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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

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Inclement weather

So if anyone has been watching the news at all in the last week, then you're all aware of Hurricane Earl which will be passing by the East Coast.  Reports only expect high winds and rain, but we're being careful to prepare for power outages.  Anyway, (as I'm sure you'd expect) Friday's open-knit class is canceled as weather reports project that we'll get hit with the storm on Friday.  I've posted this message in the Bella Yarns group discussion board on Ravelry and figured I'd double post it here as well, just in case.  I'm sure we'll all be just fine, but take care of yourselves anyway.

Monday, August 30, 2010

...in which I follow a photo heavy post with no photos

I'm all about balance :)

So tonight I had my first seminars of the new term, and I'm feeling pretty good about these classes.  They are higher level courses so the seminars aren't graded which means that if I miss one, I don't have to make them up.  That's great if I fall a little bit behind, although I do try to make it a habit to attend the seminars because it's easier to stay caught up that way and I can ask questions before a major assignment is due.  I'm taking a humanities class, which is turning out to be pretty interesting even though I thought it was going to be some dull art-history type class (no offense to any art-history majors...or teachers).  Just in the first two chapters (which were grueling to get through by the way) I found that I'd read many of the works that they mentioned and had viewed several of the films so I picked up on a few of the references.  That felt pretty good.  I'm more well-read than I thought, lol.  Sometimes it pays to have the occasional nerdy habit :)  And my screening & assessment class is just fascinating!  I love anything psych related, and so far this is right up my alley.  I think this might end up being my fun class this term!  But either way, they're both better than my last two, and any time I've completed a math class, the following classes always seem lighter in terms of the work load.

Aaron's working the golf tournament up near the Comcast center again this year.  He's gone for 12-14 hours at a time when he does this.  This year he's working nights so Linda is taking Alex tomorrow and Wiena is taking him on Wednesday so that Aaron can get some sleep while I'm at work.  He'll have to miss the family reunion this year, which isn't that unusual in and of itself but this year he's gotten over much of his problems with his father and was actually going to go...now he can't and everyone was looking forward to his being there.  I'll take the boys myself.  So anyway, with his schedule, I won't be making any of my knitting groups again this week.  Craft night is out again.  I'm not sure how I'll work out Young Men's but I'm sure it'll fall into place (it usually does).

Another draw back of Aaron's schedule...my cousin-in-law had her baby this morning at about 5am, and I can't go see her in the hospital because I can't bring Alex in there.  My MIL will bring her my warm wishes but I really wanted to go in and visit her at the hospital.  I'll just have to hustle to finish the monkey blanket (which I steeked today!) and bring it to the house.  The blanked it considerably smaller than I thought it would be, which is probably due in part to my stranding (gauge always gets smaller), but I checked my gauge pretty carefully for this project...at least I think I did.  Anyway, they can use it in the car to cover the car seat or something.  And she's only about 6lbs & change so she may actually get to use this for a little bit.  My boys were horses.  They were born the size of an average 3 month old, so nothing small ever lasted more than a few weeks, lol.  So, I'll be trying to fit in the final stages of this blanket, while working on the swirl shawl and doing home work.  The only productive thing I managed to do in the last 24 hours was to steek the blanket-halves, and to organize my pattern folders by putting loose patterns in page protectors and organizing the binders.  Let's see if I can get some decent photos of the final stages of the blanket, and put them up by the next post.