Monthly Archives: March 2009

Emerging O’ The Green

Finally this weekend, on the crest of a tropical above-freezing-all-the-time heat wave, I saw my first bulb emerging.

first-bulb

A week or two late; so very welcome.

Now, only three days later, just like the robins, suddenly my early bulbs are all emerging at once.  I may have forgotten to put on green this morning for St. Patrick’s Day (shame on me! and I’m even Irish!), but my garden was trying its best.

emerging-o-the-green

(These are daffodils at the other end of the garden this afternoon.)

Spring IS coming!  It will not be winter forever!  The weather has been amazing for a few days: April weather, so we can’t get too used to it, but once again: very welcome.

I took advantage of the nice weather and a knitting-related invitation from my friend Deb to drive up to the Twin Cities last weekend.  (Which is why I’ve been offline: I worked Saturday, was in the Cities Sunday, and then work’s been busy the last two days.)  Deb told me that the Minnesota Knitters’ Guild (how DID they get that web address?! someone was an early adopter of the internet!) was sponsoring a Knit-In at the American Swedish Institute in continued celebration of their Bohus Knitting exhibit, Radiant Knits.   I missed the opening due to a work conflict, so wanted to see the exhibit before it closed, and this was about my only chance.  Plus, I got to sit and knit as the prime activity.  Always a bonus.

So I drove up late Saturday (incredible Saturday Skies, BTW, but time is short — I’ll show you those another time), stayed with my brother and his wife in South Minneapolis (where I saw these somewhat confusing signs:

signs-again

all the goofy signs I see in Minneapolis seem to be around their house!)  Sorry for the blurry picture.  I was at a red light, and just as I pulled my camera out, it turned green.  I didn’t think Minneapolis drivers would appreciate waiting while I took a good photo….

Then I had brunch with my good friends, whom I see too seldom, at the Bad Waitress Cafe in Minneapolis, not far from the Swedish Institute.  Yum.

Off to the American Swedish Institute, then,

asi1

to see the exhibit, which was amazing. Photographs weren’t allowed in the museum, but through the front door, you can see a couple Bohus sweaters in the case just inside.

asi-doors

The exhibit signs said something like, “Please resist the urge to touch”, but I practically had to put my hands in my pockets; when you see a gorgeous angora blend vintage sweater, the hand starts to reach out….I was extremely good, though.  And I visited the museum shop (candy for the girls, and a couple small Bohus kits may have followed me home too), and then Deb joined me and we knit for the rest of the afternoon in the cupola you saw above.

asi-cupola

Here ’tis from the inside, filled with knitters.

cupola-2 cupola-1

It was great fun to knit, catch up with Deb, and meet wonderful knitters.  I finished Gothlet Gauntlet number 1

one-gothlet-gauntlet-done

(here on the delighted recipient herself: see, it does fit her too, not just me!)

and knit on two other projects, mostly on one, which I realize I haven’t shown you yet.   (Then drove home.)

I think those new knitting projects are a story for another day, as are the Saturday Skies.  Because it’s past my bedtime.  No Irish beer for me today.  But Happy St. Patrick’s Day anyway!

And Up With Green!

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Iced Apples

ice-apple

Not dessert, unfortunately.

A Letter to the Month Of March

Dear March:

I understand the rain changing to ice changing to snow last weekend,

ice-storm-frozen-grass1

and I completely accept the unforecast snow that happened the night before last.

It’s March in Wisconsin.  That’s normal.

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But – 22 degree F wind chill yesterday?

That is just so not right.

No wonder my crocuses are still underground.  Wise flowers.

Gothlet Gauntlets

As promised.  (Or as I warned you, or something.)  More than you probably ever wanted to know about these.

gothlet-gauntlets-march-8

So, my younger daughter, the Gothlet, was all over the idea of elbow length fingerless mitts:  gauntlets, or armwarmers (but gauntlets just sound really cool, don’t they?).

This GothSocks self-striping yarn from Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs (etsy shop link) was going to be perfect for the gauntlets too.  But I had a quandary, which I’m having in regard to daughter #2 fairly frequently these days.  She is starting to sprout up like a weed.  I know the signs.  In a year or two, she’ll probably be as tall as her older sister the RockStar (who is, to the RockStar’s frustration, 5 feet 4 3/4 inches.  Why is that frustrating to her?  She’s still — only! — 1/4 inch shorter than me!).

So I don’t want to knit her something that she’ll outgrow in six months!  You understand.  Not only from the knitting-time-spent perspective….but also, if one knits something that the recipient really likes — one wants them to be able to wear it for a long time.  (We’ll gloss over the fact that tastes change at this time of life about every 3 months.  The semi-Gothness won’t change much, I suspect.  And she has always valued hand-made and hand-knit things, bless her heart, since forever.  So far, she’s all over this project.)

So… I set out to design long fingerless mitts that will fit my skinny barely 11-year-old now, and will still fit her (if she wants them to) through middle school and into high school.  Yet, they have to look smokin’, so they can’t be loose and sloppy for growth.  (Believe me, we go through this discussion with the jeans, and loose does not cut it currently with the 11-year-old.  But with gauntlets, it’s all about looks anyway, yes?)

Here’s my key to making it work.  See the underside of the mitts?

gothlet-gauntlets-rear-view

An insert of 2 x 2 ribbing helps keep the mitts conforming to her arm, but will stretch to fit an adult-size arm.  (Here it is on me.)

gothlet-gauntlet-on-a-grown

The mitt goes up almost to the crease of her elbow; you can see it’s still long but not quite so much on me.

I also shaped the mitt with decreases to conform it to the arm nicely.  Oh, and although the ribbing won’t show too much anyway, I did a knit row at the transition between stripes rather than knitting in the k2p2 pattern, to avoid ticks of color.  Keeps it looking crisp.

The hand is a bit trickier, because I don’t really like the feel of ribbing on my palm as much, and I think it interferes with some indoor tasks a little.  I have, and have made, all-ribbed mitts, but this is a smooth, sleek gauntlet.   So I changed to stockinette for the palm, but to help with conforming to a growing hand, I increased the needle size slightly (from 2.25 mm — US 1  — to 2.5 mm — what some call US 1 1/2.  This looser gauge makes the knitted fabric stretchier.  It’s less sturdy, but in a mitt, that’s acceptable (and tight and form-fitting on the hand could be a little annoying).   I’ll make the length down to the first joint of her middle fingers or so, so it’s a little long for her now; when she’s bigger, it will still be long enough.  And a little too big is OK; too small is miserable.

So far, this is going really quickly, though I messed up my own pattern on the hand and frogged that part.  The yarn and the dyeing are wonderful.  It’s kind of funny, continually trying the mitt on myself or her sister, and then again on the Gothlet, on an ongoing basis, to make sure it fits Gothlet-Now and Future-Gothlet.  But the system seems to be working!

Then I simply have to replicate exactly what I did, and do it all again for the second gauntlet.  Easy.

Right?

Silly Robins

Silly Robins.  I could have told you that it’s not spring yet.

no-al-fresco-coffee-today

I hope your feet aren’t too cold; all your perches are solid ice right now.

frozen-shrubbery

It’s a good thing that there aren’t too many buds out yet, because the rain that froze that preceded the snow is a lot worse for budding plants than snow itself is.

buds-of-ice

Although I had to go places today (and get up outrageously early to do so, let alone it being a Sunday), it’s a very good day to stay home and knit.  (Though I chose to go one place — a book club a friend is starting — and, of course, I knit there.)

Here are my current knitting bag choices:

A pair of fingerless gloves for a coworker with a significant birthday (she has horses and big dogs, so I think she’ll find fingerless mitts practical; they are, of course, superwash wool).

valkyrie-mitts

More Twisted yarn in the Valkyrie colorway, Playful yarn base (high twist, heavy fingering weight or light sport weight superwash merino wool yarn).  I’m trying (again) the two socks (okay, mitts) at a time thing.  I’ve done it before, and drove myself crazy with yarn tangling.  I started out this pair of mitts with Magic Looping, but just don’t care for that technique as much.  So I went to two socks on two circs mid-project.  Has its own pros and cons, but it’s a bit faster for me.  Since this picture was taken this morning, I’ve knit almost to the ribbing of the hand after increasing then dividing off the thumb gusset stitches (on waste yarn right now, waiting to be picked up).

The Gothlet Gauntlets from Rainy Days, Wooly Dogs.

gothlet-gauntlets-march-8

These are being made for my younger daughter, the Gothlet, and tomorrow I’ll tell you more about how I’m designing them (I’m a little proud about it, but you can’t see what I’m proud about in the picture).  Isn’t the yarn great?

Third, I’ve started a pair of Cookie A socks, Thelonious.  This is for a Ravelry Knitalong (KAL).  The preliminary progress picture is awful, so I think I’ll wait to show and tell you more until I’m a little further along.

I hope you all had some knitting time today (and that your weather was more spring-like!).

march-snowfall

Spring Tease Saturday

The robins all suddenly appeared today.

robin-and-the-snow

robin-looking-quizzical

Saturday Sky with Robin on Roof.

robin-and-saturday-sky-marc

They all decided at once that it was time to join their foolish, if hardy, robin buddies who spent the winter up North (and what a winter to decide to do that, hmm?).

There was another sign of spring, if I looked closely:

march-waxing-moon-in-saturd

Buds on the neighbor’s lilac bushes!

No crocuses yet, and no other buds that I can really see.

A sullenly cold and cloudy day, that started out below freezing

saturday-sky-march-7-2009

ended with a lovely sunset.

sunset-sidewalk

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I’m just putting my fingers in my ears and pretending I didn’t hear the forecast for 2-4 inches of snow tomorrow.  Lalalalala!


Ephemeral Eye(ce) Candy Friday

Here at dawn yesterday as I walked to work.  (Click to embiggen if you like.)

dawn-ice

Gone by the 50-degree-F afternoon.

Maybe spring is coming, after all.