Wednesday, March 28, 2007

For Barbara and Miriam

To answer Catbookmom's question yesterday....yes, occasionally you do get knocked in the chin, LOL. Generally speaking though, the facing out position is not a good one. It can be overly stimulating for little babies, and as they get bigger, they tend to lean forward, which pulls your back/shoulders forward--which is one reason why Bjorns are not recommended. Facing outwards, there is too much space between baby and mom, causing strain on the back. And the narrow support between the legs can cause spinal compression. And the legs hanging straight down can cause hip problems....But having the baby face they get taller, it can be really nice--you can kiss their little heads, and talk to them, etc. One problem with doing back carries is you don't really know what's going on back there. Missing mittens, missing hats, boogers in my hair...

And now, for the knitting machine infomercial :)
I'm not going to re-post the recent pictures, but I suggest scrolling back a bit to see my new machine, and the day where I showed how I fixed the mistake (early March).

A knitting machine is basically a long row ('bed', can be plastic or metal) of latches--they look like rug hooking latches. One latch for each stitch. The Incredible Sweater Machine has 100, the LK150 has 150, and my new Singer has 200.
They come in a few different 'gauges'. Fine is 3mm, and not very common. Standard (my new Singer) is 4.5mm and uses laceweight to DK yarn, Mid-Gauge (the LK150) is 6.5mm (uses sock yarn barely, to heavy worsted), and 'Bulky' which is 8 or 9 mm (The Bond and KnitSmart are 8mm, most others are 9mm). There are some brands which have totally different gauges though. The smaller the gauge, the smaller the latches, the smaller the spacing between latches (that's actually what the numbers are).

You have a tension dial to set the tension. It adjusts how far back the carriage pushes each latch on the bed. The further back it pushes, the larger the loop/stitch it makes. The Bond and KnitSmart use 'keyplates' which are plastic plates that you put in the carriage yourself, instead of turning a knob which moves levers underneath the carriage. The keyplates do the same thing--guide the needles/latches--but you just don't get as many choices as with the levers built into the carriage. The standgauge for example, has say, 43 settings for gauge (I'm not sure exactly), the mid-gauge has about 20, the KnitSmart has 8, and new Bonds have 6.
You make stitches by sliding the carriage along the bed. The levers/keyplates guide the needle butts (little bits that stick up at the back end of the latches) forwards to make the stitch, and backwards to lengthen the loop depending on the gauge setting.

To make cables, increases, decreases, lace, and ribbing, you must 'hand manipulate' (unless you have a lace carriage, or a ribber, or a garter carriage). You use a tool like a large eye needle, to transfer the stitch to where you want it. Keep in mind, that with a knitting machine, you are making stockinette fabric, and you look at the PURL side! That makes cabling, especially, very interesting. To make ribbing, if you don't have a ribber (more on that later), you take the stitch that you want to show as purl on the front side, drop it off the latch, and undo as many rows as you want. Then, using the latch tool, you 'whip it' up as a knit stitch and put it back on the latch. It's not too hard, especially if you've ever rescued a dropped stitch in handknitting. However, it is tedious, and your fabric is not growing as you do this, LOL, so it's a small time thing--not many do a ribbed scarf or sweater! If you drop a stitch off a latch accidently, and need to relatch it back up as a knit stitch on the front side...well...I have a lot of difficulty doing that!

If you want garter stitch, you have to take all the stitches off, and turn your piece around. You can knit a few rows of 'waste yarn', take it off the machine, and turn it. Some people have (or make) garter bars that have prongs to fit into each stitch to pull them off the latches and hold them for turning. Other people use a knitting needle, Weed-Eater wire, or a blocking wire. Again, it's for small things, you don't want to do this every other row.

One important thing--you need weights on the knitting, to keep the fabric hanging down and tension on the sts in the latches, otherwise the fabric rises up and gets caught in the carriage. And weights at the edges, because we all know how stockinette st. rolls in--this causes the carriage to jam too.

There are some other features too, regarding 'patterning'. The Bond, KnitSmart, and LK150 all rely on you moving the stitches into position for any patterning. Then there are punchcard machines, like my new one. You insert a flexible card with holes punched in a pattern, into a slot, connect the ends so it's continous, and somehow, the machine knows what to do! The card is 24 sts wide, but it repeats across the whole bed. It moves forward each row too. You can do tuck stitches, slip stitches, fair isle....look at the red and green sample I made earlier. I just had to change the yarn at the beginning of every two rows, and then zip across!! A step up are electronic machines, and you somehow program the designs into them, and then, like PhotoShop, you can reverse directions, colours, elongate, etc, and you aren't limited to a 24st repeat. At the top end is DAK--Desing-a-Knit, a computer program that somehow talks to your machine. I know NOTHING about it!

Ribbers are basically another needle bed that you attach to the front of your machine so the latches of both are almost touching. The main bed makes knit sts and the ribber makes purl sts, I think. You can use it to knit tubular pieces too, but not in ribbing.
Garter carriages can do funky patterning stuff, but are available for only a few machines.

And that, is a basic introduction to knitting machines. Much more than I knew when I got my KnitSmart from the Salvation Army for $25 almost two years ago. I knew nothing, but the fact that it came with it's own stand impressed me. Not a very sturdy stand, LOL, and since retired.

Now, for the socks. Just like in handknitting, you can make them flat, or if you have a ribber, you can make them in the round (just not with ribbing). I didn't like how the ribbing looked on the LK150 with sock yarn (see my posts earlier this year), but on the heavier sock yarn it was okay. Tedious, but okay. Many people save the ribbing so they have some mindless handknitting in the car/doctor's office, etc. Typically, socks are made the same way--short row heels and toes. You start at the top (although for my first pair, I did start at the toe!). When you get to the heel, half the sts are the heel, and half the sts are put 'in hold' as the instep. You make short rows for the heel, just like handknitting (except you need lots of weights!). THen you work all the sts for the foot, and then the toe is exactly like the heel. You end up grafting the toe sts (half the total sts) to the foot, and seaming up one side, using a flat seam called a Bickford Seam, very similiar to mattress stitch. There is also a method where you are working only half the width. Down the back leg, turn the heel, down the bottom foot, turn the toe, then as you work back up the top side, you knit the edge stitch of the top with the edge stitch of the bottom, so it is 'automatically' seamed as you go. Haven't tried that yet--doesn't work so well with self-patterning yarn...but the stuff I have out is not self-patterning...

There. Anything else I can help you with? LOL. Knitting machines are NOT cheating, they are a parallel universe to handknitting. Sort of like crochet. It all takes yarn! You can MK and never pick up a knitting needle--gasp!! Sometimes it's faster, sometimes not, LOL.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

For Josee

(Did I spell it right?)
I told her I'd put up some babywearing links, so here they are! the first place to look. Vendors from around the world, info on every type of baby carrier out there, how to's, Forums for questions....everything! The BEST source for ring sling rings! I like the aluminum ones. These are medium turquoise rings on a rayon sling, extremely long tail. Might take it apart and make a dress after my surgery :) she has great instructions for making any kind of sling. I used her fleece pouch instructions and was so impressed I could sew! Then I made a ring sling with a pleated shoulder. Me! Making pleats! I've also made several of the FrankenKozy's.

We went to the Ontario Science Center in June for Huey's birthday, and did not take a stroller! I wore her all day, a few different positions, but at nursing time, we needed a chair, LOL. Many people nurse in their slings, especially if they learn earlier than we did. The red RS is my 'workhorse' sling. Dependable, short tail, not fussy. is a sling maker from Belleville is a good site, the instructions on using a RS are good, but hard to find. has good instructions for using a pouch. is a great wrap carrier for newborns, up to about 18lbs. You can also make your own, very easily! Aren't we cute? She loved to kick Huey in the head while caried like this! is a good site about the dangers of Bjorn baby bucket type carriers. makers of great woven wraps also woven wraps (one of these two sites also has info on why babies shouldn't face out). is "Nine In, Nine Out" organization, dedicated to making the transition from womb to world a little easier. Listings for Babywearing groups. The grandfather of attachment parenting is from North Bay, carries babywearing coats/ponchos too.

An absolutely terrible picture of me! Just trying out the first FK to see if it would hold Lucy! is the 'traditional' RS, Guatemalan fabric. But some new products too! is a Canadian, heavily padded RS. You either love it, or hate it. is home of the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder, one of the older RS on the market, heavily padded as well. is a great shopping site (American) all round good site makers of great MTs more great MTs a good educational site, as well, their adjustable flece pouches are very popular.

I could go on and on. Here's how I would go about selecting a carrier. For a newborn, a fleece pouch, or other stretchy pouch is wonderful. Perhaps not for the summer, although some people say they are still okay. Not too easy for bustier ladies to nurse in though (that's why the KKAFP is popular). I don't like the idea of a twill pouch for a newborn (Hotslings style). The one above is a two layer jersey knit pouch. It took a bit of work to get it sized right because of the stretch. I should dig it out again and see if it'll fit still.

I didn't use a RS with a newborn, but many really like it, especially for nursing. I REALLY wish I had given a stretchy wrap a try for a newborn! It is so cuddly, so cozy, so easy to make. Perhaps not the greatest for someone learning to nurse, but no sling really is. Nursing takes practice and patience, and so does learning to babywear, although a pouch is really easy to use. However, a pouch is not something you can make as a surprise for someone else, as it has to fit well. A wrap or RS or MT is more 'forgiving'. I LOVE my FrankenKozies that I've made (I need to make another animal print one--that one is lined with fleece and the print is flannel, so it's too warm for in the house), I wish I had had one earlier. I could not figure out back carries with a wrap very well (not recommended with a Moby, so I made a cotton gauze one, and a linen/rayon (maybe) one). Some people love a MT right from the start, but I think I would prefer a pouch or a wrap.

Any questions? If I can sew these things, ANYONE can!!!

Phew. Now back to American Idol and some knitting (and yes, I did try a knitted pouch!)

Monday, March 26, 2007

Yes, I do Knit.

Here's hoping that Blogger is in a good mood today...Megan sure isn't. Sick again.

I've been trying to post some knitting pictures for a week or so now! Keep getting sidetracked. This is my first shawl! Yeah, I've done some big-time lace knitting, but never a real shawl. It's Flower Basket Shawl, and Headwaters laceweight in drab brown. I bought the yarn in December so I could have something to work on while at Knit Night at the store, but I kept putting off starting it. Then I thought I might overdye the yarn, give it a bit more interest. But then, I suddenly grabbed it and casted on and forgot about that plan, LOL. Although it's not a long pattern repeat, I don't find it quite as intuitive/easy to memorize as others. Perhaps because the flower baskets repeats overlap. I can memorize each row as I come to it, but I can't memorize the whole thing. The yarn is sort of rustic, looks like someone's first laceweight attempt at spinning. The shawl is sort of rustic....not a lot going I think it's a good yarn/pattern fit. I do hope it softens up though! It was supposed to be two strands, but I thought that might be too heavy, especially if thick parts of the yarn ended up together. However, it is taking a lot more pattern repeats to get to shawl size! I think it might be time to stretch it out and see how big it is.

I think it's kinda neat how the reverse side makes little peaks. Reverse dimples :)

I'm not getting much done on the new knitting machine. I'm having a hard time finding a beginner pattern that could use yarn I have. I have a bunch of different cones, and many are unlabelled. Finally I did find a site that uses one of the yarns I have, but the patterns don't interest me. The ones that do (on any site) use the ribber, and that is still in the box. There doesn't seem to be any fashion-forward standard gauge machine knit patterns on the internet for free!
This is from and the large size is 38"....a little too small for now! But I could knit it anyway just to actually make something on that machine.

I was thinking the other day that I should knit something for after my surgery, that I could never have worn before. I have lots of old Vogues, with insanely small small that they would probably still be too small! I went looking this weekend, and suddenly, none really appeal to me anymore. The ones that do, like this cover of Interweave Knits:I could wear now (the big factor in now vs April is the bra issue). However, if I knit it to fit my bust, the back would be huge, the shoulders would fall off, and the waist would be insane. I don't want to screw up the shoulders by changing the back size--the shoulders are knit up from the back and carried over to the front. I was looking at the pictures and wondering if I could knit it with back vertical darks in the upper portion, and maybe one or two repeats fewer in the lower part. I think it would still need adjusting for post-surgery.
How about this little number:

Oh La La! Not till after the liposuction, LOL. It's Butterfly Dress from Romantic Style: Knits and Crochet to Wear or Display. It would satisfy my desire to knit something wearable from this
The Knit Picks Shadow I won from Sandra. I don't remember it being that purple. I did find this little cardi:
in a Vogue that I picked up at the Guild's stash sale. It's in mohair, and I do have this that I don't mind sacrificing, but I think it would look nice in the Shadow too. That's the nursing shawl I was working on, in a Fleece Artist mohair/silk blend. She's weaned now, LOL. I played with the shawl, and I think it would definately be enough yarn for a sweater. However, the amount given in the pattern seems really high, something like 1400yds for a 40" sweater. I know the crochet eding around the neck will eat up some, and I can definately make it shorter, and even leave off the bottom edging on the body and sleeves, but that shawl wasn't finished and I think the yardage was about 880yds (I bought the skein based on the fact that most KnitPicks shawls took two 440yd skeins). I will probably go ahead with this cardigan, but which yarn first?!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Why Does Blogger Hate Me?

Recipe Of The Day

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
1. Put a load of laundry in. Munch a couple chocolate chips while hiding in laundry room.
2. Measure butter, beat till soft. Hover close by and remove any items located within reach that shouldn't become part of muffins.
3. Measure white sugar. Top up measure with brown sugar when the white sugar runs out. Sneak a couple chocolate chips while in the cupboard. Add to the creamed butter. Resist temptation to sample; must set a good example.
4. Add two eggs.
5. Remove shells from sink and wash toddler's hands.
6. Measure white flour into sifter. Top up with whole wheat flour after realizing the bag in the cupboard with white powder is not white flour. A few more chocolate chips to ease the tension. Add baking soda and baking powder, checking 5 times each that you've measured each one right. Reward yourself with a couple more chocolate chips.
7. Search for spatula, give up, get a new one. Later, find sticky spatula under couch.
8. Search fridge for the 5 half bananas. Figure that once the really bad spots are scooped out, it will equal 2 whole bananas.
9. Buttermilk. Who actually has real buttermilk (oh yeah, my MOM!). Find the carton of chocolate milk from son's lunch that sat on the counter for three days while you took the kids away for March Break and the person who stayed home didn't think to put it in the fridge. Not quite sour, so add a bit of lemon juice.
10. Alternate buttermilk and dry ingredients. Take off glasses after someone starts mixer too fast after adding dry ingredients. Find chocolate chips by sense of smell.
11. Call dog in to clean up blobs on the floor.
12. Practice counting to 12 as child puts in the paper liners. Spray the mini-muffin tray with Pam.
13. Curse that no one sells mini muffin liners as you land on your behind. Comfort yourself with chocolate chips.
14. Realize that there's no longer enough chocolate chips to make cookies, so throw the rest in the batter. You know that otherwise, you're just going to eat them two by two.
15. Fill muffin cups. Wonder what to do with the extra batter. It was only supposed to make twelve medium muffins. Solution solved but toddler needs a bath.
14. Double check that nothing was being 'stored' in the oven. Too late now.
15. Put clothes in the dryer. Auto Dry doesn't work, so set timer cycle for 23 minutes.
16. Put muffins in the oven. Timer doesn't work, but coincidentally, they cook for 22 minutes.
17. Unload dishwasher, re-load with baking dishes.
18. Wash the dishes by hand that don't fit.
19. Wash the kitchen floor.
20. Take muffins out.
21. Bribe sticky toddler and older child into the bathtub by promising that the muffins will be cool enough to eat when they get out.
22. Peacefully enjoy a muffin with your smiling kids. Look at all you've accomplished! A load of laundry, dishwasher unloaded, dishes cleaned, the kitchen floor washed, and the kids are sparkling! Isn't it great to be able to multi-task?

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I really want to get back to knitting posts (or at least show off some funny March Break photos), but I just have to address this issue a little bit more.

Women who don't breastfeed fall into two catagories. The first group are those who WANT to b.f., who struggle for weeks and months, who pump fulltime for a year, who won't give their baby a bottle in public because they feel ashamed. They KNOW b.m. is best, they WANT to do it, they've TRIED. These women are to be acknowledged (like I did back last fall), respected, accepted, and wrapped in the love of the b.f. community. All too often they hang on to feelings of guilt, when they are the mothers who should not have any. For more about this issue, see Rev. Jan's essay about b.f. advocates, guilt, and who should feel it. It's a good article. If I knew more about graphics, and HTML, and buttons, I'd make one just for these breastfeeding
warriors (but as you can see by my sidebar, I'm just a little slow at that stuff. I really want to get more links up there, I'm not trying to ignore anyone's blogs, but I'm just slow!).

The second camp of non-b.f. are the ones I was addressing yesterday (and last fall). The ones who don't even try. Who give lame excuses like "I want Daddy to give some bottles" or "I don't want to feel like a cow" or who give up after two weeks, without seeking assistance, because it "wasn't going well" (it might be the natural and normal way to feed an infant, but not very many mothers can say it's going well in the first week!). Or "My doctor says I'm too old to breastfeed". Yup, I heard that one, by a woman around 43-44. Or, "you can't b.f. twins/triplets..." Or, like my neighbour "It'll be more convinient to bottle feed" and then they're at the doctor's twice in the first 3 days and on three different formulas already because their baby hasn't passed the meconium. How's that convinient? What was convinient was soaking through her t-shirt, flowing freely, the free and perfect constipation cure, wasted on a blue cotton t-shirt. Children are NOT convinient, LOL. These are the women who SHOULD carry the burden of guilt, but because of their ignorance about the importance of b.m. they don't harbour any shame. I just don't understand THESE women. How could you NOT want to do what's best for your baby? Or, the women who don't bother to read the stickers ON the carseat to make sure it's in correctly (I'm not even talking about the instruction manual, just the stickers in plain view). The same neighbour with the convinience excuse also put her baby in a re-called carseat, in the front seat of her truck, with the handle up. Three big mistakes. How can I take her seriously as a mother? You'll rarely hear these mothers get upset when they read something like I wrote yesterday, or last fall. Perhaps they do know, deep inside, that they make a poor choice. I'm always hopeful for that, and that if they have other kids they will try to do better.

Phew. Enough. Did you see that Miriam left me a comment? Me! Okay, she wasn't praising my knitting or anything, but she was here :) I really really love getting comments--doesn't matter if you're a 'knitting nobody' or Grumperina! I've always loved to write, and while I knew I would never make a career out of it, blogging is the perfect tool for me. Yeah, I'd love some blogging fame, be on a first name basis like "Wendy" or "The Harlot", but for now, LOL, just knowing that SOMEONE has read what I wrote, and especially that they felt moved/angered/sympathetic enough to comment, blows me away. Am I really that simple, LOL. When you're a SAHM of three doesn't take much to make my day :)

Edit: I had a picture of two of my kids making a mess in Grandma's bathtub. I've just found out that someone came to this blog after Googling "Kids in Tub" so I've edited the picture. They're still kids in a very dirty tub!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thanks Grumperina!

Grumperina left a link in a comment yesterday, and I've been enjoying it so much I think it deserves it's own post. The postcards are particularly funny! And in the calendar, there is a picture of a bride, nursing while in her wedding gown! I love the little t-shirts for baby "Little MotherSucker" LOL. The Lactivist has one "I play with my Baby's food". I wish I had seen that earlier, I think Rob would really have liked it :) (And in case you've been wondering, the Pork Board apologized to her, but asked her to change the slogan to "Breastmilk: The Original White Milk" which I think is a much better slogan!).
While you're at the BabyMilkAction site, you might see some things about deaths from bottle feeding. Although the images are of 3rd World countries, it is applicable to North America. Just think of Hurricane Katrina. I don't know if any babies died from Hurricane Andrew, or the Ice Storm '98, or the Big Black Out of Aug '03, but if you are dependent on sterilized water and bottles, and refrigeration, while stores are closed and power is out....Even if you use 'ready to feed' formula--do you have a manual can opener? There was an episode of "Untold Stories of the ER" on TLC and a one month old baby just happened to be at a children's hospital because his 15 year old mother was having surgery. A nurse pauses to admire the baby, and notices that he's quite blue. It turns out the family ran out of bottled water and was using tap water. The water had high nitrite levels due to agricultural runoff and the baby had nitrate poisoning. Formula gets recalled, farms get outbreaks of diseases, hormones weren't declared, the milk truck was 2C above required temperature, hands don't always get washed....the chain of events from the cow that provides the original milk to the formula in the bottle is HUGE. At any one of the events, something can happen. Let's see what the chain of events are for breastfeeding...Pull up shirt, unhook bra, latch baby on. (I'm NOT trying to make b.f. look so simple. I KNOW it's not--I've had lots of different issues. Huey almost didn't get b.f. past 3 days, but I was adamant that he should have human milk--after all, despite what we call him now, LOL, he IS a human!).
Human milk should be the first choice for all babies. Women should have the support needed to work through ANY difficulty. Doctors who say "Formula is just as good" should have their license suspended. Hospitals who say "Your milk hasn't come in yet (on day 1!), here's some free formula" or "Baby is jaundiced, here's some formula" should pay a hefty fine. Only 5-10% of mothers really, truly, cannot breastfeed their newborn. It should be seen as a national shame that 30% of newborns are formula fed. Don't even get me started on C-Sections :)

PS--And for goodness sake! The Blogger spellcheck should have the word Breastmilk in it!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Some Artwork

I came across a breastfeeding art site today. What ISN'T there on the internet? I really liked this picture!

This one is titled "Lovin' It" LOL. But soon I won't be looking like that sign :)

There is a great book you can download and print (or just view) for children about breastfeeding.

How I Spent March Break

Started the first weekend of March Break by buying this! Put a little dent in my 'liposuction fund'.

It's a Singer Memomatic 327, standard gauge (4.5mm), 24 st punchcard, with built in Knit Contour, and also has a ribber (too shy for a photo). Rob is concerned that it is 'too old' (punchcards are archaic now he says). However, I found basically the same machine for sale new. However, to buy all three parts (the knit contour is now separate), it would cost $2077!!

What is going on with that link business? It wouldn't stop highlighting as I typed. So, I paid $150 for the machine. I think I should find out if the lace carriage and intarsia carriages will work with it!!

It took a bit of work to get it going. The book doesn't tell you that weights are needed. There is no cast on comb or hem, just a couple of claw weights. Once I loaded up the weights, it knitted fine!

The bottom of this swatch is punchcard #18 used for slip stitch. The wrong side is actually the right side, however it doesn't show up on either side because I think the tension was too loose. Then I tried the same card as a slipstitch Fair Isle.

Weeee!! Now I have to go hunting for more punchcards!!

I have a huge cone of this bright red yarn, and quite a bit of the green. It's called "Pine Green" but in one blob, it's too bright too. I do have some other cones to experiment with. This yarn is FINE! I have some dark blue and some moss green that would make nice...shirts? It's so fine it doesn't feel like sweater material!

I'm having a hard time finding patterns though. I got 4 magazines from another guild member, but even the 'advanced beginner' ones seem too hard, are written too vaguely, are ugly, or for different machines. I know I can chart up my own plain things, but I want to do something with the punchcards, and not look like 4 rectangles sewn together and called a sweater. I'm beyond that!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sock Curse

What was up with that last post? I do recall having a heck of a time signing in. How do you all do it? When I use the Blogger start page, it never fully loads, and if I click sign in with Google, it never works either. I usually go to someone else's blog, leave a comment, and get logged in that way. I noticed on Friday that there was a 'New Post' heading and used it to make the post, but there were no options, like centering, bold, links, or pictures. But what was I writing about? Totally strange.

Anyway....a sock curse. I love knitting socks. Some of my earliest ones, back in 1999/2000 were pretty lame, then I slacked off for a while. Why? They make great little projects. Although way back then, there weren't all the great sock yarns there are now, so you had to use a pattern or create your own, and I could never do things the easy way!
But since I've gotten back to socks, I'm not doing too great either. Huey' pair too big, the other pair he wore for 10 seconds. My pink/red ones...they didn't shrink the first time I washed them, but for some reason, they did shrink this time. They were a tad small for me, but now they are just a bit too big for Lucy. My blue lace ones that I reknit the foot last fall/winter....there's no hole yet in the other one, but any day now. And, the biggest kicker of all....I was emptying the dryer, and a blue Shelridge sock fell out! The ones I just finished! Argh! Both were in the dryer. They did felt somewhat, and shrink a little. The baby cable rib is no longer quite stretchy, so they bag and sag :( If I knew someone with slightly smaller feet than me I would pass them on. How sad. I can still wear them, and they are certainly still warm, but just not so fresh looking. On a good note....I did get back a pair of Kroy socks I left at my parents....but forgot my only slippers there!
Oh, that's something I wrote. Sock yarn doesn't count, does it? LOL. I went shopping on Friday, just me and Megan! Spent more than I thought I would, but it's stuff I'll be using right away.
And, I finished Lucy's purple and pink striped socks. She wore them to school this afternoon, even though they desperately need to be washed! Glad she likes them!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

I've Missed You!

Oh my, it's been awhile. Got over the strep, had a few good days, then got a sinus issue. And the kids had a no-school day, then the next day was getting stash ready for a guild meeting/sale, then the next day was more getting ready to go to guild, then the next was a no-school day, then it was the weekend, then we went to Bancroft on Monday, got home yesterday afternoon....

But Huey and Lucy are now at Grandma with the Pear Trees! Time to get caught up! I got some pictures ready to post last week, I don't know if I even remember what they were, LOL.

This is the collection of yarn that I took to the Georgetown guild's stash sale. I had 10 minutes to go downstairs and root through the stash to get some to clear out. I was down there for 40 minutes! I got a little ruthless. Some of it I didn't really want to part with, but the allure of some cash was too high.

This is the stash pile after the sale. Everybody was in the same mood. "Please buy my stash"/"Oh, I love that yarn but I'm trying not to buy more yarn". I did sell a few bags. A full bag of the blue Fresco ribbon, the red and pink Picnic cotton yarn, royal blue sock weight yarn, and the bright peach worsted weight. I think I raked in $21 and spent $5 on two magazines. one of those magazines is a cute lace cardi using laceweight mohair (have some--the 'nursing shawl'). I could probably also make it with the KnitPicks Shadow that I won!

Lucy decided, out of the blue, to wear this dress. I made it the summer of of the early project on the knitting machine. I had made one with a pink veriegated skirt and a knitted lace edging, and she loved it. So she picked out this yarn for another one and I thought I'd make it a little bigger, to use up all the yarn, and because the pink one just fit for that summer. Well, it was too big back then, LOL. She'll be able to wear it for awhile--the other one looked like an empire waist on purpose :) And, she picked out the tights to go with it all on her own too. Normally, she just picks whichever tights are on the floor, LOL.

And, I have some really big news! Not the kind of news that makes me really big, LOL. I bought another knitting machine!! It's a Memo-Matic 327, standard gauge punchcard machine, with a ribber!! Rob replaced the sponge bar while I was away, and I got it knitting last night!
I bought it from a lady I met on Freecycle. She came in Feb 06 to pick up something, and saw my machine at the back of the room, and mentioned that she had one in her garage; it had been her mothers. Then she came to the new house last summer and picked up something, but I didn't see her. I went to her place in September to pick up a desk (for the knitting machines), and she pointed out the machine in her garage. She thought it was for bulky yarn, but people on the internet told me it would be a standard gauge, and that the second box was probably a ribber. I kept waiting for it to come on Freecycle. Finally, last week she was posting lots of stuff, so I emailed her and asked if she wanted to sell it yet!
Because it is a standard gauge, I can use up all those cones I bought, thinking I'd double/triple/quadruple strand them to handknit with. So, although I didn't spend money on yarn, the money spent will help me use up yarn, LOL. And with the ribber, I can knit socks out of sock weight yarn without seams! Bear with me, cause I'm just a little excited, LOL.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Busy Fun makes Mistakes!

On Saturday we went to the Kitchener's Children's Museum. I had read in Rob's engineering magazine that "Engineers Without Borders" was doing something about bridges and K'nex constructions toys for kids 6+. They were there, but I have to say, the volunteers were stereotypical engineers--not too socially interactive, LOL. Rob and Huey built some dunebuggies with the K'nex while Lucy, Megan and I explored another area. They wouldn't have cared if Lucy also wanted to build, but she wasn't interested.That's Rob and Huey, disobeying the "No Faces" sign on the pin board. You can just see Rob's face. I don't know what Huey was pointing at. I think Megan had run away, LOL.

It's a nice, small townish museum. Loads of space. Much of it was too old for our kids though. But some of it was lots of fun, especially the 'playground' and toddler play area. I also really liked the "Plasma Car" (I think that's what they're called. It's a Canadian invention!).

You put your feet up at the front, and wiggle the steering wheel back and forth really quickly to get it to go. Of course, there were no instructions, but I had seen them on TV a long time ago, and they're in a lot of the catalogues for places like Grand River Toys. No one else wanted to bother to try to get it to go, so I hopped on, LOL. Megan really enjoyed being pushed around, but it seemed everytime she tried to do anything, she fell and bopped her head. You would've thought she'd have slept longer on the way home, LOL.

On the trip I worked on a new pair of mittens for Huey who's mitts from last year disintegrated. I thought, I'd make a pair with flames and felt them. Sound familiar? At least this time I realized I'd have to knit them flat. I got the cuff just about done on the Kitchener trip...then realized that felted ribbing doesn't make good ribbing. I had seen a pattern where the mitt body was provisionally cast on with cotton, then felted, and the cuff ribbing worked after the felting. So rip rip rip...Got more done on Sat/Sun/Mon night....but these are not the 'whip them up fast mitts' he needs!

On Saturday at some point, I went to do another row on a baby blanket I've had on the LK150 for a while. I'm doing the simple lace pattern in the manual that makes a ^^^^^ pattern. It was almost big enough. I was transferring stitches for the last row of the lace pattern and I found a mistake!

Do you see in the bottom, how there should be two eyelets side by side, and they go off diagonal from each of these? See in the top one where I forgot the second eyelet? DOH!

But I can fix this, I thought. Not until Sunday when it was somewhat quiet. The neat thing about the knitting machine is that each stitch is held by a latch, so you can easily see how each stitch relates to others, horizontally and vertically. It shouldn't be too hard to fix.

I thought I should start at the bottom, and that was probably correct, although it meant the hardest/longest fix first. I dropped the stitches, and (I thought) found the loop that should have been the yarn over and worked the column back up from there, and then did the column up from the adjacent k2tog. Then I dropped the two stitches for the next eyelet/k2tog...and had a total brain fart and couldn't remember how to do it! Got that one done, and the top one was pretty easy because it was the two rows that had just been knit so it could be done on the latches, instead of trying to latch up each row with the latch tool.

I can finally convert stitches to make ribbing (you're always working on the purl side of the piece. If you want ribbing, or a knit stitch to show on the back side, you drop the stitch off and unravel it down. Then you use a tool--just like latch hooking--and work it back up. It's the same thing as if you drop a stitch in HK and you use a crochet hook to work it back up). But, trying to re-latch a column of purl stitches is just beyond me! I can't figure out where to put the latch tool--it has to go in from behind...

I thought I had gotten it all fixed, when I noticed that one of the yarn overs was a single strand. Argh. I kept dropping stitches and re-working them up, but that single strand just migrated up the eyelets. I was getting really really frustrated, and almost ready to just rip back those 6 rows.
I finally realized that I hadn't started the bottom eyelet on the right row. You can see the center bottom stitch is purple, and the pink strand at the bottom of the eyelet to the left of it should have been the eyelet and the single strand should have been the row that knitted the yarn over. Having used variegated yarn for this really helped! LOL.

And here it is, all finished!! It needs some tension adjusting, LOL. Was it faster than ripping out 6 whole rows? Maybe. It takes time to transfer all the stitches on each of the pattern rows, but the plain rows sure are quick! If I had gotten the mistake fixed the first time, it definitely would have been the faster way. But I'm glad I tried this way first, it's one of the nice things about knitting vs. crochet :)

And, if that wasn't enough in the mistakes department...I had my plastic surgeon visit on Monday. I was working on Lucy's pink and purple socks, the second one. I had put both in the bag (previously, the first one had been sitting forlorn on the table), and when I took the second one out, I realized I had another big mistake! I was half way up the leg and hadn't done the ribbing on the back of the leg!! Rip rip rip! Oh well. That's the life of a knitter!

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Did I actually say on the Jinxed post that after puking, Megan went to sleep?! How on earth did I forget that she stayed up for over two hours, eating a bag of Cheddar Crispy Minis? Then she got over tired and laid on the floor screaming until she finally let me hold her and she fell right 9:30pm!

Oh Really?

Your Career Personality: Quiet, Sevice -Oriented, and Practical

Your Ideal Careers:

Forest Ranger
Jewelry designer

Artist? LOL. Esthetician? Does working at Caryl Baker Visage for 6 months count? Forest Ranger? I did take the "Focus on Forests" course during teacher's college. Gardener? Worked for myself for a couple summers as "The Garden Goddess". Geologist? I did study geography, and like the physical stuff, but I'm no good at remembering things like stalactite vs stalagmite. Jewelry designer? Well, I dabbled with Friendly Plastic and Fimo for a bit. Pediatrician? LOL. I'd be like, "Why are you wasting my time--you're the mother, you decide where he should sleep, if she should cry it out, if you should wean! But of course, he should sleep with you, CIO ruins a baby's sense of trust, and the world-wide average for weaning is 4 years old." And the last--Teacher? Can we say "Teacher's College" oh, and my OCT fees are due, LOL.

Thanks Sandra for the link (although it didn't work on your blog).

Stash busting BSJ. There are going to be a whack of ends to weave in. I don't do it as I knit, because 1) I like to duplicate stitch them (although I cheat a little in garter st) so they are in visible and 2) Where the ends are on this, gets seamed. I'm not going to work them into the seam, but I will cross over the seam and have half the ends on each side.

This BSJ is assorted balls of Astra from my stash, grey, dark purple, pale lilac, and periwinkle. At first, I wasn't going to use all the colours, but then did anyway. The thickest band is 3 ridges--I like the small scale for a small project. The colours are done in a repeat, but the number of ridges is either 1, 2, or 3, (random), and do all three before repeating. Does that make sense? I'm using 3.75mm needles, like recommended on the ball band. I'm hoping it softens up a little when washed, cause right now, the arms don't bend too well, LOL.


Just when I thought all was getting better....That's the exact same spot that just got cleaned on the weekend! And because I couldn't imagine that anything more could come out of such a tiny body, I started to leave the room carrying her...

I suppose it doesn't look too bad now. First the dog helped clean up, then this morning I vaccuumed the dry bits. But last night? Oh MAN was it GROSS! All over me, down the front of my V-neck shirt, stuck inside the little frontal bit of my underwire bra...But hardly any on Megan! This all happened at 7pm and then she slept good until 4:15, but after that, she wouldn't give in. She laid there with her eyes closed, her fingers working the holes of the lace baby blanket. Back and forth from the crib to the futon, to downstairs, back to the futon (like the 'landing pad' I improvised in the middle of the night?). Today, she is pretty crabby (and so is her Mommy!).


There is a sweater I'd love to make for Rob, from an older issue of Interweave Knits. A basketweave, oversize, zippered neck, rugged thing, made in Classic Merino. I even have enough Classic Merino. BUT. Rob doesn't like sweaters, knitting it won't turn him into the rugged, axe-wielding buff lad in the photo, and I don't even have a gentle cycle on my washing machine--and no laundry tub upstairs where the laundry is. There's no way I'd put Classic Merino in the machine I have now unless I want it to felt.

Don't you hate it when you want to make something, have the stash for it, but NO reason to knit it? Sure, baby stuff, hats, mitts, they can go in the gift box (or craft sale box), but a sweater made with $70 of feltable wool? (Of course, I DID NOT pay $70--I went to the Spinrite Tent Sale, LOL).

And then there are the things I want to knit, and maybe even have the stash for, but I know won't look good on me, at least right now. I could knit them now, but what size?

Maybe this is why I like to make baby stuff, and socks, and things. I'm not committed to the size/shape I am; it's hard to get commited to a project for it. Oh, I can't wait!! On Monday I go see the plastic surgeon! And then I know more :)