Fibre Arts

Early this afternoon, just as I was putting The Baby down to sleep, it began to rain. The thunder rolled continuously in the distance and as I came back downstairs, it began to rain harder. I stood for a minute, looking out the kitchen window at my gardens. I had planned to work in the gardens while he slept. I am definitely not made of sugar and I have been known to garden in the rain – even the pouring rain – but generally, it is considered a reasonable choice to not garden in the pouring rain. And that is the choice I made. So what should I do with my time?

I’ve got some new (to me) dining room furniture and so I could easily fill up nap time by cleaning glass and moving dishes and crystal. I’m behind on the laundry (as usual), so spending a couple hours catching up there would be time well spent. There are always dishes. Or dusting. Or the pile of crap in front of the freezer in the basement that I need to deal with. I could even get a head start on dinner.

But no. I did none of that. Instead, I made cup of peppermint tea and buttered – with the whey butter I recently discovered at the local Farmers’ Market and highly recommend – a thick slice of cinnamon roll bread, took some simple knitting and sat out on the porch.

I was well out of the rain, but sat in the cool and damp swirling air, had a clear view of the lightening, and could hear the rain falling and dripping in the garden and running in the downspout.

Max, the cat who came back, kept me company from the window.

I rocked and knitted and sipped my tea for most of an hour. It was lovely. I could have been more productive, sure, but I don’t think the time could have been better spent.

I can’t believe that July is almost over. How can we have been so busy and there still be so much more we wanted to do? We’ve done some of this:

And this:

And lots of this:

So… eight days left in this month and then all of August. We’ll be sure to make the best use – not necessarily just the most productive use – of our time, our Summertime. Right now, since the rain has stopped and the sun is shining again, I’m going to slip on my shoes and go out to do my daily inspection of the vegetable gardens and to top up the bird feeders. I know that sounds productive, but it is all play, trust me ;)

IMG: The Baby might like oranges. Maybe.
hmmm.. I think The Baby might like oranges. Maybe. :D
Seriously. Look at those fingers! heeeeeee!

Let’s talk about the vest he is wearing, shall we? When I was working on it last week, I showed it to Jordan:
me: What do think?
J: It’s uh.. very colourful.
me: Too colourful?
He was leaving the room and he called over his shoulder… Well, let me put it this way… You’d just better hope that it doesn’t make me so jealous that I sell The Baby into slavery.

hehehe… The vest is the Rib Warmer by the brilliant Elizabeth Zimmermann; all I did was scale it down for a baby. Given Jordan’s warning, it has been dubbed the Amazing Technicolor Dreamvest. Here on Ravelry.
IMG: Amazing Technicolor Dreamvest.
While I am tempted to deny that I would ever sully one of EZ’s unventions by knitting it in novelty yarn, The Baby loves the rib warmer and brings it to me to put on him. … so I’ll have to count that as a success, I guess :)

But I’ve been thinking… maybe it needs a matching hat…

Jordan had been waiting for this day for a long, long time. I’ve held him off, forbidden, delayed and otherwise interfered in the ways mothers do.
But it was time. Sunday morning, Jordan counted up the money he had saved from his paper route. And about ninety minutes later, he had turned that cash-moolah into this:

That is one 80gig PlayStation 3, two games, a second controller and some cord thingy.
This is all HIS money. That he earned and saved up. I’m so proud of him. That paper route is a crappy job – not the least because of the way people treat him. People yell at him. People slam the door in his face. And yet, he goes out three times a week, in all weather and carefully delivers the papers. And when people refuse to pay, or snarl at him, or otherwise abuse him, he smiles and says, well, thank you any way and off he goes. And he is very careful with his money. He is a big spender… on the things that matter to him. He spent a lot of money at the fall fair. But he never buys candy or junk from the dollar store.
He was so excited yesterday – he was practically floating. Not only did he finally have that PS3 he’s wanted forever, but this was his biggest purchase ever. He was feelin’ goooooooooood :)

Last week, I finally sewed in the ends and washed the baby blanket I had been working on for MONTHS. Someone bought the kit and had me make it for them. It looked pretty straightforward when I took the assignment. Sure, I had to learn to crochet with two colours and with three colours, but that literally took less than a minute to learn (it is WAY easier than colour knitting).
The pattern was some kind of messed up. I’d bet that in the end, I actually made the whole blanket twice for all the working and reworking I did to try and get gauge. I had no problem getting the “squares” the right width, but I could not even come close to the right height. And the two motifs were very different sizes. I tried everything: different hooks (many, many different hooks), working more tightly, more loosely, verifying that I was using the right stitches… anything I could think of, but in the end, the star “squares” were still significantly taller than the plaid squares. Ugh. Finally, I did my best to fit them together as smoothly as possible and let it go at that. The border, which is actually quite pretty, went a long way to straightening everything out.

Once it was finished and washed (thankfully, the washing softened the yarn – an acrylic – a LOT. I was really worried about the texture of the thing), I took the finished dimensions. Ummm. The pattern says that the final width was 26”. My blanket was almost 39”. I spent a good 5 minutes in a panic trying to figure out where I went wrong. It was only when I went back and did the math that I realised that (once again) the problem wasn’t me – it was the pattern.
According to the pattern, each motif is 8.5” wide. Yes, ok. Mine were. And the blanket is four motifs wide. 8.5 x 4 = 34”. Whaaa?!! Then add the joining rows and the wide border.. umm.. yeah.. about 39” NOT 26”. Geez.
While I was working on this blanket, I was so frustrated and it was taking way too long and I just couldn’t see how it could come together into anything that was remotely ok. But in the end, while this is no work of art, I’m happy with it. I hope the recipient is too.

Also… WOW! Thanks for the great response on the pumpkin hat pattern. Y’all are so kind.

I’ve finally gotten round to adding some projects to Ravelry. Oy. There’s a process. Over there, I’m billijean.

It is October. I haven’t done any really good knitting in a long, long time. I couldn’t take it any more and on Saturday, while at the anniversary party at Spun, I bought some Real! Wool! Yarn! and then on Sunday, I made this:
IMG: Pumpkin hat for a baby.
and it was deeply satisfying.
Can you believe that this is the first thing I have made for The Baby? He likes it as much as any baby likes a hat: not much. But he likes to chew on it and snuggle with it. I’ll take that :)
Pumpkin hats are ubiquitous, but how could I resist? There is A Baby in da house! I didn’t use a pattern – though I’m certain there are dozens of free ones out there – but I wrote down what I did, which I guess is a “pattern” and put it here for your enjoyment :)

I finished this Harry Potter scarf this weekend.

I began making it a few weeks ago for Jordan to wear to the birthday party he went to Sunday afternoon. A few days ago, Jordan said we should give it to Isaac, the boy having the birthday.

I think we should give it to Isaac. I have a mom who’s a really good knitter, so, really, I can get one any time. Isaac can’t. And it’s his birthday. And he LOVES Harry Potter. I think he should have it.

Isaac’s it is :)

Technical details:

- double-thickness, knit in the round
- Gryffindor colours
- meant to be like the scarves in the first movie

- yarn: Irish Worsted Knitting Wool (the yellow is more gold than the photo shows)
- gauge: 20st and 28 rows to 10cm
- finished dimensions (before blocking): 53″ long x 5.5″ wide (child’s size)

- total stitches: approx 22,440 (hahaha.. I love calculating that, but only AFTER I’ve finished :D)

The Harry Potter Birthday party was amazing, btw. I even taught a Care of Magical Creatures class :D

Jordan in Potions class :)

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