything to do with him; I think he found the lit candles exciting. Once he heard his name in the Happy Birthday song, his face lit up even more, and he was thrilled to blow out the candles with me:

IMG_3764

Yayyyy!

IMG_3765

2 weekends, 2 celebrations, the entire family, plus the new family:

IMG_3845

Ahhh. What a wonderful birthday.