Monday, March 30, 2009

Turning 90

Taylor is 5, Great Nana is 90

Couldn't resist the princess cake
She liked to say "Go ride your bike!" as I was curled
up with Nancy Drew books.

Well, my mother turned 90. She lives alone in her apartment, has some help with cleaning and laundry, although she does take some of her laundry down to the second floor and catch up on it at times. Macular degeneration has cut into her ability to do much with food prep, except for warming things in the microwave oven. (She likes to say "I just can't see. I haven't lost my mind, you know!) She knows all about the current political scene, locally and in Washington. But most importantly, she knows all Red Sox trades, pay scales and watches every game where she cheers loudly. I don't think it matters, though, because no one else in the building hears that well and so far there haven't been any complaints about noise.
I guess drinking, swearing and chewing cigars really does ensure a long life. OOPS...that wasn't her recipe...that was someone else. Maybe it's just a case of genetics and taking care of yourselves. Having someone turn 90 brings into your mind a lot of questions: How old do you think you will live? What do you want to accomplish during your life? and... Can I have that corner of the cake with the load of frosting? I guess the recipe is just LIVE and enjoy your life. There aren't many guarantees.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

We have to get to the bus stop even if it's 40 degrees out!

There was only one way to get everyone out to the bus stop the other morning. It was quite chilly; but we had to go.
The baby got wrapped up in a sweater, hat and one of his blankets. I put him in my stroller, then piled sister's thick blanket all around him. Thankfully, it wasn't windy out. He didn't really care about the pink blanket. He'll take anything that's warm and cozy. We saw brother off at the bus stop and came back in. He never realized where he had been. What a peaceful sleeper.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

For Mr. Blue Eyes

Another little sweater is on the way. (By the way, March is National Crafter's month!)
I am really loving this Vanna's Choice yarn by Lion Brand. It's a regular 4 ply yarn and very soft and easy to work with. I'm using the same pattern and size 8 needles. I actually found a blooper in the pattern, or more correctly, a lack of explaining that the first 5 stitches on the cuffs should be worked in the purl one row and knit the next, for a typical cuff. Actually, that's all right. I marked it on my pattern for future use; but the other sweater doesn't suffer from not having the cuffing anyhow. It's just a different version. That's the great thing about fiber art. You can experiment and/or change a pattern or interpret it your own way, and it's still OK. That's what makes it your own "creation".

Sunday, March 8, 2009

For baby

I was looking at sweater patterns online for the 0-3 month or up to 6 month size. I noticed that most of the sweaters looked like small versions of children's sweaters. But the truth is, most new babies in the first months are very "boxy" shaped and it helps if their clothes are intended for that shape. That's why we always roll up those sleeves and pants on these short, chubby people.
I found this sweater jacket pattern which is made up in one piece, then the side seams are sewn up and under the arms. Pretty simple. I don't know why, but I went through my scraps of colors and gave Xander's sweater a "southwest" feeling. Since there was a lot of stopping and starting with changing colors, I think the next one will be made of a solid color, which will go even more quickly. Even so, this project is easily done in a couple of nights while watching TV. I used 4 ply knitting worsted yarn and size 8 needles.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

For T-Dogg

So, I finished up my latest project, a simple sweater vest (in lavender) for T-Dogg. The pattern I used went by chest size and I didn't have her in front of me; so I sort of winged it. Later, I held the back up to her and realized that she is getting tall all of a sudden! I frogged that (ribbit)and started over, added a few inches to the length. Although I chronicled my progress this morning, I forgot to snap a picture of the finished project before I gave it to her. Oh well, maybe I can get a pic of her wearing it. I used #8 knitting needles and used stockinette stitch, following the decreases for the armholes and the neck as per the pattern directions. I had forgotten how it's more work picking up stitches along the neckline to do the K1, P1 finishing than it is making the rest of the sweater. I used a double strand of Pound of Love yarn, which is a 4 ply worsted weight, but feels thinner and softer, as it is suggested for baby items. With the double strands, it worked up with a thick, hand-made look to it, which I liked. However, the next time I try to use this pattern with the dimensions I made note of for myself...I will have to recalculate if I use a different type of yarn. It's surprising how difficult it is to find a pattern for a simple vest. I found other patterns with buttoned front or zippered, with a hood. I'll have to type up this pattern with my adjustments and keep it handy for the future.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Chenille Thick & Quick yarn

I tried the Lion Brand yarn Chenille Thick & Quick in antique white last night, after my daughter stocked me up on some yarn that she found at the right price.
Before I began, I researched on Ravelry what people had made with this plush yarn.
Some people have used it to make animals, scarves, shawls, throws, pillows, etc...and I took the direction of someone who described making a scarf with it.
Following her lead, I used size 11 knitting needles.
I ended up casting 11 stitches on the needle, since this yarn is puffy and thick.
I decided to simply use a K1,P1 pattern across the 11 stitches.
As you can see by the end result, it made up quickly (made it last night) into a snug and cozy scarf. It took one skein of the chenille yarn to produce this scarf, including the allowance for fringe. I like to make my scarves long enough to fold in half, wrap around the neck, then tuck the fringed ends through the half-way fold in the length of the scarf. Not only does the scarf stay in place well, but it adds extra comfort and warmth around the front of the neckline.
Now I still have a few more skeins to use up on other projects, so I'll keep scouting knitting sites to see what else works well with this yarn. It's nice to work on something that knits up quickly so that you can use it right away!