Sunday, January 23, 2011

Super Dog, Super Kid

Nine years ago today, Isabel and I flew home together from Guatemala and our adventure officially began. (The photo's what went out with my announcements, taken about a week after we were back in Maryland. And because this is a knitting blog and someone is bound to ask, yes, I did make the sweater she's wearing.)

I still feel the way I did on that day, like I won "baby lotto." Can't believe the universe brought this funny, sweet, firecracker of a kid to me. And while life as a single mother can be harder than I ever imagined, I wouldn't trade a single moment. (Yes, even emergency room earache visits and tween tantrums.)

Recently, we were laughing about the small-but-mighty Violet, who has taken to ferociously barking whenever a large truck or semi drives along the road behind our house. One look at her in action, and it's clear Violet believes she can take down a ton for each of her 11 pounds. From there, Izzy made the leap that Violet needed her own superhero cape, and set about designing and making one with the mini sewing machine she got for Christmas.

Yep, I've been blessed with quite the dynamic duo.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Yarn!

Are there sweeter words in the English language? Tonight, I arrived home to find the purchases I made with my KnitPicks gift card (an utterly fabulous holiday present) a day earlier than expected. Hands down, best moment of the day.

First up, my choices for the Fiddlehead Mittens, which Chloe was kind enough to inspect without prompting. It's the new Chroma (worsted) in the Galapagos and Bittersweet Heather colorways for the outside, Gloss DK in Woodland Sage for the inner mitts.

And then an assortment of other goodies. The far-left skeins of Gloss Fingering in Robot and Cosmos are intended for the Woodsmoke Scarf by Jared Flood (Brave New Knits). The other three fingering skeins, though, have yet to be spoken for (Imagination Hand Painted in Mermaid Lagoon, Stroll in Blue Violet Tonal). Hmmm, socks? Shawls? Both? Let the Ravelry browsing begin.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Along with finally starting this blog, last year I also set knitting goals for the first time. Rather than (as I feared) feeling like nagging tasks and dragging down my desire to knit, the two activities set me on a year of knitting like never before. More projects. More techniques attempted. More knitting friends.

So here we go again. This year my goals are about colorwork: a small starter project in Fair Isle (Intarsia is all I've ever attempted) and then something that requires steeking (what's more fearless than cutting your knitting?). I've picked out the first project — the Fiddlehead Mittens, a pattern that I continue to love with each new version that hits Ravelry and one that Julie of Knitted Bliss has inspired me to tackle. As for the steeking, maybe one of the blankets in the second Mason-Dixon Knitting book? Definitely open for suggestions, so please post if you have them.

Also, I've got long-delayed FO shots for my old group of Twin Cities Public Television noon crafters. The 2009 log cabin afghan for my sister and brother-in-law that they saw lots of in its early stages but never got photographed when finished. When I saw it out during my visit this year, I staged a mini photoshoot so I could complete my Ravelry queue. (Yeah, I'm a bit of a completion nut; it's pretty sick how much I love checking off those lists! ;-) And you'll notice I remembered to photograph the FOs this Christmas. Happy New Year and new knitting!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Final 2010 FOs

In the blur that was the holiday season 2010, there was lots of knitting but no blogging or photographing of FOs — especially since presents were part of the mix. The upside of that, however, was that I got a fresh mix of scenery and faces for this blog.

Pattern: Saroyan
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash (Lichen)

I've long-admired this pattern on Ravelry and picked it because I could easily lengthen the center section. (Mom isn't a fan of wool, or anything really warm, right around her neck.) Plus, she's also a big fan of Bones, so I knew she'd appreciate the nod to the show made by the pattern's designer. Since she wore it throughout present opening, I'm pretty sure it was a hit. She was a good sport about modeling it for me later in good light (and, as promised, she'll be happy to see that I did not include her no-makeup face in the posted photo).

Pattern: Saroyan
Yarn: Araucania Nature Wool Solids (Orange)

This pattern is seriously addictive. I was only about half-way done with Mom's where I decided I needed to make a second. This one for my friend Liz, who's also a knitter. (Meaning, I could rest assured that she'd appreciate a handmade birthday present.) I really loved this yarn, which I haven't knit with before, but picked because it was the closest match I could find to the yarn I bought in Taos for my Transverse Cardigan that she openly coveted. Mission accomplished because she asked within minutes of opening the scarf, "Is this that yarn from Taos?"

Pattern: Destroyed Cowl
Yarn: Brown Sheep Handpaint Originals (Rose Slate)

This last FO was actually the first finished, started and completed during that long Thanksgiving weekend as I kept Izzy company on the couch and watched too-many-to-count episodes of Monk (selected because the kid is really into mysteries at the moment and this is one of the few series where the violence is kept to a minimum; plus, if you saw Izzy's room you'd understand my desire to try to send a little OCD vibe her way). While this one was knit for me, I was happy to share its wooly warmth for her test run in MN of her new ice skates.

A Tale of Two Christmases

Last year, Izzy and I hosted Christmas in Albuquerque for my parents, sister, and brother-in-law. We were in high holiday mode, with every ornament we had making its way onto the tree and lots of new paper chains and snowflakes filling the house. Batch upon batch of cookies were made. And the baking and decorating continued after their arrival, with me making from scratch (for the first time) the gingerbread pieces for five houses (Grandpa preferred to supervise construction and sample the candy adornments).

This year was far more Dickensian in spirit. The holiday season began with Izzy awaking Thanksgiving morn with a raging stomach flu that pushed our turkey dinner to the following weekend. Then a new initiative at work continued to consume a good 60+ hours/week straight through to our plane's departure for Minnesota on December 23. One secret holiday knitting project was finished and blocked just days before we left, but the other went with me on the plane and kept me busy through December 27 — the day before I saw the recipient — and got blocked on a spare bed at my parents'. (Nothing like cutting it close!) The tree never made it out of storage. We threw a wreath on the front door, pulled out the Christmas doormat, and called it a day. In an attempt to provide some festivity for Izzy, we purchased Trader Joe's Really Big Gingerbread Man Kit. Poor guy didn't even make his way onto the good dishes.