Wednesday, April 19, 2006

movin' on up

Poor little Spherey. He was just born yesterday and already, he seems to be in way over his head here at Bits of Knits. Besides cramming for finals ( he's quite the prodigy, less than 24 hours old and already in grad school!), Mom's been cracking the whip to get him to write her 40 page paper for her. Ever the obedient scholar, he obliges, always with a smile on his face. Between school projects, he even tends to the children of the manor, who mysteriously morph into demented Kikaida monsters, a.k.a. BossiER and StinkiER, during the countdown to finals week. He knows that their sweet smiles are actually their ultra deception/distraction superpower and remains unfazed by their attempts to infiltrate as he reigns them in with his twisted charm. When not occupied with his superhero duties, he attempts to conjure up recipes for boiled eggs that don't involve mayonnaise or dry mustard, but is all too easily distracted by the sweet siren song of shortbread cookies and tea, much like his mom. In spite of his foibles, Spherey's quite a cultured fellow who appreciates fine craftsmanship, like this beautiful postcard from his mom's Project Spectrum Postcard Swap partner, Stephanie. He wistfully admires the beautifully embossed flowers and vibrant colors (Thank you so much, Steph- I love it!) and daydreams of a better life. "It's funny," he muses, "It's like I'm trapped in a box." And then reality rudely awakens him as he remembers that he IS, indeed, in a box, in the midst of the packing job from hell! He sighs with the realization that even superheroes need to know when to cry uncle, and so he does, ever so quietly, in a shroud of packing peanuts. As much as he dreams of sitting at the computer connecting with his intergalactic fiberly roots, he is deterred by the merciless packing gods.

Yes, friends, the Bits of Knits household is embarking on a new chapter in our lives... in two weeks, we'll be moving to a new home! Not to worry, this has nothing to do with the dirgeful post of several weeks back. This has been in the works for quite a while, and while we're all really excited about the move, the prospect of packing and moving during finals is a little daunting. I know I invoke the "blogger hiatus" clause more than is reasonably prudent, so what's one more infraction right? ;-) I hate to do it again, but I think I'm going to need to take a one month break from posting and commenting while we ride out finals and settle into the new place. While I still love blogreading, lurking may become the order of the day until we're all settled in. I'm so sorry- I feel terrible that I've gotten so behind on reading and commenting. I'll miss you guys, but I'm looking forward to seeing you again in a month. Take care, everyone and please send poor Spherey good packing peanut vibes! :-)

Monday, April 10, 2006

public service announcement

First of all, thank you so much for all of your sweet and encouraging comments and emails this past week! I can't tell you how much your good wishes and positive thoughts mean to me. I am overwhelmed by all the love out there in knit blogland and am so grateful for your friendship and support. You guys truly are the best!! Things are much better now and I have all of you to thank for that! Your good vibes made it priority mail all the way to the islands and made a world of difference. I know I've been MIA, but I anticipate being back with a little more regularity now. Unfortunately, my online time may be curtailed due to a different craziness of a more mundane variety, known as the end-of-the-semester crunch, but I still hope to be able to pop in from time to time.

Yes, there is knitting to be had in this post, but it comes in the form of a PSA: Knitting violence is wrong. My friends, it is with a heavy heart that I must confess to you that I am a former perpetrator of knitting violence. My name is Chris, and I am an abusive knitter. My story, unfortunately, is not all that uncommon; perhaps you might even recognize yourself in my woeful tale. Like every abuser before me, I blamed the victim. %$&*@%* I mean, Beautiful Sampler Stole- it was all her fault. We got off to a less than stellar start with the invisible cast-on. The splitty hairiness of the alpaca during K2tog added to the friction, and unable to decipher the elusive directions in Row 6, I found myself increasingly on edge. After the second frogging of the night, I completely lost it. In a fit of complete and utter knitterly rage, I flew my size 2 Inox circs and Alpaca Cloud across the room and screamed sailorly potty-mouth obscenities, the likes of which you've never heard. Novel combinations of adverbs, adjectives and nouns that have yet to find their way into our modern lexicon. I could see the fear in Mr. W's eyes when I grabbed the disavowed circs by the cord and proceeded to hurl the needles against the wall again. and again. and again. Looking at the limp remains of frogged alpaca, gnarled in my sweaty, clenched fists, I realized that I... I had a problem. Surely, no knitting deserves this kind of abuse! Luckily, remorse set in and redemption was found on the KAL page in the form of collective wisdom and Row 6 help. Though I'm now 1 repeat away from finishing the central panel, I recognize that I'm still at risk for future violent behavior, especially with the impending border panels looming in my future. Knowledge is power and awareness is key; "Stop hitting the knitting!" has become my ardent mantra during these trying times.

I realize that March went out like a lion while I was AWOL, but I don't want to let another moment pass without sharing the beautiful postcard I received last month from my wonderful Project Spectrum Postcard Swap partner, Leah. She's such a sweetheart- she even enclosed yummy chocolate (which, unfortunately, never stood a fighting chance of making it to the photo shoot) with her card. Thank you so much, Leah!!I absolutely love the card- the vellum envelope, beaded lettering and dimensional paper crafting are just gorgeous and it has been such a pleasure getting to know you this past month.

Finally, I thought I'd end with some gratuitous Bossy and Stinky pics from an early Egg Hunt this past weekend at The Waikiki Aquarium. Bossy was a little miffed about why the eggs weren't hidden and instead, just dumped onto the grass like chicken feed. Thanks to some quick and resourceful finagling on my part, I was able to explain that the Easter Bunny has to hire people to help him, especially in the week preceeding Easter, since he's obviously gearing up for The Big Egg Hiding Day. Luckily, this resonated with 4 year old logic and Bossy was ultimately stoked to "find" his eggs. I worry for Stinky, though. Her ability to "smile and show me your egg at the same time" doesn't bode too well for her simultaneously chewing gum and walking in the future!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

radio silence

I'm still alive, but haven't really had the chance to get on the computer since Wednesday night as I've been tending to some personal matters. I won't bore you with the gory details, but I do want to take a moment to apologize. I'm so sorry... I know that I owe many of you comments and emails, and I don't want you to think that I'm ignoring you. Please forgive me for the delay- I promise to get around to returning emails and blog reading just as soon as everything gets resolved- hopefully by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest. Looking forward to making the rounds and seeing what all of you have been up to in a few days!! Thanks, again and take care!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

furry basket shawl

What?? Two posts in one week?! I know, I almost need smelling salts myself! But there's no time for fainting now- I have something I want to share with you!

Yarn: Crystal Palace Kid Merino in Blush
Inox Size 4 circs & Grandma's vintage aluminum circs
Started: 3/10/06 Completed: 3/21/06
Blocked Dimensions: 72" X 36"
Modifications: None; 11 repeats of Chart 2
This was such an enjoyable knit! The Kid Merino was an absolute joy to work with and I loved this pattern. I have to say, my relationship with FBS went a lot more smoothly than my tryst with Kiri. With all of the leftover baggage after being dumped by Kiri the first time around, though, I couldn't help but be paranoid in a new relationship. Like a jilted ex, I was always looking over my shoulder for warning signs of trouble ahead with FBS. I think I grew wiser after courting Kiri, though. I didn't allow myself to fall blindly this time. I wasn't deceived by promises of perfect row counts. No, this time, I over-analyzed every stitch like a paranoid freak, checking the alignment with previous rows and never letting my guard down. FBS grew patiently and indulged my crazy compulsions. She never betrayed me, though I tested her many a time. In fact, I even learned to trust again- trust in my ability to analyze how each row was built upon the last so that I could catch mistakes several stitches later, rather than several rows later.

In the end, we really hit it off! Overall, I'm really pleased with FBS. It actually initially blocked out a little larger than what's in the picture, but lost about half a foot in length and width after unpinning, presumably because of the high nylon content (44%). Nonetheless, it's the perfect size for a vertically challenged gremlin like me. I could actually see myself wearing this one... you know, with my scintillating social calendar and myriad of formal engagements to choose from! That's okay. Even if it only serves as my princess-in-training diva costume at home, I'll wear it! This was a fun Project Spectrum knit and a great warm-up for the big-gun, the Sampler Stole, which I'll be casting-on for tomorrow. Uhm... yeah, okay, seriously, that wasn't a punch line, so you can stop laughing hysterically now. Yes, let's try to remember to laugh with, not at. Aww, who am I kidding? Even I'm LMAO right now, so you may as well, too!! Start tuning up the Man of La Mancha chorus for The Impossible Dream!

One of the aspects I liked best about working on FBS was the yarn, which was soft and cuddly. You can't really tell in the pictures, but it's also actually quite, well... furry. In a good way. Like stuffed animal furry. Or like domesticated animal furry... you know, the usual, dogs, cats and the like. Not to be confused with bad furry. Because there's definitely bad furry. Like orthoptera furry. (This one's for you, Aloha Knitter Michelle!! :-)) Better known as B-52 Flying Cockroaches to you and me. Back in my swinging bachelorette days, I had my own little pad near Waikiki, just me and my cat. I was used to him falling asleep near my leg, and his furry little presence always brought me comfort. So, one night as I was drifting off to sleep, I thought nothing of it when I felt something furry on my thigh. I insticinctively reached down to pet what I'd presumed was a little furry paw. Of course, just then, that little paw crawled up my shorts and my eyes flew open as I realized that something was terribly amiss. That furry little paw was about to scamper into the unmentionables when I grabbed it and hurled it against the wall for all I was worth. I ran to turn on the lights and saw the biggest, nastiest, furriest, Chibi needle sized-roach you've ever seen, kicking futilely upside-down on the floor! Like a twisted gladiator overseer, I loosed the real furry paw to take care of the imposter furry paw. Natural insecticide, if you will. Revenge is sweet!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

this weekend in paradise

... Project Spectrum Pink Flower Basket Shawl, sans edging and blocking. Knocking on wood, crossing my fingers, clicking my heels three times and throwing a pinch of salt over my shoulder- there may be an FO post later this week!... More Project Spectrum pink- in the form of our State flower! Technically, the yellow variety is the "official" bud, but these pink ones are my fave.... Long overdue, but during our 12-hour reprieve yesterday from the month-long rain, I snapped these photos of my "backyard" from high atop scenic Tantalus. This spot at Pu'u Ualaka'a holds a special place in my heart as it's where Mr. W and I exchanged our marriage vows, overlooking the island of O'ahu. Infamous Diamond Head . The beautiful Ko'olau Mountains. Punchbowl Crater of Hawaii Five-O fame. The sky and water weren't blue yesterday, but I'm hoping to rectify that soon. With any luck (and a dose of Blogger Metamucil!), I'd like to make "This Weekend in Paradise" a monthly feature to showcase the beauty that is Hawai'i.

... My ongoing Project Spectrum "WIP's!"

Stinky in Pinky and Bossy in Bull-Headed Red. And who could resist hanging out in our fave red monster's room at Bishop Museum? Project Spectrum pink and red abound in Elmo's World- just ask Dorothy!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

warm and cool

Ribby Cardi
2X2X3X1 all-over rib; collared version
Knitpicks Wool of the Andes Natural-4 hanks
Size 5 Clover Circs, Size 6 Addi Turbos
Started: 2/23/06
Completed: 3/8/06

I know nobody believes me, but it actually gets cold in Hawaii occasionally! Take this past week, for instance. We've had torrential downpours and flashflooding all across the state. It started raining so hard this morning that Bossy turned to me, eyes wide with wonder, and asked, "Is God going to flood the whole world again?" We've been reading a children's version of Noah's Ark at bedtime, so I think the concept's been weighing heavy on the poor little guy's mind! I had to chuckle at his remark, but after listening to the thunder rumble for hours, I could certainly see how he might start to wonder about that covenant. Granted, even with all the rain, the mercury has yet to dip below 70, but trust me, by Hawaii standards, it's chilly!

Enter, Ribby Cardi! I saw this pattern and knew it would be the perfect solution for staying warm and looking reasonably cool. "Reasonably" is through no fault of the pattern's, mind you... "reasonably" cool is just a best-case scenario for a harried mama of 2 who just as often as not has clean and combed hair with graying patches and remnants from Stinky's breakfast crusted on her clothes. I'm sure that others with combed, un-gray hair and clean clothes look fantastically cool in this cardi! Overall, I'm very pleased with the way this cardi turned out. I went with size 5 and 6 needles rather than the 6 and 7 called for in the pattern since I knit loosey-goosey. I knit a size 36 bust as I didn't want anything overly-fitted, but I'm kind of wishing that I'd stuck with a 34 instead. I think a 34 would still have been large enough to accommodate thick shirts underneath and not appear overly-fitted, without being as loose as this 36. In any case, I still love it! (PS: Note my little flash of Project Spectrum March Spirit under the cardi!)

The zipper installation was tedious but not nearly as bad as I'd anticipated, thanks to a wonderful tutorial link from Amanda. Thank you, Amanda!! I went with a heavy-duty Coats & Clark zipper designed especially for jackets, so it's sturdy and zips well. Next time, though, I'd love to try a custom zipper, just to compare. Do any of you have recommendations for any fave online vendors that you'd like to share?

In the end, I found the zen in all the ribbing and grew to love it. Plus, I'm happy with the finished look of all that ribbing. Actually, the worst part in making this cardi was waiting for the blocked pieces to dry so I could start seaming! Patience is a virtue and all, but with all of the recent rainfall and humidity, I had to wait a full 48 hours for the pieces to dry. Which wouldn't have been so bad in and of itself, except that I had to police Stinky, who kept threateningly hovering her foot above the drying knits, Karate Kid style, all the while giggling an evil laugh. Had it come down to it, I would've chosen the cardi pieces in a heartbeat. Now that the cardi is done and keeping me warm and cool, I can finally cast-on guilt-free for Project Spectrum and the Sampler Stole. Stay tuned!

Lest you think I've forgotten, I know that I owe some of you outdoor Hawaii pics on threat of bodily harm. As soon as the weather cooperates, I promise to hold up my end of the deal! And finally, I was tagged for a meme by Lynda- thanks, Lynda! Get ready for a voyeuristic experience because here, ladies, is where all the hot action takes place... knitting action, that is! That's my half of the bed where I sleep-knit most nights till the sleep half finally takes over. And I'm a very lucky girl because that's the beautiful Elizabeth Austen knitting bag that my sweet mom gave me for Christmas. Now you've got the down and dirty on my late night escapades!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

hodge podge

I'm running on a bit of an adrenaline rush right now and lack the focus to find some witty way to connect all the topics I want to blog about... so a hodge podge post in list-n-pic format it shall be!
  • My best friend (of Crunch Ali Om Yoga Bag fame) just gave birth a few hours ago (hence the adrenaline rush) to her second child- a baby girl!! She opted not to find out the sex of the baby, so we were so thrilled to find out that it was, indeed, a girl! (Oh, the Debbie Bliss baby girl knits to contemplate!) Mom and baby are doing well and the next few days promise to be busy ones as I will be babysitting her older son (Bossy's best bud!) while she recuperates. (Sorry, I kind of feel like that was an SNL General Subliminal paragraph!)

  • The Ribby Cardi of blog harakiri fame is progressing well. The back is completed, as are the two front panels. I'm working two sleeves at once on circs and am about 1/4 finished. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my next post will include pics of a completed and modeled Ribby Cardi! That, of course, is barring any unforeseen disaster with zipper installation, which I am a little apprehensive about. Any suggestions or advice (other than, "better you than me, sucker!") would be much appreciated!
  • On a more serious note, if you have the time, please consider knitting an 8" X 8" blue afghan square for Christine's brother, Jef. Jef is battling cancer and this afghan, infused with so many knitters' support and love, will be sure to bring him warmth and comfort during this difficult time. Christine is such a sweetheart, and it breaks my heart to think about what her family is going through. Please see Christine's blog for further details.
  • Today is the kick-off of lovely Lolly's Project Spectrum!! Pink and red fever are spreading through Blogland like wildfire- it's infectious! I set this yarn aside especially for Project Spectrum March and hope to finish at least one of the two intended projects before the end of the month. The red Cascade Sierra is for a Vittadini twist top and the pink Crystal Palace mohair/merino is earmarked for one of those ubiquitous Flower Basket Shawls that I just can't resist. I've also hauled out my cardstock, scrapbooking embellishments and papercrafting supplies to get started on my postcard for the Project Spectrum Postcard Swap. I'm really looking forward to exchanging crafty snail mail with my swap partner! I also have another pink project planned for tomorrow... but more on that at the end of this post!
  • After almost half a year of blogging (tempus fugit!), I finally have a blog button, thanks to wonderful Kimberly over at The Giving Flower. She creates such fun buttons and beautiful crafty items that I joked with her about making a blog button for me, not expecting her to actually take me seriously. What a sweetie! Thank you, Kimberly!
  • Several weeks ago, I was lucky enough to win a contest over at Plush Knits and received this wonderful prize package from Michelle this weekend. Art Yarns Supermerino (in a gorgeous red colorway....hmm, potential 2-for-1 Project Spectrum and Sock-A-Month KAL material!), red Ghiradelli chocolate (which I'm hiding from myself), a wonderful Green Canyon Spa face care kit and beautiful stitch markers. I love it, Michelle!! Thank you so much for the lovely and generous prize!
  • Finally, tomorrow, March 3 is Girl's Day or Hinamatsuri, a day to celebrate girls in Japanese culture. Traditionally, parents or grandparents present dolls to their daughter or granddaughter at birth, which are then displayed annually during Hinamatsuri. My granparents presented me with a doll, and likewise, my parents presented Stinky with a doll just days after her birth. (Pink and red everywhere, Lolly!)The Japanese kanji next to Stinky's doll can be read as either "beautiful blossom" or "she will blossom in beauty." I guess my mom felt Stinky needed extra assurance, as the coned head and lack of hair didn't bode well for her after birth. I think Stinky's finally living up to the second kanji interpretation. ;-) It is said that it's unlucky to leave Hinamatsuri dolls on display past the 3rd, as it may forebode a delay in marriage. Growing up sansei (third generation Japanese-American), we celebrated Hinamatsuri with many traditional treats, such as mochi and hina-arare rice crackers (pictured next to Stinky's doll). Following suit, tomorrow, Stinky, Bossy and I will be whipping up some pink mochi for Hinamatsuri- sticky, sweet, yummy fun! We'll enjoy eating and sharing it... especially with Crunchy Ali's beautiful new baby girl!! Happy Girl's Day, everyone!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

whose bright idea was this anyway?

There are some ideas that sound really good in theory, but in reality, really, really aren't.

Like deciding to take the kids out to eat a "nice dinner." This is an oxymoron in and of itself. Having had to make a beeline exit out of a restaurant recently with a screaming Stinky in tow (restrained via football hold, pining for the butter knives I cruelly refused to let her shove down her throat), I know that "a nice dinner" is as elusive a species as jumbo shrimp.

Then there are those ideas that fill you with dread, but are probably in your best interest.

Like pap smears. I start dreading my annual appointment a full 6 months ahead of the fact. Between that medieval speculum cranking device and the awkard conversation, it's hard to keep "early cancer diagnosis" in perspective. Seriously. Seriously. Why does the midwife insist on being chirpy as she's scraping your cervix? Are you supposed to act all normal and maintain your end of the conversation as she does a bimanual exam? Because I have a hard time discussing the pros and cons of my cell phone plan as she simultaneously proclaims my cervix to be in "magnificent shape!"

Like being convinced to join a KAL that is so out of your league that you can't even see the playing field, much less who's on first! I know this lace stole is going to open a major can of whoop-a$# on me, but I'm convinced that I'll definitely learn an invaluable thing or two in the process. Which will almost make up for having all the other KAL'ers pointing and laughing at my comic attempts to knit this stole!

Like deciding to knit an entire cardigan in 2X3X1 rib. And while I absolutely love this cardigan, I detest ribbing, ironically enough. However, the final product is something I'll make a lot of use of, so I'm plugging along and have made pretty decent progress for 2 nights' work. I know that knitting a cardigan in plain rib in a plain cream color is pretty much akin to blog harakiri, but the mama in me needed a pragmatic and practical cardi. Then again, going AWOL on your site for a week and a half can pretty much seal the blog harakiri deal, too. I'm really, really going to make an effort to blog with a little more regularity. I know I post with the frequency of a blogger in need of blog laxatives, but I'm going to try to up the fiber (wool, that is!) to get back on track.

Thank you so much for all of your sweet and encouraging comments about Ella, Kiri and the sample sock knitting I did for my talented designing blog buddy, Chrissy. Although the socks are finally done (as of Tuesday, yay!) and enroute to Chrissy, the whole horse's head in my bed dilemma precludes my being able to post pics of them. All I can say is that I really enjoyed knitting these socks and that I hope Chrissy is still my friend after she sees them! The thought of a TKGA master knitter examining socks which she designed fills me with trepidation beyond compare!

Last, but certainly not least, a huuuuuuuge thank you and hugs to Laura and Karen, who sent some serious mail love to the Aloha State yesterday. Laura RAK-ed me with this absolutely breathtaking and perfect Koigu KPPPM. Laura, I am so blown away by your generosity and kindness- thank you soo much!! I haven't been able to stop fondling this Koigu and the beautiful green colorway... oh, how it sings to me!! These are destined to become Elfines... someday, when I stop molesting the skeins, that is. And while I was lucky enough to be one of the winners in Karen's Show Your FO! KAL contest, what she sent was above and beyond anything I could have ever expected. Karen, thank you soo much for the gorgeous Trekking, Lush, Sock Landscape and the adorable tin of mints!! (There was also some yummy chocolate which never stood a chance against the 4:30 PMS craving.) Your generosity simply blows me away and I can't tell you how grateful I am for your kindness and thoughtfulness. Laura and Karen are among the sweetest people I know, so please be sure to hop on over and say hello!

Monday, February 13, 2006

my funny valentine

Observe my sleight of hand as I do my Sesame Street Mumford Ala-Peanut-Butter-Sandwiches routine to distract you from the fact that there is no knitting to be found here today. That's not to say that there isn't any knitting to be had. On the contrary, I've been knitting frantically to complete the sample project I'm doing for designer extraordinaire, Chrissy. Since the knitting is for one of her recently accepted designs (Yay!), all I'm allowed to tell you is that the project is a pair of socks. And that the pattern is very nice. Aah! Already, I feel that I've revealed too much. Any more and I fear that I may wake to find a severed horse's head in my bed tomorrow morning! Mum's definitely the word on this one, but I'm halfway through sock #2, so it shouldn't be too long before I can return to other projects on the needles. What other projects, you ask? Hmm... there may be a Ribby Cardi, Vittadini Lace/Ruffle Cardi or Twist Front Top in the works... stay tuned!

There's been a lot of controversy as of late about the posting of gifts on knit blogs. Having thought about the issue long and hard, I agree that gifts are best acknowledged with a heartfelt and private message of gratitude, but I also believe that it's okay... and desireable, even... to publicly post those gifts as an added gesture of thanks and gratitude. I would never post gifts to be exclusionary and say, "Hey! It's all about me! Mememe! Come check out my loot and be jealous that you didn't receive any because you're not part of my circle!" Rather, by sharing the gratitude I feel for someone's unexpected act of kindness, I hope that other bloggers will feel more inclined to reach out and meet people they may not have otherwise, thus always expanding the circle ever outward. I especially hold this sentiment in the case of RAK's, where the giver gifts without reason or expectation, which is such a pure and beautiful gesture. In the world we live in today, there can be no such thing as excessive gratitude, purity or beauty of spirit! In that spirit, I was so fortunate to receive two RAK's this past week- one from Jessica of NaturallyKnitty and the other from Danielle at Aswim In Knits. Jessica was so generous to send a set of handbeaded stitch markers and 2 sets of knitting note cards- so adorable! Jessica, your sweet note and gift made my day- thank you so much! Danielle compiled an incredible dye-your-own theme package with 3 skeins of gorgeous Colorado merino from WEBS, a set of instructions and enough kool-aid to dye the whole batch. She even enclosed dyeing gloves, a postcard and stickers for Bossy and Stinky! Thank you so much for your sweet handmade card and generous and wonderful pacakge, Danielle- I couldn't be more thrilled! Now, hop on over to Danielle and Jessica's blogs, tell them that Chris sent you and make a new friend! :-)

I leave you now with some Valentine's Day images from the Bits of Knits household. Note the cute little sprinkle faces that Bossy made! Yes, love is in the air, and it even flourishes occasionally between Bossy and Stinky!

Finally, do you remember what you received two years ago on Valentine's Day? Chocolate? Jewelry, perhaps? Two years ago, we received the most precious and memorable gift of all.... Yes, little Stinky turns "No!" today!! Here she is, hamming it up on her last day of being one. Happy Birthday, Stinky! And Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

ella, by any other name

Remember that pretty little laceweight Gossamer I mentioned in the last post? (Thank you, Allison!) Well, it gave birth to this pretty little number:
Ella Shawl
Knit Picks Gossamer, Caribbean Colorway
Size 7 Addi Turbo 24" circ
Started: 1/31/06; Completed 2/06/06
Modifications: 3 repeats of Chart 1, modified into triangle shaped shawl

Blocked Dimensions: 54" X 23"

Ella was a satisfying and painless knit. I wasn't sure how this shawl would knit up in a laceweight yarn, but overall, I'm pretty pleased with the result. Since the pattern is mostly stockinette, I thought it might work well with the variegation. I adore this colorway! It reminds me of the beautiful Lanikai Bay in Kailua at sunrise. Which, to me, might have been a more apt moniker, but I suppose that may have cost a wee bit more to print on the yarn ball band. When I first read this pattern, I had my doubts about the designer's claim of how speedy a knit Ella was- especially since the pattern was over 9 pages long! However, with two sick kids and still a completed Ella in a week's time, I can now attest to its speedy claim to fame. (BTW, for those misguided souls who have images of Hell as fire and brimstone, I'm fairly certain that a scenario with kids who aren't sick enough to be in any imminent danger, but sick enough to whine and whimper incessantly for 3 days straight is probably more accurate.) Although her blocked dimensions are just a tad smaller than Kiri's, Ella somehow seems a little more "sparse" as a shawl, though I'm not really sure why. In any case, Bossy enjoyed converting her into a poncho, and I'm kind of partial to the scarf look myself. Stinky wanted to make a cameo appearance, too, but the remnant cold boogers stuck to her face precluded her inclusion this time around.

The name "Ella" takes me back to my pregnancy with Stinky, when Mr. W and I were contemplating names for baby. Deciding on a name for your progeny is one of the more pleasant aspects of pregnancy and childbirth, as opposed to oh, episiotomy, for example. As with Bossy, we opted not to find out the sex of the baby, so we had to come up with possibilities for both genders. Ella was one of my preferred names for a girl, but that got shot down before Trimester One was even over. Mr. W said it sounded like a farm animal's name. Of course, farm animals are just what you want to be thinking about when the mere thought of drinking water makes you want to upchuck your cookies all over the sidewalk. Who the hell names their cow, "Ella" anyway? Then there was Emily... inspired by Ms. Bronte and Ms. Dickinson, I pictured a demure and gentle girl with a passionate and expressive soul. To Mr. W? A meek, mute pushover who gets her lunch stolen everyday in kindergarten. (Uhm, no, that would be me. Couldn't blame Ruben; my mom made some kick-butt bologna and cheese!) Then there was Analise, to which Mr. W countered, "What the hell kind of Japanese is named Analise?" Okay... I concede, he might've had a valid point there. Zoe got shot down for conjuring up images of a roller-skating ballerina monster with a pet rock as her best friend. Next in line was Aubrey, inspired by one of my favorite songs by Bread... "Aubrey?! What is that? The dyslexic version of Audrey?!" But my favorite, by far, was Laurel, symbol of virtue, sagacity and victory. What more could you hope for in a child? It was the perfect name, but count on Mr. W to find the loophole..."Laurel?!! Hello! Laurel and Hardy?!" *Sigh* I'm hoping that Bossy inherited his mama's sense of culture with that one functional X chromosome of his. Damn that useless Y!!

Monday, January 30, 2006

eye of the tiger

(Indulge my inner '80's child for a moment and insert forte syncopated synthesizer notes here)

Rising up, back on the street
Took my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I'm back on my feet
Just a knitter and her will to survive. . . eye of the tiger
Kiri Shawl
Knit Picks Shimmer in Happy Dance
Size 7 Addi Turbos, 24 "
Final dimensions: 60" by 30"
Successful attempt: 1/20/06- 1/30/06
Modifications: 11 repeats of Chart 2 instead of 12

After all the tribulation, I feel absolutely giddy to be ending the saga of Kiri on a high note! Watching that awkward, jumbled mass metamorphose into a delicate shawl during blocking was amazing. I am absolutely hooked!! More lace is definitely on the horizon. The only thing I'm not too thrilled about is the yellow pooling, but I suppose it adds some interesting character. I haven't much to complain about, though, as this was a one skein (read: $5!!) knit. Even better, this qualifies as another 3-fer KAL deal: What's Your Skein?, It's NOT a gift! and Show Your FO! Overall, I would say that I'm pretty pleased with Kiri and am even more pleased to finally be done with this shawl. She even gets a thumbs-up Fonzie "Aaayyy!"
By nature, I'm not a very competitive person, but having tasted the agony of defeat several times, finally finishing Kiri was especially sweet. Now, board games with my family however, are an entirely different issue. Bring it on, baby! Pictionary at our home is cut-throat, dog-eat-dog insanity. Once that sand hourglass runs out, boom, it's over. In the blink of an eye, you're being heckled by the masses, with tomatoes being pelted at your pathetic attempt of a drawing. Those "all-play" cards are the worst, with both teams going for the kill simultaneously, no holds barred.

This past Christmas, the six of us played, with The Mercenary and Fredo on my team. (Darn straight I made sure to pick the resident artist for my team! Cut-throat, remember?) Anyway, one of those notorious all-play cards came up and The Mercenary and Mom decided to tackle the beast head-to-head. Determined, they steeled themselves for the challenge as the hourglass was inverted. The Mercenary begin scribbling furiously. . . Fredo and I peered over her shoulder to see unmistakable pictures of flags. "Canada!" I yelled. "Japan!" Fredo chimed in. As Mexico and the UK joined the picture, it became clear that individual nations were not the intended answer. With The Mercenary gesturing wildly and circling all the flags, my train of thought turned. "Global!" I screamed. Nodding yes, yes so vehemently that I thought her head might break off, I tried again. "International?!" More maniacal head nodding. Then the unavoidable and desperate stream-of-consciousness spewage as the sand trickled faster. . . "Worldwide, transatlantic, Meridian line, equator!" Eyeing the last grains of sand, the Mercenary drew two distinct pictures separated by a plus sign, in one last desperate attempt. It was clear that the second picture was a tree. But the first? My face contorted as I took my best guess at the crude depiction before me as the hourglass stopped. . . . Ass-tree?! The Mercenary started laughing so hard I feared she might pee her pants, but Fredo and I had the last laugh when she finally managed to yell out, "Country!!"

Pretty offensive and crude, I know. I'm sorry if I offended anybody. Trust me, we're pretty straight-laced girls and it never occurs to us to even think that word, much less use it, which was made it all the funnier at the moment. And hey, if you're going to play Pictionary, you play to win!! Eye of the Tiger, baby!

And finally, I've been working on a little something in this pretty little number gifted to me by the lovely Allison over at Perknitious. I've been saving it for something special and I think I may have finally found the perfect knit for it. Keep your fingers crossed for me. . . I hope to have pictures to share by next week!