Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Not Shopping

So today is my birthday. And instead of buying myself a present, I've decided that my special b-day treat will be to go down to my yarn stash and pick out something new to cast on.

I mean, I want to buy myself a present. The new knitpicks catalog came today and I am in love with the lace samplers on the back cover. I want the sunset one to do a gradient shawl! But, I am inspired by Laurie Perry's (aka Crazy Aunt Purl) recent posts about consumerism and not buying unnecessary stuff. I don't think I can be as extreme as she is going to be. We do after all need to buy stuff for the baby. He doesn't need a lot, but he does need some frivolous items, like toys. But b/c we have to buy stuff for him, they'll be less for other random spending. Like yarn.

Besides, I have been very good this year about not buying impulse yarn and I'd like to keep that up! (you have no idea how hard it was to resist the Webs sale. So glad it's over!) Yes, I did just buy a bunch of baby yarn. But that was to make specific items and I have already cast on and/or finished two of them. And I bought a skein of Cascade Eco Plus. But again, that was to make the Hemlock Ring blanket, which is done (though still not blocked).

I think that is all the yarn I have bought in 2008, maybe even since Stitches East last Oct. (My memory of Nov-Jan. is a bit fuzzy though. It seems like all I did was sit on the couch and try not to puke. I wasn't knitting then, so I can't imagine that I bought yarn ....)

Anyway, the point is, I have not purchased impulse yarn for a long time. And the knitpicks lace sampler would definitely be impulse yarn. It would arrive, I would pet it, but then it would go straight into a plastic storage bin and stay there until who knows when. I have lots of pretty lace in my bins. I can go take a dive and pick something yummy out to cast on tonight! Or maybe I want to start a sweater? I haven't officially joined any "knit from your stash" alongs or anything, but this year, I have been really trying to look at what I have, what I want to make and see how the two can intersect.

More on not spending: I am trying to convince myself that I can last with just one pair of maternity shorts that I found on clearance at Target for $4.24. I also have two maternity skirts and two pairs of gauchos/capri yoga pants. That is five summer bottoms. And do I need maternity tank tops? I have managed to get by w/o a lot of maternity clothes b/c I work at home and just wore my sweats up until now. Those sweats are starting to get a) too hot and b) too small. Plus there is this long dress at Target that looks so lovely and cool. There is just something nice about putting on a long dress in the summer. Hmmmm.

Oh god, I just remembered that I need to buy a breast pump. Since H will have to go to day care full time (sad), I'll need to get an expensive electronic one. Maybe no Target dress.

So today is my birthday and I don't need to buy myself a present. I got a lovely necklace from my in-laws. And some cute cards. And I know my husband is giving me two watches (but I haven't seen them yet!). My boss gave me a gift card to a local garden store (she searched on line for something local to me and discovered a great shop called Poor Boys.) I already spent the gift card, but I think I'm going back this weekend to get a hydrangea. I know! More spending! But the front of our house needs some curb appeal and I know I can't do it all at once, but one hydrangea and some mulch will go a long way and next year we can add something else.

Ok, so no yarn presents, but maybe some maternity shorts, a dress and a hydrangea. And! I get to go play in my stash and pick out a new project. I am off to do that now before G comes home to cook me his delicious cilantro laced burgers on the grill.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Start of a Layette

It's been a gorgeous weekend here in Baltimore and I got lots done! But was still able to relax and feel like I was having a mini vacation, or staycation since we stayed home.

We worked in the garden. I love working in the garden, but sometimes I get so impatient and want to do everything RIGHT NOW! But a garden evolves over years ... especially this year as my belly gets in the way a bit. But even though I want to tackle the hill in the front yard and so something cool like a rock garden or wildflowers, or a rock garden AND wildflowers, I just have to be patient and know that we'll get to it, eventually.

What I did do was plant flowers, and one small cherry tomato plant, in pots. And weeded. Just doing that already makes the yard look so much prettier.

G's been busy too. He put together a changing table, dresser and crib. And he's been painting banisters and painting some super secret project that I am not supposed to know about, but I know involves making a frame for one or our posters.

Plus we managed to chill on our porch each night and had a fire in our fire pit last night.

And I've been knitting. I've got the start of a layette going.



Here's a blanket I made a while back. The yellow is by Lucci. It's an eyelash yarn, but the fibers aren't as long as something like fun fur. It's more matted. And it is the softest yarn ever. I bought this three years ago at the Yarn Garden in Annapolis. Before I was even engaged. Long before baby H was even an idea. I touched the yarn and had to have it.

The blue is Berroco Plush Colors, another sort of matted nylon yarn. It isn't as plush as the Lucci, but I didn't have enough of that for a big blanket. So I thought I'd do stripes. I bought this about two years ago at Woolstock in Glydon. By that time I was engaged. So baby H was maybe a distant idea, but I think I just wanted to have enough yarn to make a baby blanket at some point for some baby. Not necessarily my own.

It's knit on the diagonal in garter stitch. Super easy. I weaved all the ends in at one of the Baltimore Knitting Meetup's Tue. night knits a few weeks ago.

The second item is a hat that I just love.


It's the reversible hat from Essential Baby by Debbie Bliss.


The yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas Skinny Dyed Cotton that I bought at Spinster Yarns & Fibers Shop. (Aside: love this shop! It opened a few months ago in Baltimore and is very close to my house. It's my most local LYS. I can't wait to go again.)

So the yarn was totally a different gauge from the Debbie Bliss yarn the pattern calls for. I adjusted the numbers to make it about the right size for a 6-9 month baby. We'll see. Hopefully it will fit him sometime in the winter b/c it is a warm hat. Even with the cotton, it's thick b/c it's basically two hats. The pattern was a bit lame as it had you knitting the hats flat, sewing them up then sewing together. So I knit the first hat flat. But then I picked up stitches for the second, inner, hat and knit it it in the round. Much happier with that. I just love the colors!

And third, is a WIP shot of the sweater I started for H. It's just a sleeve so far.


It's the Duffle Coat from Essential Baby. The yarn is Berroco Comfort DK that I bought at Lovelyarns in Hampden. (One Saturday in April, I went on a mini yarn crawl to find baby yarns. I hit up Lovelyarns and then Spinsters Yarns.)

The Comfort is a very nice acrylic. Very soft. And machine wash and dry. Very important! I like it. Not sure if I could knit an adult sweater with it though. It is still a bit "squeaky." We'll see how I feel when I finish this sweater.

And lest you think I've only been knitting baby stuff, here's the Hemlock Ring Blanket that I knit (but haven't blocked).


I started this on April 12 and cast off on May 16. But I have not yet blocked it. Maybe this week or next weekend. The wool is Cascade Eco Plus (which is the Ecological wool that's been dyed). I had about a skein left over from a sweater so I used it to start the afghan and bought one more skein from Webs. Fun pattern! I really enjoyed this. Up until I cast off and it took two or three nights just to do the cast off row. I am eager to see it blocked out. I am not sure what I am going to do with this project. While I really enjoy working w/ the Eco wool, I think it will be too scratchy for me to snuggle under. Plus, we have so many lap blankets here (my mom quilts) that we don't need another one. So I might give it away maybe for Christmas. Maybe for a friend's wedding in the fall.

I think this is the first time that I just wanted to knit the item for the fun of knitting it, not for the finished object. It was on in my queue for awhile, but when I saw that the Columbia Sip-n-Knit (a group) was doing a knit-a-long, I decided to join in. (I can't sing the praises of this group enough! Denise, the organizer of the KAL, had bound copies of the pattern, plus charts and info from the Webs "Ready Set Knit" podcast knit-along. And she gave each of us a set of stitch markers and a lifelong kit, with needle and cotton thread. Wow! Plus the group is made up of lots of lovely knitters! Since I live a 40-minute to an hour drive from Columbia, I don't attend the Wed. night meetups very often. But I've been following along online and on Ravelry.)

So now I am down to just one project (well ... I do have two pairs of socks ... but does that count?). Once I get a bit farther into the sweater I want to start a shawl for myself. I am thinking a nursing shawl for the summer in this Sea Silk would be perfect.


But what pattern? Maybe the Shetland Triangle by Evelyn A. Clark from Wrap Style? Someone on Ravelry knit it with just one skein of Sea Silk. Something rectangular might be good too. I'll have to explore some more. But if anyone has ideas, please share!