Archive for August, 2008

Tea Time

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Baby Bib O' Love from Mason Dixon Knitting. Embellished with a tea cup applique, blanket stitch embroidery, and a crochet chain steam swirl. Oh, and a teapot button. So who wants to sit down for a cuppa?

P.S. So not to be an enabler or anything, but did you know the Sundara Seasons Club is open through the end of August? I've never had my hands on any of her yarn, but I've been harboring a mild obsession with it since I saw Brooklyn Tweed's FBS. I missed my chance to participate in the Petals Club, and have regretted it ever since. To lessen my chance of living with regret this time around, I signed myself up for both Spring and Autumn (and had to tear myself away from the computer to avoid ordering Winter and Summer.) If you can't participate this time around, don't be too sad. I'm sure there will be many more Sundara clubs, and in the meantime you can live vicariously!

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Ravelympics ’08: Not a Total Loss

Whenever you try something, there is a good chance you'll fail. Especially if you are like me and think you can finish at least four projects in 16 days whilst working full time and not totally neglecting baby and husband. We could look back on Ravelympics 2008 and say that I failed because I didn't finish a single project. Or, we could look back and remember that I learned a lot, enjoyed a little extra knitting time, and got motivated to get rid of some lingering UFOs.

I'll still get eyes on that damn turtle one of these days. And finish the FBS, and Iris's blankie. And I'll frog the Flax Jax, too. But for now, I want to take a little break from all that finishing up and start something new- a last minute summer project for Iris. Stay tuned!

Weight Watchers update

When I announced my plan to post my weight totals for some extra motivation, Holly commented that I must be very brave to announce that number to the world. Just remember, there's a fine line between brave and stupid! My grandma used to say that a lady never reveals her age, weight or shoe size. I'm not really shy about any of those numbers, so I'll leave you to judge what that says about me!

Anyway, I weighed in at 310.6 this week, a loss of two pounds. Which is great, but not so great considering that I gained five (!!!) the week before that. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly you can regain everything you've worked to take off!

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Ravelympics ’08: February Sleeves

On Friday, I had grand plans of having a completed February Baby Sweater at the end of this weekend. Completion seems unlikely at this point, but on the bright side I have completed sleeves.

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After two sleeves and much frogging, I think I can honestly say that I've made my peace with the Gull Stitch. More than made peace, in fact: I think we're friends. I can spot now within a row or two if I've made a mistake, and learned how to fix a missed yarn over. The key seems to be counting, counting, counting. I'm still on the fence about knitting one for myself, but I'm leaning towards yes at this point. (After Wisteria is finished, of course.)

On the weight loss front, I got some good feedback in the comments on my last point. Some excellent points:

  • The longer I put it off, the harder it will be to lose weight.
  • It pays to keep trying, even if slip ups happen.
  • Maybe my thyroid is screwed up. (I did, for the record, have it checked after Iris was born because I was losing hair like crazy. I know you're supposed to lose some hair, but I definitely lost more than I started out with. The test came back normal, but I may have it rechecked. I've heard since then that you're supposed to fast before you have it, and my doctor didn't have me do that so maybe it wasn't accurate.)
  • Maybe I should try taking some vitamin supplements. I stopped taking any vitamins after I ran out of my last refill of prenatals, but I know my diet is not really optimal so I'm probably missing some nutrients here and there.
  • If I have the determination to look up a babillion tutorials for the sake of knitting, I probably have enough to stick with weight loss.

Thanks for all the encouraging words, everyone. Just like with any long term knitting project, you'll probably have to frog along the way, and maybe you won't stay monogamous 100% of the time. The only sure thing is, if you stop working on it, it will never get finished. So I'm just going to keep at it! I usually weigh in on Mondays now, so to help keep my motivation I'll be posting numbers every week. (Yikes!)

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Still Just 10%

I hope you won't mind, but I need to take a break from all Ravelympics goings-ons to talk about my weight- a subject I haven't really broached since over two years ago when I proudly posted about losing my first 10%.

If you've been reading the blog for awhile, you know that I've been doing Weight Watchers for a long time now. In the beginning, I was so excited about losing weight. I posted about it every time I lost even a smidge, and I got lots of encouraging comments from readers and knitting buddies. After years of doing all kinds of craziness in the name of losing weight, I felt like I was on a plan that would really get me where I needed to go. I was going to lose two pounds a week, get skinny and knit lots of cashmere sweaters for my skinny self.

I was down from 350 to 296 when I found out I was pregnant, and they don't let pregnant chicks play along at Weight Watchers, so I was on my own again. I could kvetch and claim that getting kicked out of my weekly meeting caused me to get off track, but the truth is I was damn relieved to have an excuse not to count points for nine months or so. It was getting tough and I was getting sick of it. So of course I gained more than I was supposed to when I was pregnant, but not so terribly much. I never got as big as my starting weight, which is kind of scary if you think about being nine months pregnant and still lighter than you were the year before!

I've been going to meetings off and on since Iris was six weeks old, and I'm sad to report that I'm sitting here probably just barely under my 10% goal. It seems like two years has gone by and I'm not much better off than when I started. I have gained and lost the ten pounds between 315 and 305 probably half a dozen times now! It's plum discouraging. I keep thinking I should be able to do this- for myself, for my family, for all the cashmere sweaters I want to knit- but I can't seem to get up the momentum. I like to keep my blog a "happy place", but I'm posting this for two reasons:

  1. I've posted a lot in the past about the fun side of weight loss, so I feel like it's fair to post the less happy side of the story too.
  2. It's helped me in the past to be accountable to other knitters. Not that I expect y'all to follow me around snatching donuts out of my hands, but just knowing that other people know that I'm trying to lose seems to motivate me. (On the other hand, if someone wants to volunteer to folow me around snatching donuts out of my hands, maybe that would help too.) 

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Ravelympics ’08: The Eyes Have It

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If you happen to be thinking about making a Sheldon, you might want to learn from my mistakes and get your safety eyes before you start. The pattern instructs you to attach the eyes pretty close to the beginning of the pattern, before you finish the head. But I couldn't see any reason not to skip that little detail. What difference would it make when you can just as easily sew on the eyes after the whole thing is finished? Wouldn't it be easier to attach eyes once the turtle was together and you could make sure they were in the right place?

Well, that would be the case if you were supposed to sew on the eyes in question. I was so busy oustsmarting the pattern that I neglected to realize that safety eyes are not like the little button eyes I was picturing. There is a piece that goes on the back of the toy and then the eye kind of screws in. So if I want to attach the safety eyes now, Sheldon has to be partially taken apart and unstuffed. That is sooooo not going to happen. Once I realized my error, I got a bag of sew on googly eyes too, but I think Sheldon's beady little eyes are so cute, and it's just not the same. I'll probably be using the hole punch/felt/embroidery floss method. Does anyone out there want my baggy of safety eyes? (In case you're looking for some to buy in the metro-Louisville area, I found mine in the doll section of Ben Franklin Crafts in New Albany.)

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Friday Night Ravelry Surf #5

To celebrate my (almost) finished Sheldon, this is going to be the Official Toy Edition of the Surf. My problem is, I love knitted toys but I'm not crazy about, you know, knitting toys. It could be that this is one instance where I'm willing to knit for the joy of the finished object, even if I'm not crazy about the process.

Have you seen the Knitted Babes (and the lesser known follow up book, Dream Toys?) I really like their look- kind of like the Bratz dolls but less…. bratty. The great thing is that besides the cute variations in the book, the only limit to customizing these dolls is your imagination (and patience with sewing tiny accessories for them.) For example:

Crunchy Mama & Babe OMG, it's my fantasy version of myself as a mother, in doll form!

Roxxy OMG, it's me in high school, in doll form!

Cozmo Babe For the conspiracy nut in all of us.

Seaweed Because little girls love mermaids. Love that crocheted tail!

Adam and Eve C'mon Holly… you know you want some for your Sunday school class!

Harry Potter and Ron Weasley Ooh, ooh, I'd like one of every Harry Potter character! 

Until Tonya of The Shizknit told me she was working on Otto, I had no idea that Ysolda Teague had toy patterns. Besides Otto the bear, there's Sophie the rabbit, Elijah the elephant, and the Stuffies. Not only are they cute, they're designed to be knit seamlessly, which increases my chances of actually finishing them exponentially. These might be a good option for you if you want to try out making a toy but don't want to buy a whole book. (Just bought the pattern for Sophie, so I guess Sheldon hasn't scared me off toys for life anyway!)

Speaking of seamless toys, check out this cool gigantic Bobbi Bear. At one time a lot of people at the Knit Nook were making these, but I don't remember anything this big!

If dolls, bears, and standard toy fare aren't your thing, perhaps you'd like to add some more unusual animals to your knitted menagerie?

Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep
Jackalope

Nautie
Lobster
Prehistoric Pals
Shoney the Squid
Seal
Chickens
Zebra
Praying Mantis
Platypus

And in case you get hungry from all that toy making:

Banana
Giant Olive
Cupcake
Beet
Doughnut
Pear
Peas
Celery
Watermelon
Peach

Happy knitting!

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Ravelympics ’08: Turtles and Frogs

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My Sheldon is all finished except for the eyes. Even when I started, I must not have thought I'd ever really finish because I never bought any! It's kind of bugging me, but Iris seems to be enjoying chewing on her new toy just fine without his ocular appendages. I find toy finishing an absolute nightmare, which is precisely why a mostly knit Sheldon has been in progress since last year. I can't imagine myself wanting to make another toy, no matter how adorable. But maybe it's like that post-baby amnesia thing. Pretty soon I'll be totally blinded by Sheldon's cuteness and forget about how much I cursed while trying to sew his legs on straight. I was thinking it would be cute to have a little rainbow army of turtles….

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Iris and Sheldon- BFFs?

In the less-than-cheerful news department, I'm thinking about frogging my Flax Jax cardigan, even though at the outset of the Ravelympics I was sure I'd be able to finish it. All it needs is sleeves! Ah, but sleeves are turning out to be tricky beasts.

The sweater is knit in one piece from the bottom up. After you get to the top, you do a three needle bind off to put the shoulders together, then you're supposed to pick up stitches around the armholes for the sleeves. After studying several picking-up-stitches tutorials (at The Shizknit and Knitty and Stitch Diva) I have come to a couple of conclusions:

Conclusion #1: I shouldn't have slipped the stitches at the beginning of my rows, at least not for the sleeves. Slipping those stitches gives you a neat edge, but also leaves you without enough stitches to effectively pick up for your sleeve.
Conclusion #2: I think this sweater is kind of ugly. And not in that "I'm really tired of looking at this thing" way. Sigh. 

In lieu of those revelations, I've set Flax Jax to the side in favor of my February Baby Sweater. It is definitely not ugly, so at least there's that. You might remember that the last time I worked on it, I was getting frustrated because I had decided to modify the pattern to knit the sleeves in the round. I was losing DPNs, and my place in the pattern, left and right. When I picked it back up, I was missing a bunch of stitches and having trouble figuring out where I was in the lace, so I decided that maybe Elizabeth Zimmermann was actually smarter than me (shocker!), ripped back the whole sleeve and started over on straight needles. Ahhhhh. Much better already. I think the disadvantages to the flat knitting here (purling and seaming) are far outweighed by the advanatage of not having to deal with DPNs in this case. 

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The February Baby Sweater: Scared Straight Edition

If I can get some eyes on that damn turtle, I can at least say I finished one WIP for the Ravelympics. The prognosis for me finishing at least two things is looking pretty good right now. Finishing things is fun, but I deeply miss my Wisteria. (It was on the Twist Collective blog! So exciting!) Hopefully, absence will make my heart grow even fonder, and keep me from running out and casting on for my other Twist Collective obsession as soon as the Ravelympics have run their course. (But I just bought the pattern, so who knows?)

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