There is so much knitting to talk about I’m feeling kind of overwhelmed as to where to start. So I’ll start here: I LOVE THIS SWEATER!

I love everything about it! It’s the best fitting sweater I’ve ever knit. The yarn is fantastic. The pattern was a dream. And I so successfully challenged myself in the knitting of this sweater that I’m feeling just a wee bit invincible when it comes to future projects. (More on that in a future blog post!)

As I mentioned in my last post, Ravelry has become indispensable to me. It’s my go to late night browsing and somehow I came across this sweater, Acer by Amy Christoffers. (If it was your version that first came to my attention I apologize that I can’t remember!) Once I had settled on the pattern and the yarn, I started scouring the helpful notes that kind ravelers write and planned my attack. Basically, I decided to knit the sweater as written EXCEPT I wanted to try my hand at top down set-in sleeves. A few people had done it successfully and since the sleeves are stockinette it seemed like a good sweater to try it out on.

First I swatched. I’ve become a regular Clara Parkes! I knit three different swatches in this fabulous yarn on three different needle sizes. Kind of nice because I feel like I never have to swatch it again! Didn’t I mention the yarn? Oh my god – Madelinetosh Vintage. Best.Sweater.Yarn.Ever! (In fact, I’ve already knit another sweater in this yarn and it was just as fabulous. I have a still have a sweater’s worth in the stash and may have to go for another really soon!)

After all the swatching, I decided on size 6s, which gave me a gauge of 21 sts / 32 rows to the 4″. The pattern calls for 20 sts / 28 rows so after doing some calculations, I settled on the size 38 to give me a 36.5″, which gave me just the right amount of positive ease the pattern called for! YAY! Time to knit!

Super enjoyable knit. The fronts and the back are all knit in one piece to the armholes and it went extremely quickly. The cable/lace pattern is easy to memorize and just the right amount of complex that you don’t get bored, but aren’t mucking things up all the time. Things got really interesting after I split for the armholes. I opted to put the underarm stitches on holders instead of binding off and I made sure to pay really close attention to the number of rows I knit so I could duplicate it on both fronts and back. Usually I knit the sleeves at the same time and the fronts at the same time, so I was a bit paranoid about keeping things the same. It was a good thing I did because I had exact numbers at the ready when it came time to start doing the top down math for the sleeves.

Ah, the sleeves. The beautiful, gorgeous, magnificent sleeves! They almost killed me and my kids. I swear I did the first sleeve three times before I finally got it gloriously right! The idea of top down set in sleeves, loosely put, is that you pick up around the armhole and divide the stitches into three sections. The top third is the sleeve cap and you knit across that back and forth while implementing short rows on each stitch, one by one, after that section until you’ve knit short rows all the way around the armhole. Then you start knitting in the round and continue on until the sleeve is done. If you search top down set-in sleeves you will get a million hits on how to do this. I also HIGHLY recommend Barbara Walker’s Knitting From The Top. So my first noticeable problem was my short row technique. I must have searched on a thousand different ways to short row and watched countless youtube videos and still they looked awful – especially on the purl side. Blech. And then I hit upon Socktopus’ INGENIOUS short row technique: THE SHADOW WRAP! This is by far the best short row technique I’ve ever found. Really. You have to see it to believe it. And it’s so damn easy too. Run. Go. I’ll wait.

Fantastic right? Unbelievable! Okay – now that I had the short rows conquered and they looked beautiful I set about knitting the sleeve cap. The only thing was that I kind of winged the how many stitches do you pick up part. Without really paying much attention I thought okay – I usually pick up 3 out of 4 rows when doing a buttonband that should work no? NO. WRONG. DUH. I knit the whole damn cap picking up three times as many stitches as I needed (that’s A LOT of short rows people!) and the cap came out a puffy puckery mess. (See this crappy cell phone picture here.) I hit the books.

After a gazillion more web sites and a dozen youtube videos I went back to the source – Barbara Walker. To quote:

Count the rows on the side armhole edge up the back or front, from underarm to shoulder…. Half of the remaining sleeve stitches (after subtraction of the underarm) must be picked up evenly from this number of rows, on each side, front and back. It may come out to 2 stitches picked up from every 3 rows, or 1 stitch every other row, or 4 stitches from every 5 rows, or some other proportion. Get this calculation right, and comfort yourself with the thought that it is the only calculation you will have to make.

Guess what? She is so smart! I counted my rows and came up with 32 stitches on each side that needed to be picked up. That ended up to be every other stitch – not the 3 out 4 I originally started with. BIG difference. I knit with confidence because Barbara said I should and voila! I knit the most beautiful sleeve cap EVER!

Gorgeous, no?!? Once I did the first the second was a snap and before I knew it I was laying out the sweater to dry after a nice soak. I’ll be honest and tell you that I was nervous – nervous it was going to be too small, but I crossed my fingers and hoped that my swatch didn’t lie and I was rewarded nicely!

Slightly saggy boobs aside (I swear I’m wearing the good bra!), trust me when I say this sweater fits like a dream! The swatch didn’t lie and with the help of some knit geniuses, I have one of my most successful knits to date! THANK YOU Amy, Barbara, Soctopus, Madelinetosh and all those intrepid ravelers who took the time to share their notes. THANK YOU THANK YOU!

And thank YOU for reading! I really appreciate it!
L, C

PS – Next up: another finished sweater (I’m on a roll!), more crazy swatching and a (fingers-crossed) finished double-knit cowl! WHOA!


Okay. G has the girls outside on this beautiful day. Let’s do this!

The other day Ann was about to blog and she told me she was tongue tied and I said just blog the knits. I’m taking my own advice. It’s not that I don’t have a lot to say, it’s the opposite – I’m not sure I could reign it all in or be in anyway coherent if I don’t have a straight forward agenda. The perils of living with an almost 4 and 18 month old – I don’t talk to many adults.

Which is a good segue to my first topic: Ravelry. I have been pretty outspoken in the past about Ravelry – I do think it had a large impact on knitblogging – and not in the best way. And I find the whole forum thing pretty scary and not at all necessary. (I was on a few infertility forums a long time ago and I don’t care who you are and what you have to say those things get nasty fast.) But I have completely embraced Ravelry when it comes to pattern support. I only have to knit the sleeves on my third sweater in the past four months and they have all been relatively wonderful knits in no small part to all the notes and comments made about the sweaters on Ravelry. That searching by helpful notes? FANTASTIC. It’s like having your own old fashioned knit-a-long right there at your fingertips for just about any project you can imagine. I’m sure most of you already know this, but I felt like I had to go on the record since in the past I’ve been kind of negative about the site. Consider me slapped on the head.

For instance, there’s no way I would’ve knit Aidez without the help of Ravelry. And I certainly wouldn’t have knit it in Quince & Company Osprey, that’s for certain! Oh my god I LOVE this yarn!

It’s light and soft and bulky but not too bulky and so comfortable to wear. Great colors – in fact I just ordered a ton of their Chickadee (sport weight) for a fair isle sweater I’m planning. I would make a million sweaters with this yarn if I could. While I had heard of the yarn, it was the Aidez’s I saw on Ravelry that used it that convinced me to try. I’m so glad I did.

Got the yarn and swatched! I’ve become such a swatcher – who knew? It’s easy and you get to play with the yarn and figure out how your fabric is going to feel and then you can have confidence in your numbers! WIN WIN! Again, I know, you already know this but I feel like I have to share. My gauge was pretty off but I crunched all the numbers and ended up with the 40″ size which was supposed to give me the ease I wanted given what other knitters had said. I’d say I’m just shy of a 36″ bust these days.

I knit the sleeves first and they went super fast. Knit the fronts, again super quick then cast on for the back. I decided immediately to change up the cables as they were written. I swapped out the Right and Left Cross-Cables, which I found to be really loosey goosey, for the Ear of Corn cable. Also, I felt like this substitution gave the back a symmetry with the fronts since as written there are no matching cables on the fronts and the back.

The sweater all came together really really fast. God Bless 10.5s! (Although I don’t think I could knit with them all the time. The bigger the needle the more my hands hurt after knitting awhile.) I actually got to wear the sweater to Rhinebeck! A Rhinebeck sweater! Can’t remember the last time that happened.

As much as I loved knitting this sweater, loved the yarn and have honestly become a little bit obsessed with it (ask Ann!), I feel like the pattern is inherently flawed. One of the things that disappoints me about this sweater is that the sizing is WAY off. If you look through Ravelry and if happened to see the many Aidezs I saw at Rhinebeck – and I talked to a few knitters about this – is that the sweater hangs way too far open for my tastes. Even though I added maybe 4″ of ease to the sweater, it doesn’t hang close over my boobs. I want the sweater to hang close over my boobs. I’ve come to believe that the cables pull in so much that there’s no way the sweater has a chance – unless you do what many others have done and knit different size fronts than backs. For instance, if I were to knit this sweater again, I’d definitely knit at least the 44″ fronts and the 40″ back. That’s kind of ridiculous isn’t it?

I would love to knit this again, in the Osprey. I absolutely LOVE the idea of the construction of this sweater. The fact that you knit the buttonbands as you go and then extend them beyond the fronts to create the collar is fantastic! I love the look of the sweater – if it closed a bit more. And I really like the combination of sweater and yarn. When and if I knit it again I will be swatching extensively to be sure that I have enough stitches/cables to make the thing hang closer.

Raved here.

All in all a satisfying project because knitting it gave me the confidence to go on to my next sweater. A sweater that is possibly the best thing I’ve ever knit. I’ll tell you about it next time! Thanks for reading!

PS – don’t you just love my model?! She was a gift to me from Ann and she’s just about my measurements. A very happy coincidence and I love her.

For Auld Lang Syne

Happy New Year!

Since I last checked in here, I’ve done a ton of knitting! I knit ten squares of my Spectrum Crosses blanket, then school let out for summer vacation and I lost my knitting mojo. But then it turned to Fall and I actually managed to knit a whole sweater in time for Rhinebeck! Granted it was in a bulky yarn on size 10s, but still, A WHOLE SWEATER! Complete. With sleeves and everything! And when I was done that I knit ANOTHER whole sweater. This one on size 6 needles with all kinds of new to me tricks. This sweater, honestly, elevated my knitting to higher heights. It gave me so much confidence that I started yet ANOTHER sweater which I’m currently about 1/3 of the way through. LOVING THE KNITTING!

Which brings me to the blog because honestly I don’t have many people to talk to about my knitting. And the people I do have are sick to death of me. So I’m giving you a sneak peak of my sweaters and a super cute picture of my girls and then I’m coming back to talk about all the knitting. I hope one or two of you are still out there!

I know it’s been awhile, but I hope you’re all doing great and looking forward to the new year. I feel like it’s gonna be a good one!

Spectrum Crosses

May marks the start of a new Project Spectrum, a create-a-long near and dear to my heart. It also happens to be the absolutely perfect time to talk about my new blanket project which I finally started after planning it forever!

I’ve renamed my Mitered Crosses Blanket project SPECTRUM CROSSES, in honor of Project Spectrum. I have been busy gathering yarns and mixing and matching colors for weeks and it’s all together. I started my first square the other day and I’m off to a wonderful start.

My plan uses almost all of the Tahki Cotton Classic leftovers from Miter Madness, plus a few new colors that I had in the stash and didn’t use the first time and some new colors I bought to round out my color choices. Each square will have a different color for each miter/arm of the cross and all the colors in a square will be similar to each other.

There will be 25 squares in all and 23 of those squares will be the colors of the rainbow starting with all pinks and ending with some vibrant red violets. The two remaining squares will each be ROY G BIV. The blanket will “start” at the lower left corner with a square featuring a bright red, orange, yellow and green. The blanket will then move in the colors of the rainbow row to row until the final square, located at the top right corner, which will be made up of a bright blue, indigo, violet and red violet.

In order to mix things up a bit, I’ve put each grouping of four in a baggie and I’ve thrown all of the baggies in a green trash bag. I’m having Meli reach in and pick out a new one for each square. She loves helping with the knitting, and this way I’m surprised by each new color choice.

So far I’ve finished one square and am almost finished the second. And Meli has already chosen the colors for the third square. I’m absolutely loving how they’re coming out.

This is the beginning of the first square, along with a book that Lolly recommended on the Project Spectrum Facebook page. The book is called Color: A Natural History of the Palette and I thought it would be a fantastic companion to the blanket.

In the put on the back burner but in no way forgotten category, I finished all of the knitting and seaming on the Miter Madness project!

There are still a bunch of ends that need to be woven in and it needs a good steam block, not to mention a fantastic photoshoot worthy of such a project. I’m not sure when that’s happening. I needed a rest after all that hard work. It will happen and it won’t take another three years. Trust me when I say it’s fabulous. The black border came out better than I ever could have hoped and is the perfect frame for the squares.

Of course, I had hoped to be blogging more regularly, but life around here has been kind of crazy – literally – thanks to a nice round of postpartum anxiety/ocd. Things are finally getting back on track and I have high hopes for blogging lots of squares and lots of color in the near future.

Thank you, as always, for reading. I’m so happy this community is still so strong.

Happy Project Spectrum!!!
L, C

Two Great Tastes that Taste Great Together

Ever since I started working on seaming my mitered blanket, I’ve been dreaming about the next blanket that I’m going to make with all the leftover Tahki Cotton Classic I have. It has to be something that will utilize A LOT of color – after all – I used 85 different colors in the mitered blanket and I have leftovers of everything, not to mention a bunch of colors that I never used at all!

I’ve always known I was going to do a much more structured blanket – at least colorwise. My fantasies have always been about a blanket that is laid out in the ROY G. BIV rainbow and has always had some kind of play on close color tones that sit next to each other.

And after seeing a few quilts out in the Internets, both knitted and sewn, I knew that the background palette for all the color would be an off white.

At first I was seduced by hexagons – lots and lots and lots of hexagons. My idea was to do a pair of colors – two blues or two reds or two oranges – just a bit off from each other – and then surround them in white. I started knitting it a few different ways but never loved it and I was too involved in all that seaming to really commit.

Then I saw a gorgeous Log Cabin blocks by Julie and the hexagon blanket was suddenly dead to me! I would do four sides in different colors – again all similar in color but off in tone – and then frame them in white! Perfect! Once again, there was a lot of planning involved and I was still deep in the seaming madness of the miters and I didn’t fully commit.

Then Kay, my guru in all things quilt-like and knit, posted about this fabric log cabin cross quilt and how she was going to turn it into a knit blanket and it was like being hit in the face – in a good way! I was completely entranced. I had to knit this – it was PERFECT for what I wanted to do! Each “arm” of the cross would be in a different yet similar color and the background would be white and I would do each block in it’s own ROY G. BIV fabulousness and WHAM! There it was.

How to knit it though. I preordered the book figuring by the time I would have it in hand I might be closer to starting to knit (still a TON of seaming to do!) But this blanket would NOT shake me and after a couple of comments to Kay about being super psyched to knit this, I couldn’t contain myself anymore and called to beg for the pattern. How happy am I that I did!

Kay has released The Mitered Crosses Blanket pattern just today! The pattern by itself is fabulous, but to make it extra fantastic, all proceeds from the sale will go to help Japan as they recover from the earthquake and tsunami.

Now, I know my talents and my limits and while I can put colors together like nobody’s business, I don’t have the skills to figure out how to knit shapes and put them together and construct them and make them fit like they were meant to be. But Kay does. I’d like to think that my part in all of this was to say how do I knit this and then her brain took off and knit it!

I was lucky enough to knit a block along with Kay and it’s just a flawless pattern. Miters are knit on to each other (no seams!!) and then you log cabin a frame and it’s beyond perfect for what I want to do with my left over yarn. Beyond perfect. What could possibly be better than miters AND log cabin?! It’s the Reese”s Peanut Butter Cup of knitting! As you can see in the square above, I’ll be using four similar colors for the cross, framed by linen white.

The fun part now is to go through all the colors and put them together in groups of four. There may or may not be some other rules – like the last miter in one square will be the first miter in the next square. Not sure I want to repeat any colors though. I will definitely be supplementing my colors – there are not enough yellows or oranges or reds. I’m thinking it will be a twenty block blanket – at least two blocks for each ROY G. BIV color with some neutrals thrown in as well (a block of browns in between the reds and oranges and maybe a block of grays after the violets.) They will be laid out in rainbow order as well.

Hopefully soon I’ll get some time to go through the yarn and organize it and try to figure out some color numbers and such. My test block is almost perfect – once I was finished I decided I needed to reknit it on 5s instead of 6s and I think I’m going to be much happier. I’m going to love planning this, knitting this, finishing this – everything about it! And it fits perfectly into the knitting I’m able to do right now – small, portable – perfect for what will most likely be a long summer.

I’m still working on the mitered blanket! I have one strip completely seamed and I’m working on the next row:

The picture does not do this blanket justice. Even with only one strip done, I can’t believe how gorgeous it’s going to be! And big. Very, very big.

I’m sad it’s been over a month since I blogged last. Life has been kicking my ass. Sleep deprivation (no, my kids still don’t sleep through the night and yes, my oldest just turned 3!) is killing me and my anxiety lately has been in overdrive. I’m taking steps to get them to sleep – especially the 3 yr old – and things are looking promising. But I still feel pretty lousy. It just invades your life in ways you wouldn’t expect. Pushes all my buttons. And today our computer died. Just as I was about to start processing a new job. Fun times. At least now I’ll have plenty of time to knit.

Exercise in Futility

Yesterday was supposed to be my relaxation day.

We had one of those weekends that changes your life forever, and not in the good way. Oh yeah eventually, hopefully, it will be one of those funny stories we tell about how the police and paramedics came and mommy was in her t-shirt and underpants the whole time, but for now it’s still terrifying for G and I.

The baby started getting stuffy and was up all night Saturday night and I was dealing with her when Meli woke up around 3 or 4 AM as per her usual. I handed the baby off to G and went in to check on Meli and immediately noticed she was really hot. So I took her into our bed and tried to take her temperature. About 5 or so I succeeded and she did indeed have a bit of a fever, so we somehow got her to take some medicine and we all went back to sleep.

When we woke up, Meli was still hot – in fact a bit hotter. I took her temp again and it was a degree higher, but it wasn’t time to give her more medicine and she was in pretty good spirits, so we were all just lazing around in bed watching cartoons and relaxing. Meli rolled over as if to go back to sleep and G was laying next to her when he noticed she was doing something funny with her eyes. He told her to stop and then realized something was really wrong and called me over. I looked at her and we both started into a panic. Her eyes were very fixed and open and her eyebrows were going up and down rapidly and then the whole foaming at the mouth started. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew she was most likely having a seizure from the fever, but it was still so completely horrifying. I told G to call 911 and in the few minutes that it took for the paramedics to get to us, the seizure had stopped and she was groggy and awake. The whole thing lasted about three minutes. Three excruciatingly harrowing minutes.

The paramedics told us that it was probably a febrile seizure, but we went to the ER just to be sure, where they told us the same thing. She had a fever of 104 when they took it at the hospital. We stayed until her temp came down a bit and then went home and preceded to stare at her for the next 24 hours. A visit to our pediatrician the next day confirmed everything and she’s been fever free for over 24 hrs now. Apparently febrile seizures are fairly common and while horrific to witness, they don’t do any damage. The way the paramedic described it to us is that when a fever spikes really high, the body will sometimes convulse as a way of breaking the fever. Meli has no history of anything like this – in fact – aside from a runny nose every now and again, she’s had like one ear infection her whole life. She’s rarely sick. The good news is that it didn’t hurt her and that she might never have one again. The bad news is that she COULD have one again and also the baby is now at a greater risk to have them because it tends to run in families. We keep telling ourselves that it didn’t hurt her and everyone and everything says it’s not a big deal but it was just so scary that it’s hard to believe. We’re trying, but it’s going to take awhile to get over this. (For us – Meli’s back to her old singing and dancing the day away self.)

Oh and did I mention this was the weekend she decided to potty train herself? Surprisingly the trauma of the ambulance ride and the hospital visit didn’t derail our progress.

The baby still has a cold too.

With all this going on, I’m not sure the last time I really and truly slept or relaxed and my mind really needed a break, so when our babysitter came for the day on Tuesday I thought I’d delve into a project I had been thinking about for a while.

As you all know, I’m working the miter project and it’s going pretty slow these days. I think I’ve managed to seam one more square since the last time I blogged which is killing me, but I did manage to order a bunch of yarn.

What you see there is the present and the future. The black yarn (Tahki Cotton Classic) will be the border for the mitered blanket (I’ll also use it for seaming all the seamed squares together) and the linen white TCC will be a blanket to be named later.

I’ve been thinking a lot about a new blanket using the leftovers of the miter project. I’ve had a few ideas going around and around in my head and I’ve seen a few quilts that have inspired me lately (I’m looking at you JulieFrick!). At first I was thinking knitted hexagons but now I’m squarely in the log cabin camp. I’m not sure what it’s going to be so I’m not going to say much more, but I have been wanting to organize the leftover yarn so I can easily tell what I have, what I want more of, and what I’m missing. To this end, I contacted the wonderful Kathy at WEBS and asked if she knew if I could purchase color cards for TCC from Tahki. I figured this would be the easiest way to catalog all the yarn I have and identify something. Surprisingly, Tahki doesn’t have color cards. Color me shocked, but that was the message given to Kathy. Oh well. Too late to change yarns so I went to Plan B.

I gathered up all the TCC yarn I have: little bits and pieces, half used balls and unwound hanks. I took out the spreadsheets with color numbers I put together back when I started the project and the color card scans I printed off the internet that I found on Yarndex. I had the internet open to anyone and everyone that sells TCC and set about matching the yarn in my hand to a number. After about three hours I had this:

Sixteen freaking colors. And about a third of them were easy because I had extra skeins still wrapped up in the ball band with the color clearly stated. The others were a pain in the ass. The scans don’t match the yarn which doesn’t match the internet and this green looks like that green and is that a yellow or a brown and I used 85 colors in the damn blanket. You can imagine the frustration. While I’m proud of the color card I made, that’s it. I will start planning my new blanket and will determine a yarn color number when and if I need it. While it would be nice to have them all labeled, I don’t have the patience or the time for this. It really sucks that Tahki couldn’t provide color cards. And it also sucks that I wasted what was supposed to be a relaxing afternoon. I knew it would be a project, but I really thought I would make more progress. I should’ve just seamed more squares. Would’ve been a whole lot more satisfying.

Suffice it to say, it’s been a trying few days. Thanks for letting me vent. I’m going to leave you with a short video of the baby laughing her ass off. I had her at hello!

Laugh Riot! from January One on Vimeo.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully my next post will be th
at I’ve finished seaming all the squares and I’m ready to seam them all together. And hopefully I’ll be blogging sometime next week! I want this blanket DONE.

L, C

Are you ready for some MADNESS?

By the time you read this, I will have seamed 15 of the 30 squares and the rest of the miters will be blocking. Yes, my friends, the miter madness continues! I have had complete project monogamy with this – the miters have taken hold all over again. Even though I have a million projects on the needles and I’d like to be knitting all of them all the time, the squares are what pull me in. I feel like I’m cheating if I even look at the knitting. Honestly, my time for any of it is so limited and the squares are easy and give me such satisfaction and I can taste the finish, even though it’s a LONG way off.

It took me more than ten hours over three days to seam the first square. I must have ripped and restarted like 25 times. The second square took half that time and now, if I had an uninterrupted hour, I bet I could do all four seams without any issues. I finally figured out the formula, so to speak, in lining up the stripes.

I’m constantly surprised at how satisfying this phase of the project has been. If I had known how much I’d enjoy weaving in ends and seaming I wouldn’t have waited three years to get started. It’s been the perfect project. Firstly, I took all the thinking out of it. I’m seaming the squares in the order I knit them and I’m seaming them exactly the way they look in this picture. No thinking allowed. It’s like I’m one of those color people – you know – when the cartoonist does the outline and someone else just colors in by the numbers? What’s so great about it is that my mind is freed up to think about other projects and daydream. And, when I’m too tired to even do that, I just know my job and I do it.

Undoubtedly, the absolute best part of the project – always the best part of the project – is all the color. Especially given that there is still about 36″ of snow in my front yard. This winter has been dreary and gray and we’re constantly being forced to stay home because of the weather, but every day I get a little pop of fun color to keep me company. And it’s always changing. The pile of seamed squares keeps growing and I’m consistently pleased by the choices I made so long ago. So far there’s only been one square that I’m sort of eh about, but I’m not changing anything. It was a completely different person that started this project and she made choices that were inspired at the time. The me I am now refuses to get in the way of that vision.

Tomorrow I will pick up all the blocking squares and dive into the remainder pile to match up the yarns with the squares for seaming. I’ve got my 60″ circular needle winging it way through the mail to me as we speak and I’m ready to order the dozen or so skeins of black Takhi Cotton Classic I’ll be using for the border and the general seaming. I’m so happy with this project and I can’t wait to get back to work on it. I want it to be finished so badly because I’m so excited to have it finished and I keep imagining how wonderful it will be to see my girls all wrapped up in its explosion of color. And at the same time I will be so sad to have it end. Fortunately, I guess, that end is still a long ways off.

Thanks for reading!

Still Crazy After All These Years

So best intentions and all that. My plan was to blog a couple times a week. It’s looking like once will be more like it, if that. But hey – it was MONTHS between my last couple of posts, so a couple of weeks isn’t so bad at all.

Let me bring you up to date on the girls – I didn’t do that last time – and they are, after all, the reason I’m not here. My baby girl turned SEVEN months old last Saturday. Seven months. The first three just about killed me and the second three were only marginally better, but the last month (actually last two) have been a lot of fun! She finally stopped puking every 3.4 seconds around the fifth month and has pretty much tapered off to nothing now. She was what our doctor called a happy puker because it didn’t affect her weight and she would spew with this giant smile on her face, so she wasn’t in any pain. Therefore, we didn’t do anything about it – just lived with puke everywhere. I got really good at catching it all in my hand though. #skillsyouneverthoughtyoudhaveorneed #sorry #iloveagoodhashtag

She stopped puking and instantly cut a tooth which took me completely by surprise! Meli didn’t get teeth until she was nine months old and this little one already has two! She was sitting up on her own by five months (never ever liked being on her back – would try to do situps the minute she was on there) and has been bouncing around ever since. The child does not sit still. On her month birthday last Saturday we gave her her first rice cereal (I hate feeding my kids – such a mess and a fuss and I wish I could nurse them forever – hence the late-ish start on solids.) Almost immediately after she started crawling. Here’s a little video of her taken yesterday:

On the Move from January One on Vimeo.

And today we started music class! I forgot how much fun things can be when you only have one child with you (Meli is staying at home with the babysitter) and that child can’t talk back to you! It was heavenly! We both had so much fun!

Meli is… Meli. She turns, if you can believe it, three in the next couple of months and I love the child to death but she can be very challenging sometimes. She’s smart as a whip and has an incredible imagination. Also, stubborn and fearful and stubborn. She’s the best and worst of both G and I and I can’t believe how old she is. She’s doing great in school after a bumpy start and she’s maturing everyday. Currently she loves all things princess, dinosaur, fairy, Scooby Doo and the Sound of Music. No lie, she has the entire score memorized and will correct you if you dare sing a note wrong. Best of all she loves her baby sister and her baby sister ADORES her. It’s amazing to see how Cali looks at Meli. Chanukah and Christmas were a marked improvement over Thanksgiving. It really was a great holiday season. Here are the pictures of the girls we used on our holiday card:

G is doing well, too. His hip is almost fully healed and while things aren’t perfect they are amazingly better.

And me, while, I’m still crazy. But you all knew that.

Let’s get to the knits, shall we? I wanted to catch up on the kids really for me since I blogged so much of Meli’s babyhood and barely any of Cali’s. But I also want to get back to basics and talk about knitting.

I’ve got a couple of finished projects that I actually – wait for it – logged into Ravelry! GASP!! I know. I haven’t been the biggest supporter of Ravelry, but maybe that’s about to change. Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s absolutely indispensable when it comes to pattern searching and keeping track of your own stuff, especially if you’re blogless. It was always the social thing I objected to. Do we really need another train wreck message board? Maybe I spent too much time on them when I was dealing with infertility. I just think those things always end badly. (Oh and I was thrilled to see that you can upload your pictures from anywhere – not just Flickr. That’s how long it’s been for me and Ravelry!) Anyway – KNITS. Here’s one that I absolutely LOVE:

It’s the Tuesday Night Cowl by Susan Lawrence. Really, once I saw this on Vicki’s blog it was a no brainer! Then seeing Lolly’s gorgeous version and her spectacular knit-portrait, well, how could I not knit this?!? I called my favorite yarn shop owner and said yo! What do you have in bulky? She recommended some Tosh Bulky in Composition Book Grey and the rest is history.

The yarn was really nice to work with – soft and not too bulky and it wears really nice next to my skin. The color is a gorgeous purpley grey. I don’t think it’s a real yarn yet in the Madelinetosh line – or at least not something they carry all the time? I don’t know, but I will say this – if you can manage to find a best friend that also owns a yarn store? Well, then, you’ve won the best friend lottery!

The whole cowl idea kind of hit me over the head too. I hate scarves – I don’t like wearing them. I abhor knitting them. But a cowl? I wear the fleece ones all the time in the winter. Why did I never realize that I could knit a beautiful cowl out of gorgeous yarn and that I would LOVE wearing it? DUH. Seriously. Double duh. I want to make a million of them now. In fact, I knit a modified version of the cowl into an earwarmer/headband type thing because I don’t wear or like knitting hats but will wear something over my ears. It didn’t come out as nice as I wanted it to – I think the abbreviated cables I used lost something in the translation. The TNC has such elegant folds and this just doesn’t. But it’s warm and on super cold days I’ll wear it. I’ve been looking for other headband/earwarmer patterns because I have yarn left over. The cowl only took maybe 1.5 skeins? And t
he earwarmer only used a bit more of a third skein. I’ll let you know how it goes. Here’s a picture of the set:

See how it doesn’t really fold so nice? Oh well. I tried.

The next little potato chip project was the Mini Sweater Ornament from Greens and Jeans.

I have now almost indulged all of my fantasies by having a Christmas Tree in our house this year. I used to always hang lights in the apartment and last year, our first in the house, I didn’t do anything and it was the worst holiday season ever. So this year I decided to go whole hog!

This little sweater was the perfect back into knitting project. I have so many little balls of sock yarn laying around I just picked up one that was bright and pink (I’m fairly certain this is the Hot Flash colorway) and started knitting. The pattern is super easy and only a bit fiddly (because of the size of the sweater and the small needles and stuff NOT the pattern) and next thing I knew I had a mini sweater to hang on the tree. DISCLAIMER – I didn’t actually hang it on the tree because I only got around to weaving in the ends to take a picture. I immediately dismantled the tree after taking said picture. But seriously, I could knit a million of these. I think I will next winter. Maybe one a year until my tree is full. I have that much such yarn scrapage.

There are my two projects! I will knit more cowls, that’s for sure. And more mini sweaters. But in the meantime I haven’t been knitting at all. I’ve been sewing up squares. So far I have just about five done. The first one took me like 10 hours and 20 tries. The next one about five hours and 10 tries. Now, if I was alone in a room I could probably do all four sides in about an hour. Therefore it takes me like three days to do one square. BUT! I’m getting them done. I really love seeing all the colors and finding the little balls of yarn to use to sew them up and thinking about it being finished and wrapping my babies in the blanket – hell – the WHOLE FAMILY it will be that big! I’m excited! I’ve got half the squares blocked and hope to get a little farther in my seaming before I block the rest. I’m doing each four miter square in the order that I knit them. Just a little more crazy to add to the mix.

I cannot finish talking about knitting without showing you a picture of my babysitter’s FANTASTIC garter stitch scarf!!!

I told you all how we found this great babysitter, who the entire family LOVES and how I taught her to knit and now she loves me just as much as I love her? Here’s her first project! For the longest time she wouldn’t bring it over and honestly I started to doubt she was really knitting even when she said she was but I see now that we have another perfectionist in our midst. Look at those even stitches!! I squealed when she wore it over and she was so damn proud and told me how she hoped that people would ask about it when she wears it so she can tell them she knit it herself and I feel like I got my wings a little bit that day because I taught her how to knit and now she loves it and I’m back to loving it and the world is a beautiful thing when you can knit. Okay. I’m done.

This is now officially an epic post! Hope you’ve liked my ramblings! Thanks for reading! And thanks again for all the well wishes and support and here’s to a fantastic ’11!
L, C

Creative Desperation

I’ve been thinking about blogging again for a while now and this post isn’t going to be what I’ve dreamed about, but it will be significant for me. Firstly, because I’m blogging. Period. It’s been a long while but I couldn’t let this day go by without blogging and secondly and most importantly because I have something to say. It might not be very important what I’d like to say but I feel the need to say it and that’s pretty significant in my life these days. To feel something pushing me – something that doesn’t have snot running out of its nose, or poop in its diaper or a hungry belly or a stubborn streak as long as the earth is wide – is really really nice and I’m not going to let the opportunity slip.

About a month ago I was feeling like I had lost all my talents, and on twitter I lamented that fact then questioned whether or not I actually had talents when they could be lost so easily. Yes, I was feeling sorry for myself. I had barely done any photography work for the holiday season, but the work I did do came with problems and frustrations. I wasn’t knitting at all and I was missing it desperately. Basically I was being a mommy day and night and complaining about the fact that I didn’t have any other kind of life.

I was also feeling a little jealous. Vicki posted about her magnificent Parcheesi blanket and topped the gorgeous knitting off with a fantastic photoshoot and even though I love her desperately, I was hating on her a little too. I used to knit gorgeous blankets and photograph them in fantastic ways. I called Vicki to let her know just how much I loved her work and how she was inspiring me to get gorgeous and fantastic back into my own life. She reminded me of my little girls and her big girls and yes, yes, I know I don’t have time to breathe let alone knit big huge blankets, but still I want that in my life. I need that in my life.

Then I sent my pity party tweet out into the universe and something quite inspiring came back. Sara aka ChickenBetty read my tweet and suggested back to me that losing my talents wasn’t something to mourn, per say, but an opportunity. To quote her, “But doesn’t that turn it into a treasure hunt to find them again?”


I didn’t tell her this and I’m sorry for that and right now I’m telling her – Sara – you kicked my ass with that one! I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of finding my lost talents. At first it bugged me a little bit – I wasn’t looking for someone to tell me to work at my talents – they’re either there or they’re not – but maybe Sara was right. They didn’t go anywhere they just need prodding. I took her advice to heart and started searching.

It wasn’t that day but soon after I went into the basement and found the box marked Miter Project and took that sucker out and pulled it up into the light of day. Since that admonition to get off my ass and GRAB BACK MY TALENTS I have successfully woven in 484 ends on 120 miters. (That’s four per square – with two squares having two extra ends each.) I have also started the arduous journey of blocking the miters and I have one ready to seam as we speak. AND, in all this frenzy, I’ve been looking at all the leftover yarn (figured I’d use it to seam) and a new blanket idea has jumped out at me and won’t let my brain go. If it is what I hope it is, it might take me another three years. But that’s okay.

In this past month, I also knit a small sweater ornament out of leftover sock yarn, a gorgeous cowl (also inspired by Vicki) and a headband to match the cowl. I’m sort of consciously choosing projects that are small – or at least you can feel like you’re accomplishing much in a short period of time. For instance, a small sweater ornament takes no time. A cowl using bulky wool can feel like a mighty accomplishment when you don’t have much time to knit and miters, well, it turns out miters are addictive no matter what you do with them – even weaving in ends.

More inspiration in my life: I found a fantastic babysitter. Not only is she great with my kids, but I taught her how to knit! She’s a natural and even went and signed up for a ravelry account all on her own, thank you very much. She’s been inspiring my with her enthusiasm and having her here a few hours a day a couple days a week frees me up to spend some time on my own. FREEDOM = TIME = CREATIVITY.

It’s all been really really good. Finding these talents is like finding myself all over again. It’s also an exercise in patience because obviously sometimes I can spend a lot of time and sometimes I get no time but I have it in my head and I don’t have to let it go or push it aside. I can nurture it a little bit each day so it can grow and grow and grow. Just like knitting.

I want to end on a note about blogging. I’m planning on being her much more often – hopefully on a regular-ish schedule of a couple of times a week. I’ve been spending a lot of time here lately looking over my Miter Madness archives and not only do I miss writing, but it feels disingenuous of me to continue the miter project WITHOUT blogging about it. I blogged that whole damn thing – every single square – and I’m not about to stop now. So I hope you’ll look out for me and my projects if you have the time. And I hope I can inspire someone just a little bit like Vicki and Sara have inspired me. Thank you so much!

Happy New Year! Happy JANUARY ONE!
L, C

The 21st Century

This marks the 999th entry on this blog.

And to celebrate that and the upcoming demise of Bloglines, I’ve decided to join the 21st Century.

I have started a Facebook page and a Twitter account for January One. They will be fairly redundant, so if you hate Facebook and love Twitter, or vice versa, you will be covered.

Follow january_one on Twitter


I’m not taking down the blog, but my time here will be severely limited. If you’re still reading you already know that. Both Facebook and Twitter are platforms I can easily access with my phone, so the easier the better. I’m eager to regain a connection to a community I can call my own. I hope you’ll join me on this next adventure.

Oh and dear God I pray there’s knitting.

Thank you!