Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hot Under the Collar

The neckwarmer is finally done! I still need to sew on snaps to keep it closed, but the knitting is done. After Liat graciously agreed to model it for the blog photo shoot, she didn't want to take it off. Good sign... The yarn is Wisdom Yarn Poems. I love the way the self-striping of the yarn fit into the pattern.

I'm not sure how much I'll be able to wear this, though I sure could have used it last night! The daytimes are pretty mild right now, so I'll just have to make some night-time plans before the weather gets too hot.

Now I can cast on for the cotton top I have planned for Meital. I still need to adjust the math for the armhole decreases, but there will be a fair amount of ribbing and stockinette before I get to that point, so I will do a Scarlet O'Hara and worry about it tomorrow.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Not Cheating. Exactly.

Starting a gauge swatch for a new project is absolutely not the same as casting on for the actual project.


I know I said I am going to force myself to finish one of the three projects I currently have on the needles (all for me) before starting something new, but I figure making a gauge swatch and planning out the sweater don't count.

I have made the top shown in this Spring/Summer '98 issue of Family Circle Easy Knitting twice already, but this time I am going to make some changes. For one thing, my gauge swatch is showing me I am not going to get 22 stitches to 4 inches with this Reynolds Saucy from my stash. Plus I want to make it in the round instead of in pieces. So I see some difficult days ahead with...shudder...math involved.

This particular issue of FCEK is rather ragged around the edges, because in addition to the top shown, I've also made three other sweaters. I love it when I actually feel like I've gotten my money's worth from a magazine!

Just to show you I really am not cheating, I present a progress photo on the neckwarmer I am making for myself from Wisdom Yarns' Poems. I love the way the color changes fit so well with the design.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Happy Purim

Actually, Purim won't be here for another couple of days (three if you live in a walled city, such as Jerusalem, Sfat, Tiberias or Acco), but I always think of the day the kids celebrate at school as the real holiday. Above are the goodies (mishloach manot) my girls took to school today. As you can see, Liat wanted to use the old soda bottle trick for her gift. In elementary school, the kids get a list of items that should be included, such as: hamantaschen, lollipop, chocolate, a salty snack, gum, a small surprise, and a note. Usually, the kids bring these treats to school not knowing which of their classmates will receive their offering.

This year, Meital decided to dress up as an artist. Ever since she started elementary school, her costumes have been either white, black or both. In case you're interested, I'll list them all at the end of this post.*

The only time we bought a costume for Meital is in the first grade. Once I knitted her costume, and the rest of the time we either put something together or sewed something. Not too shabby! Liat hasn't dressed up since 6th grade, and Meital is in 6th grade now, so I'm sort of summarizing here in case she also decides not to dress up anymore. Though on our morning walk today Avi and I saw quite a few junior and senior high school kids in costumes - some even homemade (that always warms my crafter's heart). And Liat mentioned that several of her classmates were in costume today. I think that's great; these kids grow up so quickly, and in another two years Liat and her peers will be in army uniforms. Why not have some lighthearted fun?

The fun continues for a few more days. First and most important, especially if you're a kid, there are three days of vacation. Tomorrow evening there will be a Purim carnival in our neighborhood community center, and many people will go to synagogue to hear the Book of Esther read. That's always a wild and fun time, with candy thrown and noisemakers used to drown out the name of the evil Haman, but Avi and I haven't gone to synagogue for Purim since Liat was a baby. A couple of posts ago, I included a link that explains about the holiday and customs.

Yesterday I baked the traditional Purim cookie called hamantaschen (or osnay Haman, as they are called in Hebrew). These are triangle shaped cookies with a filling, often poppyseed or prune, but sometimes apricot, chocolate, or our family's favorite, strawberry jam and pecans. These are a mandatory part of the goodies given away, and the main symbol for the holiday. Or the main food symbol, anyway. Ever notice how Jewish holidays always have food as a symbol? It kinda fits with the summarization of all Jewish holidays that I read once somewhere: "They tried to kill us. They failed. Let's eat."

Today I baked cookies, and tomorrow Liat will make cupcakes. These non-traditional treats will go onto the plates of goodies, along with the hamantaschen, that we will be giving to some good friends and of course to our family in Jerusalem. We will go to visit the latter probably on Tuesday. If this year is like other years, we will also be receiving treats from our friends and loved ones. Delivering the goodies is an excuse to drop by for a quick visit, which is always fun.

Costumes, candy, baked goods, visits with loved ones. Is it any wonder Purim is one of my favorite holidays?

* Meital's Costumes in Elementary School:
1st Grade: White Bunny (purchased costume)
2nd Grade: Burglar (knitted black ski mask and sweater)
3rd Grade: Angel (white dress plus home made halo, wings and harp)
4th Grade: Penguin (black clothes plus home made beak, feet and wings)
5th Grade: Chef (remember that saga from last year? homemade apron and hat)
6th Grade: Artist (purchased palatte, rest of the stuff from around the house)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Card Reveal

I've gotten the word that this card has reached its destination, so I can finally show it to you. I made this for the wonderful Alison Hyde. Alison is an amazing combination of a brave and fierce warrior and a compassionate, generous knitter. Only a woman, I think, could achieve such a feat.

This is the inside of the card. The tiny book you see was written by Alison and is absolutely wonderful. How could it be anything but?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Not Thrilled

I finally finished the bolero/shrug for Liat this afternoon. I am not at all pleased with the way it kind of bunches up on her back. It's not at all the way it looks in the photos on the website, and how foolish can I be for believing the photos were 100% accurate and honest?

After I saw the sweater on a live body, I went back and checked the pattern. Yep, I did follow the instructions correctly. I'm just not sure what happened. Maybe I should have picked up more stitches for the ribbed sections. Maybe I cast off too tightly (though it didn't seem like it at the time and the fabric wasn't gathered at all when I finished). Or maybe I need to tweek it a bit once she has it on, pulling it up over the shoulders some more...

Liat, being Liat, told me she likes the bunched up effect in the back (?!) and that it looks kinda "gangsta." That girl is just about the sweetest person in the world. Right now I can't face the thought, but maybe one day I will try re-doing the cast off and see if that helps. Otherwise, I might try redoing the ribbed portions that go around the waist and neck.

Or, I could always just leave it alone.


Oh, in case you were wondering, Liat is sporting some pink/purple streaks in her hair in honor of the upcoming holiday of Purim.