Loose Ends

Loose Ends

the creative impulse gone awry

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


One of the most lovely things about our new house is our proximity to the local bike path.  I have to be honest that not all parts of this bike path are particularly idyllic but we scored big time. If we turn left we end up in what is essentially a marshlands wildlife preserve, and if we turn right we have a nice quiet way to get into town with a lot of peeks at the water.  While the water we live near is technically a river -- it still gets you to the bay and therefore in our little hearts it's the sea...  I can't tell you how much I missed living by the ocean.  It just feels like home to be near it.

Now that the weather is delightful and most of the mosquitoes have gotten cold and died (FINALLY) we've been trying to take more frequent walks on the bike path.  Whenever we do I feel so extraordinarily lucky to live here. 

One of the more reliably fun pasttimes for Clara is to take pictures.  When I upgraded my camera I gave her my old Canon PowerShot and she loves playing with it.  I have to say, most of the time she's taking weird tableau shots with her sister, or videos of whatever she's watching on tv.  But I've been encouraging her to bring it on our walks and the results have been wonderful:

I also found lots of pictures of squirrels. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

The enormous orange blanket

Well, I finally got the girls outside on the blanket so you can get an idea of the scale of the thing.  Holy cow -- it's huge:

Seriously, it's the biggest thing I've ever knit.  I once knit a shawl for my Mom-in-law that was 6 feet square, and that was certainly more stitches than this - that was on a #6... but this takes the cake for size.  23 skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Super-chunky, a long gone -- and mostly forgotten yarn that I kept because it's soft and machine washable and all the same dye-lot.  I figured one day, I could make an afghan out of it (even though I'm not particularly fond of knitting afghans)  7 years later I went for it!  The pattern is a modification of Naomi's Inside-Out Baby Blanket.  Instead of doing the garter ridges and changing colors, I knit 10 rounds of stockinette, and 10 rounds of moss stitch (aka, double seed stitch or double moss stitch) I worked it so after I increase (kf&b) I started the moss stitch with a K1, and it looks like the moss stitch is seamless from the increases -- I fudged the beginning so I would be sure to have an odd number of stitches in each section.  Naomi thinks I should write up the pattern... and I suppose that I should.  Just not today!

While we were out there in the perfect fall weather I just had to get some cute shots of the girls snuggling.  They were so into the photoshoot!

At this point I got cocky and decided to go for a new photo for our currency at the shop -- Bella Bucks.  Naomi has been gently bugging me to get an updated photo since the one we have is 2 years old.  For this we need to have both of them looking at the camera at the same time... preferably smiling nicely, since it's going to be printed out roughly 2000 times and given to our customers.  I asked them to look at me and smile big...

Okay, but that smile may be too big Zoë, try again, but a little smaller.

Clara, an old pro at smiling for the camera is totally consistent (for now) and Zoë looks at me like, what do you mean -- smile smaller?  Wait, what's that?
Zoë over here, and smile, but not so big... little smile (imagine me, holding up my fingers and pinching, which is my mommy sign language for less - usually I mean quieter)  Clara remembers something funny grandpère does where he makes chicken noises and she's lost from the photoshoot...

And then it devolves to funny things to do with our faces...

Ah well, better luck next time.  Hopefully then they'll be feeling more presidential.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It's all been a blur

What happens when your babysitter calls in sick one week and then there's a holiday the next?  Apparently, not blogging.  ha ha ha.  It's been crazy over here folks.  Two weeks with less than my usual babysitting and I have nary a minute to spare to tell you all that's been going on.  I've been writing blog posts in my head while watching star trek next generation and drooling in the evenings... which is not so helpful if I'd like to actually share them with you.

So, ahem, hello there.  I'm writing this before the house has woken up because I'm so busy that I've resorted to waking up before the rest of my clan so I can have those illusive peaceful moments I've been hearing about.  Despite feeling like the LOUDEST human in the world, I have to admit, it's pretty nice.  The family, dear readers, has been trucking along pretty well.  Until last week when I thought I had done something truly stupid, which I later found out wasn't as stupid as I thought -- cryptic I know, but honestly, the details are boring, and unnecessary -- the schedule thing was working pretty brilliantly and we had drastically reduced Clara's tantrums. 

Of course, one day of movie watching on the floor while Momma tries to fix (what she thought was) a big oops and we slid back into our old patterns.  It's so easy, really.  So we're back on the wagon again and hoping for the best.  Our nearly 2 weeks of success really does bode well, doesn't it?  As long as I can stick with the program, I think it will work out nicely.  I still haven't torn apart my wardrobe yet... soon.

The good news is when you don't have a lot of childcare, you can still knit massive amounts (apparently) and I've been crazy knitting recently.  I finished the enormous orange blanket, which didn't even get it's ends woven in before it came into heavy use.  I need to photograph it with the kids on top of it to show the scale... it's 7 feet square, and counts as the largest thing I've ever knit.  My stash feels so much lighter with those 23 skeins gone!  I've had them for years and I honestly can't believe they became something.  It's brilliant.

After that it was a parade of hats.  I've made, oh, 4? of them.  5 if you count the one I knit twice, which still didn't work and so I made Naomi take the ball of yarn and do something with it.  I don't want to tell you what yarn it was, because honestly, it's not the yarns fault.  It just *really* doesn't want to be a hat. 

First was the Big Chill Hat and Cowl that I made out of Malabrigo Rasta (oh god that yarn is nice...)  Wow, I just went down the rabbit hole in ravelry trying to find that pattern and it doesn't exist!  I have to make it, but not this morning.  We have it in the shop if you're curious.

Then I knit a couple out of this wacky but awesome book we have called "Need a Hat?"  Basic hats in any gauge.  I haven't photographed them because 2 of them were the ill-fated hat that really doesn't want to be a hat, and another that went into service as a sample in the shop too quickly. 

Then, insert heavy sigh, Wurm.  I apologize for the crappy cell-phone photo, but I knew I would have to give it up so soon!

You can barely see there in that picture the slight twinkle of the strand of silver in the Orielle.  This hat is literally destined to be knit out of alpaca.  It's the best, floppiest, easiest to wear hat in the world and you should all find some sport - to -  light worsted alpaca right now and go print out the pattern and make it and then wear it and realize this is why all the women are wearing this hat.  It's just perfect.  In fact, I'm planning on ripping out the fingerless gloves that I started in Herriot and start another today while Clara's at gymnastics.  It's no big loss, as I've only just started them.  But the idea of this perfect hat in un-dyed, all natural alpaca is just irresistible.

Then, this weekend, I had a bit of start-itis and um, let's just look at the parade, shall we? 

Can you tell from the picture that this is cashmere that's been sitting in my stash for approximately 8 years?  Do I look thinner?  Because, that orange blanket just *did* something to me.  I started looking around at my stash and trying to match it with some projects and this was tops of my list Filatura di Crosa Cashmere 100 - that's 100% baby.  I have had so many ideas about this yarn and then when looking at my wardrobe (it all comes back to that organization, right?) I realized a simple cream cardigan would just be fantastic.  So it is becoming February Lady - a sweater that I have wanted to knit for ages.  It's turning out nicely, but I may rip out to the second buttonhole, which I placed too low.  In fact, yes, I just need to admit it and do it.  sigh.  But it is so soft and classic, I can't wait to wear it.

Then, the aforementioned fingerless gloves that will soon become a hat.  Do they even count?  If you cast on and tear out (in the forest) and no one is there to see it, have you even really knit?  ha ha ha.

 And then, really, I think Naomi was just taking pity on my knitting all. those. hats.  A baby yarn that needs a sample, a Baby Surprise Jacket you say?  Why, yes, I think I can manage that.  Girl knows that I love knitting BSJs, and this time I'm letting Zoë decide what color I knit next.  I'm horrible at striping, so she's been helping.  It's turning out well, the yarn is Baby Speckle from Sirdar and it's a joy to knit with and is making a great, bouncy fabric. 

But it's all about knitting another Wurm and hopefully working on my February Lady sweater.  It's so soft and the weather has definitely turned.  Lastly, in other news, guess who loves it when I get up early to blog?

Oh Bob.  Yes, I'll pet you in a moment.