Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fighting SSS

Well, I tried, but I just couldn't start on my second insidious sock without doing a little knitting on another project. Seeing how cute little Eliza looked in her jacket, I felt compelled to knit another little girl item. I have appreciated that my "little girl" has shown an interest in knitted apparel lately, but I wanted to knit something "cutesy," complete with flowers and feminine colors, not a teen item. I recently discovered Looking Glass Knits blog. After spending hours poring over her great posts and free patterns, I decided that I needed to knit her baby tulip cardigan. The pattern only goes up to 12 months, but I'm hoping that my niece's little girl, who is a toddler, will still be able to wear it since I went up a needle size and used worsted weight instead of sports weight yarn.

Paige described my color choices as "weird," but she didn't say it a derogatory way. I kind of agree anyway. I had two skeins of  amethyst heather Knit Picks Swish yarn, which I'm hoping will be enough for the body. I have a back-up plan in case I run out since I have a full skein of the green I used for the tulip stems. It's a fun and easy pattern, not quite mindless, but close.

I have, at least, started my second insidious sock. My "vehicle" for getting started was an actual vehicle. I helped take 43 students on a field trip last Thursday, I'm not saying that riding on the bus is the most comfortable knitting situation, but our buses aren't too bad. I spent part of the time looking out the window, being grateful that I don't suffer through Los Angeles traffic everyday, and a portion of it knitting away. Sadly, I had forgotten to take an extra, extra needle for the "insidious cable," which requires two cable needles to complete, so eventually  I deferred to napping.
 Where did I go on my field trip? Well, first we went to the Getty Museum in Malibu. My friend, who teaches A.P. history, and I, who teach honors English, split our 43 students, and "guided" them through the "villa." I have told people that this class, (My son, Kai, is standing there in the red sweatshirt) is probably the best class of juniors I've had in nearly 25 years of teaching. They're pretty hard workers, are always respectful to me and usually to each other, and they're just plain fun. On the other hand, they're teenagers at a museum, so it's a little stressful. After we'd made it by the statue of Venus bathing, which has a sign near it that reads "please touch," it was pretty smooth sailing. I tried to Google a picture of Venus so you could see her, but all I could find was a picture with an old man touching her...exactly where I told our kids not to!

Actually, I wasn't too worried about them. A lot of these kids toured Europe last summer with my history teacher friend, and they only giggle a little when viewing naked antiquities, like The Victorious Youth.  Last year, we took them to Hearst Castle, The Getty Center, and Medieval Times (OK, Medieval Times isn't high culture, but it's pretty cool!) This year it was Malibu Getty and The Ronald Reagan Library. For my friends who know my political leanings, No, I never would have chosen it as a destination, and it does kind of make me sick that kids leave the Reagan thinking he was a God since it is one flawlessly produced piece of political propaganda. I did see that Ron Reagan, who I do kind of like, is going to be allowed to have a book signing there next week, ha, ha. I'll bet that made those cute, little, old D.A.R. docents just cringe!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Can You Spell Indecision?

After trying three other socks patterns and investing a significant number of hours knitting and unraveling, I decided to use limedragon's insidious socks  with my new yarn. I'm not absolutely in love with these socks, but I'm happy. I always think of "insidious" as being closely related with "evil," and the cable for these socks isn't close to being evil. It's not even much of a challenge. It's just a nice cable. I'm sure that more fastidious knitters than I wouldn't be happy with the striping at the heel, but I think it looks fine, and I do still love this yarn.  I'm a little concerned that I feel a bout of SSS coming on though. I've been browsing toddler sweater patterns since I hinted to my niece that I was going to knit your little girl a sweater. I wouldn't want to be considered a tease, after all.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Positive Reinforcement

I like gifting things I've knit, but only to people who I know understand the time and effort that went into them, and who won't throw them into the hot wash turning them into felted mats after one use. Not that I haven't ruined tons of knitted items myself.  My sister is one of those people who understands the "time and effort" thing,  so I've given her and her kids probably more knitted items than anyone else. On the other hand, she's terrible about sending pictures. When we visit, which is usually, once a year, I see evidence of much loved knitted toys, etc., but she never sends pictures. I've been pretty clear about my displeasure that she doesn't send pics, but it's had no effect. It may have something to do with her having five kids and a husband who works out of the country a lot of the time. Still, I've told a couple of my knitting friends that I'm not inclined to knit anymore stuff for her since I get no positive reinforcement, other than a genuine "Thank you," which is something, but just not quite enough.

One of my knitting friends, who knows about my displeasure about this thing with my sister, has a new grandbaby. Her daughter, who is also a knitting friend, adopted a beautiful little girl this summer. Last month I gave my friend's granddaughter the little Garn Studio Baby Jacket, which I had admittedly knit for another friend, whose baby grew too fast. What did I find in my email this week? Three adorable pictures of Eliza in her new coat and hat. My friend understands the power of positive reinforcement.  I'm not totally done with knitting for my sister's family, but I have to admit that I'm more inclined to knit for someone who knows the power of an adorable snapshot. I think Eliza may be getting another hand knit item in the new future.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Begin, Knit, Repeat

The older I have gotten, the more I have appreciated the idea of ritual. When my kids were younger, I didn't really think about whether I was partaking in a ritual or not. I just had things that I repeatedly did, sometimes daily, like reading books together before tucking Paige and Kai in at night or more randomly, whenever we were in the car together for more than a half hour.  Of course, many of my rituals have to do with food. The only thing about my daughter's vegetarianism that I've been unhappy about has been that she hasn't taken part in some of our food rituals during the holidays.  Danish medisterpølse (pork sausage) or frikkedillar (Danish meatballs) just don't fit in her diet, even once a year.

One of my daily rituals that I enjoy  even though it may not be all that healthy (cream and sugar, please.) is my morning cup of coffee. This ritual has gotten all the more special to me since Christmas when Julie sent me this Polish pottery coffee cup. I LOVE my coffee cup. If Russ brings me my coffee in another cup, I always have to keep myself from asking if he's forgotten that coffee tastes much better in my "Julie" cup. My other daily ritual is to knit for a half hour or so in the morning while drinking my coffee. So, I sat down this morning to work on my sock, which I started a couple of days ago, using my beautiful yarn from Anne. As I was sitting down to knit,  I realized something. Knitting a pair of plain, ribbed socks would not do justice to this yarn. I was in such a hurry to get started with my socks (It was in the mid sixties today, after all. My wool socks wearing days are numbered.) that I wasn't patient enough, initially, to find the perfect pattern to use with this yarn. I did spend a little time browsing through Ravelry, but this morning, I realized that I really wanted to knit another pair of L'Amour et la Morte socks I'm not hooked on the little skulls, but I adore the hearts and the cables. 

 Fortunately, my morning "knitting ritual" is more about getting ready to face a hectic day than production, so I'm not phased by the hours I kind of wasted knitting endless rows of k1, k1, p1, p1. Well, not phased too much.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Comfort Bunny

Anyone who has read my blog for any amount of time knows that I LOVE Julie's bunnies at Little Cotton Rabbits, but I've long ago given up ever buying one from her. I seem to remember her having something like 300 hits the last time she announced that she was selling one. I also am not as obsessed with knitting bunnies that look exactly like hers. On the other hand, she's still my inspiration, and I enjoy knitting bunnies more than anything else.
I knit a bunny today because I was home from work. A doctor may not have diagnosed me as ill, but  I just couldn't imagine making it through the day when the alarm went off, so I stayed home, that is, after getting up at 6:30 and driving (Ok, it's only five minutes away) down to work to leave lesson plans. A friend calls a day like that a "mini-nervous break-down." I brag that I don't have a Puritanical work ethic, but actually I think I kind of do and struggle against it, so I think it's good for me to just spend a day on the couch every once in a while.

I  spend a couple of hours catching up on sleep, and then I had enough energy to knit a bunny with the help of my constant couch companion, Kitty. She's a fairly expensive bunny. I can't remember how much money I spent on the skein of alpaca that I used, which I bought several years ago at  Silver Sun's Alpacas, but I know it wasn't cheap. I'm happier and happier with my "bunny skills," face and body wise, but I'm not completely happy with her little dress. The skirt is 38 stitches around, and I think that 42 would have been perfect. I'd also like to start giving my bunnies shoes, but I'll have to find a pattern since I just can't visualize how to do them.