Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Too big!

As usual, I spent part of my visit at my parents' last weekend using my mom's machine to felt--this time my first pair of ballet slippers. I knit the women's medium, thinking I could shrink them to fit, but after 3-plus cycles, I gave up and decided they need to go to someone with feet bigger than a size 7.

I made them with Lamb's Pride wool, a gift from Aunt Pat. They still need to be finished with elastic and button. And it dawns on me that the button should be on the outside, so I have them on the wrong feet!

This could make a nice gift, if you know your recipient's shoe size. They're not too expensive and I knit them in a couple of weekends. Now I just need to make the women's small for myself. Maybe in Galway wool. I have some purple around here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Sam I Am's Blanket

The first non-scarf thing I ever knit (besides a dishcloth) was a baby blanket for my friend Kassie, who was pregnant with her little girl Maeve. It was, after all, just a really big rectangle. My mom gave me the pattern from a 1960s-era pattern book, and she remembers that she had made me the coordinating sweater when I was an infant. I knit it out of cheap acrylic yarn in a sage green, because I thought Kassie would enjoy a non-baby-pastel color. It took forever, and actually wasn't done in time for the shower. Mom counseled me to wrap it up on the needles for her to see, which she had done many times herself. I did finish it in time for Maeve's entry into the world, though.

Well, now I will hopefully have my own baby on the way (via Vietnam), although the timing of that seems to fluctuate as much as the Chicago weather. (It's cold and rainy today, not at all August-like. Tomorrow it could be 90 and humid.). If you have any interest in following our adoption journey, I have started an adoption blog, with a link at right or here.

Meanwhile, in between researching adoption agencies and starting paperwork, I started another blanket, this one for Sam, in a similar cheap, acrylic sage green yarn (only because I have some to use up and baby's barf on blankets, I hear). I may send this to Vietnam after we get our referral (if we ever get our referral!). Sometimes the orphanage will put something in your child's crib that smells like you. I like that thought. That's it above, about 5 inches into it. Only 30-plus inches to go.

The only question is--given all delays we've already encountered just in choosing an agency and getting started (and this is all after trying China first)--which will I finish first: our adoption paperwork or the blanket? I'm hoping it's the adoption paperwork. Please keep us--and our son's birthfamily--in your prayers these days. Thanks.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Slipper or canoe?

You can check out my cool coffee table, opon which is my newest project, the felt ballerina slippers by Fiber Trends. I borrrowed my mom's pattern when I saw her at Stitches, and I'm using a skein and a half of Lambs Pride wool/mohair in "Winter Blue" that my Aunt Pat donated to me in a recent gift bag of leftover yarn. I'm doing the women's medium, with the hope that they fit me. If they turn out, this could be a nice Christmas gift, as I made good progress--the sole and picking up the stitches around plus a few rows--all while watching Munich on Saturday night. Very violent movie, but excellent insights into the whole Middle East conflict, which is unfortunately all too applicable today.

Friday, August 11, 2006

In Stitches

That's me with (from left) my mom and fellow Wisconsin knitters Marge, Carrie and Jean at the Stitches Midwest knitting and yarn convention Friday at the Rosemont convention center here in Chicago. The woman from the "Yarn Lady" booth was nice enough to take our photo in front of her many yarns for sale.

As I was on a self-imposed yarn diet, I was restrained. I only bought two thing: a cool leather handle for a felted bag, and two skeins of hand-dyed pink sock yarn, one of which I had exchanged for a green/blue I had bought last year. Since my mom already made Sophie a sweater out of the green, I decide to do a pink one in a larger size. That yarn is from Tess' Designer Yarns in Maine. I still have the skein of ribbon yarn I bought from her last year too.

My mom also bought me some cool wool for a felted purse in this cool green/blue/purple combo. The pattern for the purse is the Denise Bag by Cat Bordhi. It's a clutch with a zippered pocket.

Other cool finds:
* The book Simple Knits for Cherished Babies by Erika Knight. Nice top-down sweaters and gorgeous photography.
* Adorable kits (for kids and a lovely adult bolero) from AffectionKnit. All you China adopting parents will love the Ladybug Sweater for kids.
* The coolest $14 heart-shaped silver metal purse clasp from The Gifted Purl, a store in West Dundee, Illinios. But they were out of them. Drat.

My mom also got a cute pattern for bunny slippers for kids and a really cool kit for a beaded necklace and bracelet. I want to try that next. All in all, it was a really enjoyable afternoon, with lots of creative ideas and cool yarns. After a long day of shopping, we all enjoyed a nice dinner at a nearby hotel. Thanks, mom!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Pack rat--and poor prognosticator

So I spent most of my weekend working on a freelance copyediting project. Wish I'd done more knitting. (Though I am working on a blanket for Sam. Will post more about that when there's more to show.)

I also spent a fair amount of time this weekend trying to clean out the study/soon-to-be nursery. Last time I was at my parents', I brought home some of my "memorabilia" to sort through. It seems I've pretty much saved every letter and card ever sent to me! I think my godparents, Betty and Mike, for best corresondents over the years!

Well, as I as sorting through EVERY HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION CARD--I kid you not!--I found a $10 tucked into one that I had apparently missed in 1982. Can you believe it? With inflation, it should have been a $20 by now!

I also found this letter from my mom from 1985, in which she mentions that my sister has taken up knitting: "Amy learned how to purl after you left and knit a great big piece. She really does a nice job of knitting. I think she may have found her 'thing.'"

Well, I think after one baby sweater gift for a friend, Amy gave up knitting. C'mon, Amy, want to try again?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Stitches Midwest, here I come!

Even though I am on a self-imposed "yarn diet," I've decided to go to Stitches Midwest next Friday (August 11) at the Rosemont Convention Center (out by O'Hare). My mom and some knitting friends from Milwaukee are coming down and I'll meet them after lunch.

Last year was my first Stitches experience, and boy was I overwhelmed by all the cool yarn booths. And I didn't even venture into any of the classes or special events. I assume my mom and I will do the same this year, except that I'm going to try really hard not to add to my stash.

Look for a report (or confession) next weekend.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Surprise sweater

Surprise! Does my friend Karen looked shocked or what? Her first words after about 40 family and friends yelled "Surprise!" were "What is this for?" Her birthday isn't until December, but this was an adoption shower. Although they haven't yet received a referral for their child/children, Karen and her husband (and good secret keeper!) Jeff (at left) decided last fall to adopt. They started with India, but are now changing countries to Vietnam or Thailand. They are two people with the most integrity of anyone I know and I am positive they are going to be wonderful parents of one or two toddler kids.

The party was really nice, held at their friend Tracy's in Wisconsin. Ed and I enjoyed a nice drive up with friend Delia, during which we debated the pros and cons of living in the big city versus living in a nice small Wisconsin town. Tracy's house was gorgeous. I especially loved her inside doors--very Shaker looking. She was a great hostess with the mostest and has already sent me the recipe for her yummy homemade granola.

On Sunday morning I woke up at 6 a.m., which gave me just enough time to finish the sweater I knit as a gift for them. This is knit from Lions Brand Thick and Chunky Wool-ease in a pretty teal color. I put light colored wooden buttons on it. It has slanted pockets and a hood. I think it took three or four skeins--on sale for $3-4 apiece, I think.

I learned two new knitting skills with this project. Number 1 was reverse garter stitch, which makes up the trim around the bottom, sleeves and down the placket. It looks much nicer than regular garter. Number 2 was the three-needle bind off, which I did for the hood. It was really simple and made a nice invisible seam.

I also learned that the pattern was really poorly written, especially when it came to attaching the pocket. Even my mother, a seasoned knitter, had a hard time figuring it out. Why do people (companies) write patterns so poorly? What are they thinking?

Well, bad pattern or not, I may have to knit another one, if Karen and Jeff get two kids!