18 May 2009


While I was in Texas this past March, my sister was in...India. With husband and baby. That's right, she took a four-month-old baby to India. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. I didn't set foot on an airplane until I was fifteen years old. Can I be jealous of my nephew for being more well-traveled than I am? Is that okay?

They went to an elephant sanctuary and had a great time. I assume that Nephew slept through it all; he certainly won't remember any of it later. So I knitted him an elephant (Rav link), another one of the patterns in Zoe Mellor's Knitted Toys.

I love the projects in this book so much, but the patterns are so badly written. So much unnecessary seaming! It's infuriating! Not that I plan to knit another elephant, but I've been trying to figure out how to improve the process of this pattern -- what can be done in the round, etc. So dumb. But I digress...

I used Colinette Cadenza again, the same yarn I used for both toy bears I made last year. A great yarn for baby toys, soft and washable, and also good quality. I used the "Jewel" colorway for the elephant, because the colors made me think of the flash and color and beauty of India (not that I've seen them myself). And although I looked at this colorway on the shelf a zillion times and thought, "goodness, that's some ugly yarn! Who in the world would want those colors together?" when I decided to make this pattern, I knew that was the exact right colorway for this particular elephant.

I did manage to do a three-needle bind-off for the two gusset pieces (can I just say, how unhelpful is it to call the belly of the elephant a "gusset?" Legs, body, trunk...gusset? That is not a body part! Dumb!!! It's the underside of the elephant, the belly!!! GRRR!!!), so didn't have to get out the tapestry needle for that one. Then I blocked all the pieces -- and I must admit, I didn't know the Hot-Iron-On-Wet-Washcloth Blocking Trick before doing this pattern, and I love it and will forever be grateful to Zoe Mellor and her terrible pattern-writing for teaching me this technique -- and set about the stupidly time-consuming task of sewing them all together.

Seriously, it took me as much time to do the sewing as it took to do the knitting. Eye roll. The entire car ride to their house, then two nights on the couch... I had to give Nephew the not-quite-finished elephant before bed in order to get pictures of him playing with it (he liked it, I'm glad to say!), and then had to stay up until the wee hours of the morning before our departure to get all the seaming and stuffing done. Hence the terribly-lit late-night photo above.Still, I'm happy with the finished product, even if the process left something to be desired. Also, my nephew is so beautiful! He's slightly over six months in this picture (and today is his 7-month birthday).

15 May 2009

Intrepid Reporter

Last month (Palm Sunday, in fact), about ten of us gathered at my friend Mango's house for a yarn swap. It was a fun swap -- all good folks, all with good quality yarn to swap. We ate a light appetizer-y dinner and drank just enough wine that our eyesight and judgment were questionable, which makes the swap that much more interesting. And then we got down to the serious business that is The Yarn Swap.

There was so much yarn there that it wouldn't all fit in one picture (or two, for that matter, but I'm self-editing for the moment):

I was Baa Baa Black Sheep: I brought three bags full! And I came home with three bags full, as well (including a bag of sock yarn to give to a semi-homebound church member who knits socks for charity) -- half new-to-me, half the stuff I'd brought in the first place. Pretty successful, I'd say.

So much fun. And swapping definitely curbed the impulse to purchase more yarn for a while! I even got some yarn for which I have definite plans... something I rarely do when I go to a real live yarn store. Thanks for a great evening, Mango and friends!

11 May 2009

Mother's Day -- on my schedule, not the world's

I've inherited many things from my mother: her laugh (which my brother and I used to make fun of when I was little, so there's a little poetic justice for you!), her eyebrows (tho' I groom mine more heavily than she does hers), her ability to spend an entire day sitting in front of the computer without actually accomplishing anything but thoroughly enjoying herself in the process, her tendency towards optimism -- which leads to a tendency to bite off more than we can chew (witness: our choice of houses, with accompanying "projects" and "yardwork" that will never be completed) -- which leads to a wonderfully cheerful attitude toward accepting one's own limits and imperfections. I think she's great, and I am so honored every time someone says I am like her.

One of the other things I inherited from my mother was her inability to get anything in the mail in a timely manner. For example, her birthday was two months ago, and although I have knitted several items to send her AND I fully intended to give back that book she lent me in October so we could discuss it when I read it (which I did: I'm not a complete reprobate!) AND I wrote her a card that I know is really sweet but it's been so long that I've forgotten what I said in it... all the items I've been meaning to mail her are sitting in a box in my living room totally ready to walk with me the two blocks to the post office. It's a walk I make nearly every day, because the post office is on the way to everywhere else I could possibly want to go in this town. And yet, there's the box, still at my house. And postage rates went up today. I'm so organized (another thing I inherited from her.)

So here you go, Mom: a picture of me wearing the scarf I made you (and didn't tell you about! I was trying to surprise you!) when I was in Texas in March. I post silly-looking pictures of myself on the internet, just for you. Happy Mother's Day, a day late.

The progress shots and specs:
Tilli Tomas "Milan" silk/wool yarn, one full skein, Napoleon Lace Scarf by Kaleidoscope Yarns (a freebie yarn and pattern from a giveaway/sale thingy last year).

Also, many thanks to Sweetea, whose blocking wires I have been holding hostage for a shamefully long time. Again with the organization.