Auntie Ann Knits

Monday, July 31, 2006

Leapin' Leopard!

While DD was cleaning out her room and her basket-ful of stuffed animals (I swear those things must multiply in there), we came across this:

Leopard 1

What is this funky thing?! When she was very small, before she began to appreciate the limits to her mom's talents, she asked that I make her a stuffed animal for Xmas. Well, how could I let her down? I found a simple pattern in a kids' sewing book at the library, went to JoAnn's for fabric and paint, to Safeway for kidney beans, and voila.

Pretty simple, although my lack of drawing ability shows in the face. But what's this?!

Leopard 2

Either Leopard Guy has attained new biological functions, or a kidney been is making good its escape.

DD, being home from school for the summer, and between camps, made this banana bread the other day:

Banana bread

MMmmmm. It's very nice having an almost-12-yo.

As to the sock, I was distracted by Skein Lane's going-out-of-business sale over the weekend, and although Sock the First is nearly finished, I have to cast it off and try it on for another pic, since otherwise it'll have to go to the frog pond.

I also frogged my Mom's first piece of knitting -- too bad I couldn't get a pic of that, it's the most - ahem - interesting piece of knitting I've ever seen. The end row is about 3 times, maybe 4 times, the width of the first row, and it is chock-a-block with unintentional short rows and holes, even a couple stitches at the end of one row just hanging out there on their own, gasping for purchase. She's starting over, and I instructed her to slip the first stitch, hoping to get her to pay more attention to that first stitch and hopefully not unintentionally increase every time she turns.

We'll see what develops on Saturday.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sock heel question

I calculated the number of stitches for 10% negative ease (based on recommendations from Wendy, from Lucia, and from Autumn Breeze (podcast 20), ripped back the sock and recommenced the foot part -- and somehow while I was doing this it didn't occur to me that I was doing this for the sake of 4 lousy stitches. Ahem.

But it's a good thing, perhaps, that I had not realized that, becuase I am actually still glad I did it. Somehow that wee bit more than 1/2" of negative ease added (despite appearances, the former sock foot had a tiny bit of negative ease, a bit more than 1/4", or about 3%), makes the difference between a sloppy sock I was not going to be happy with, and one that I think I will be happy with. What's a bit of re-knitting when this is something we do for fun, right? And this is a learning experience, my "trial" sock, after all. Here is Sock the First, version 2:

Sock the first(2)

Better, yes?

Now, a question for my loyal readers (both of you). The free sock pattern for this yarn provided by KnitPicks, which I have been using, has what sounds to me like a very weird after-thought heel. It's knit like a heel-sized hat. And a hat always has that little circle of stitches at the top, fine for a hat, but for a heel? I don't think so. Also, I just don't like the idea of an after-thought heel, because when I get to the cuff I will want to be done, darn it (no pun intended!). But it seems to me that the after-thought heel is used so as not to interrupt the lovely stripe pattern, and this seems to me to be a worthy goal.

So here's the question -- do you think that when I come to the heel, I can join another ball of the same yarn, knit the heel, and then when the heel is done, re-commence knitting with the original ball? Wouldn't that do the trick?

And do you have a favorite heel that I could work toe-up? If so, please do share it with me.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sock Ease

I didn't knit much at family camp. I've been trying to knit my first "real" sock (not a tube sock), and I think it's too large -- too late, I remembered that a sock foot should have "negative ease" -- that is, off your foot it should measure slightly smaller than the foot itself. It's toe-up, so I think I have to rip back to the toe increases and do fewer of them.

I mean, just look at this thing:
Sock the first

I like the stripes, but it's clearly too wide. Also, the pattern called for casting-on 6 stitches, which was looking like a sock for a witch, or maybe it's just that my toes are short and stubby, so I ripped it and cast on 9 instead (just 3 stitches, but it's an increase of 50%!) and the toe looks much better. If only I hadn't gotten carried away with the increases.

Also, on a whim (which is how almost everything related to this blog happens) I added two new buttons in the sidebar allowing my many readers (both of you) to subscribe via something called FeedBlitz or something called Bloglines. I had some trouble with my subscriptions to my fave blogs via Bloglines at first, but I e-mailed them and they fixed the problem. This is going to save me much time in keeping up with my daily requirement, which includes more knitting blogs than I care to admit to in public.

We're back from family summer camp, and had a great time, but all of the pix worth seeing are on DH's camera, which I can't access (find) just now. DD is getting so independent, she and her friends just waved to us at mealtimes (if that) and were out of the dining hall before we had really begun. Alas, she did get one of her migraines one evening (her major trigger is lack of sleep, and kids at family camp run a sleep deficit all week, so much excitement), but it didn't turn into the rip-roaring kind, although it clearly had that potential. My friend (also Annie) the neurologist who was there with us always likens it to falling off a cliff -- you have to get enough meds in fast enough to keep them from falling off a cliff, once they're over the edge there's really nothing you can do. DD's presriptions for migraine meds have been upped recently, and I think that helped. That's not really what I had intended to blog about, but there it is.

We did some great hikes, re-connected with our camp friends (we consider them dear friends, although we see most of them only once a year, for a week), and enjoyed having no responsibilities. It was a warm week for camp, due to the heat wave here in Calif., but very pleasant up there at about 5,000 feet.

Sigh -- back to reality. But at least I've streamlined keeping up with my knitting blogs.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Log Cabin-itis

I'm loving making log cabin squares:

Log Cabin group

The stockinette centers were originally made by my DD (age 11), and we were thinking they would eventually become an afghan, perhaps. Now we have decided to make them into log cabin squares for a baby blanket for our next door neighbor's baby, due in December. I know these are not very traditional baby-ish colors, but where is the knitting law that babies have to have pastels, anyway? Bah!

Here is the first one, which WILL not lie flat and will probably have to be re-done (I confess I deserve a citation for failure to pick up enough stitches):

Log cabin yellow

These two are NOT twins, despite what the pic is telling you (one is more purple-y than the other), but the colors are so close we will have to locate them apart from each other, like children in class who can't stop talking and giggling:

Log cabin twins

And this one -- the show-off of the bunch, but doesn't it clash a bit?

Log Cabin pink

Well, the whole thing is a bright hodge-podge of colors, all selected by DD -- I think it'll work out fine.

I am knitting in as I go as many ends as I can, per Nona's instructions, which works great and generally doesn't show through at all, except with solid white areas and a darker color knitted in. Otherwise, with this many ends, I'd by stymied by the weaving-in and never finish it at all.

We're going away for a week to family summer camp (this is one of my favorite things! Alas, not quite so much for DH), so no more posting until the 24th.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Apple hat for WIC

I read with great interest this post from the Yarn Harlot (not the part about the cute green baby sweater, the part about promoting breast-feeding with low-income families), and asked my SnB group, Eweforia, to pitch in -- so eggplant hats and other fruit and veg hats (as well as other baby hats), they're a-comin'. Meantime, here's my own apple hat:
Apple hat

It's ironic, the first WIC person she wrote about is right here in the SF Bay Area, where I and my group are, but we heard about this via Canada. Yarn Harlot rocks!

Friday, July 07, 2006

How to torture small children

This just in from today's Lion Brand Yarn newsletter, under "Travel Tips from our Readers": "When I'm traveling, I always take along an extra pair of old needles and some leftover yarn. I never fail to meet a child someplace who does not want to learn to knit, and its nice to be able to leave them with the needles and yarn." (Italics added by moi.)

A stray "not" and mis-use of "its", all in one sentence. Isn't that special.