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Friday, September 3, 2010

Monkey's & Good Waiting

monkey side, pre-steek
This blanket is turning out to be a real pleasure to knit.  First you knit the monkey side, then you knit the back piece, then each piece are steeked and the border is picked up and the pieces are knit together.  It's an example of fabulous pattern writing, where everything that the pattern asks you to do is strategic.  Do exactly what it tells you to do and it works out fabulously.  It's also an example of "Good Waiting", which is a concept that I've been working on with Alex.  He's not the most patient child I've ever known, and before you say to me that most 4-year old's aren't, just know that the average 4-year old is infinitely patient compared to Alex, lol.  So the last few days, when he's done a good job of waiting a few minutes for something, I've made a big deal about what a great job he did is showing me 'Good Waiting'.  Now that he knows what it means (after doing it by accident a few times), I've been asking him to do it when he wants something.  Like yesterday when he wanted a juice pouch and we were still just coming in the door from the market.  I had him go sit on the couch and show me good waiting, and I praised him when I could see he was starting to get a little antsy.  He made it a whole 5 minutes without freaking out or making a nuisance of himself, while Dante went back out to the car to get the rest of the grocery bags (which is where the juice was, it turned out).  This is even more impressive when you stop to consider that the night before, Aaron was working the tournament and I had to drop Dante at Young Men's at about the time that Alex should have been getting in bed.  Then I had to hit Sam's to make sure we were prepared for Earl, and by the time I got home, Alex didn't get into bed until about 9pm.  Anyone who's been following this blog for any length of time will remember that missing bed-time at our house is punishable by one solid week of whining, tantrums, and defiance.  So far, so good.
inside of monkey piece, pre-steek
So I may have mentioned that my MIL took her sewing machine to these pieces for me so that I could steek them.  I cut them open the other day and remembered to take some photos pre & post steeking.  One of the things I love about steeking is that something that once was shapeless and weird suddenly looks like what it's meant to be after the cutting.  And it's not as scary as you might think to cut into your knitting, especially if you've run it through a sewing machine before hand.  I also love that when you pick up along the edge, the steek folds over nicely on hit own and lays flat.  Lesson learned: after you cut the steek and pick up the stitches, go back and cut the excess steek and sew it down.  In this case I don't have to do that because I used the sewing machine to reinforce it, but ordinarily you'd want to do that.  Alice Starmore's book on Fairisle knitting has a great illustration on how to do this without it showing up on the front side.
back piece, pre-steeking
I've been interrupted (what else is new...) in the process of finishing this, but I did have time to pick up the stitches for the border of the monkey piece and knit the 8 rounds prior to joining it to the circle piece.  Now I'm mid pick-up, and I'll have to knit a round or two before I use a technique similar to a 3-needle bind-off to join the two together and finish it off.  So, what's the hold-up, you ask?  Well, school for starters.  I have a project due next week for Arts & Humanities class.  Second, the first real sock for the Super Sock Scarefest hit on September 1st and I've started that too.  I'd like to try to keep up with them this year.
inside of the back, pre-steeking

The first pattern of the Scarefest is Willow, and it comes from Guernseygal, the ever-talented.  As the name suggests, the pattern is inspired by the best friend a slayer ever had...Willow Rosenberg.  I happened to pick up a barely-used  red-orange ball of Zauberball fingering-weight sock yarn for half price, and then this pattern came out and I thought 'this is perfect! it matches Willow's hair'.  So after casting off my long-suffering pair of Beetlejuice socks, I cast on last night.  These are knit toe-up so they won't go as fast as the top-down seem to do for me, but I'll get a custom fit.  I've already modified the pattern a little bit, by casting on 16sts instead of the 8 the pattern called for, because the wider toe is more comfortable on my foot.

monkeys, post-steeking
So, now that I have a case of bottled water in my trunk, a box of individual serve highly-pasteurized non-refrigerated milk, canned veggies and soup, bread, pb&j, snacks, tuna, beans, hummus, my freezer at it's lowest level possible, and I know the exact location of my candles...it's time for me to show Good Waiting and to stay inside and keep the boys busy until the winds and rain from Earl show up.  If nothing else, I've got the rest of this blanket, a pair of socks, the Lace Edge Swirl Shawl, and a major assignment to keep me busy till then :)

circles, post-steeking


  1. I LOVE this blanket! The colors are great and the little money faces are too cute. I may need to request one from you when we have a baby since Jason is really into monkeys.

    You kept talking about steeking and I looked up the definition. The idea of cutting into my knitting would scare me to death. You're such a pro!

  2. This is such a cute blanket. I so want one for myself. Is that terrible? :-)

  3. lol, not at all. Why do you think I started knitting this in the first place? I just decided that it'd be better to find a baby to give it to :)