Saturday, February 17, 2007

Twin Happiness

I have two wonderful daughters, fifteen years apart! They are my pride and joy and I have loved every minute of motherhood. Some minutes, of course, I would have paid someone to take them off my hands, but, as does labor, those minutes fade from one's consciousness.
However, I daily thank my lucky stars that I did NOT have twins. I admire mothers and fathers of multiples. How they make it through every day is a feat that should be studied by efficiency experts. I know that I would not have survived to the first birthday of a set of twins, should I have had a set.

My daughter's choir director had a set of twin boys four days ago. This woman also has a 2.5 year old daughter. She is a middle school choir director. And the director of three youth choirs at our church. And the director of another serious youth choir. And she does solo performance work. And, did I mention, that she just had twin boys??? I've had a hard enough time making two blankets for the boys, much less pushing them out during LONG labor, then feeding them, diapering them, feeding them, diapering them.......
Last October I knit this fabulous Debbie Bliss Alphabet Blanket for the baby, that was later determined to be two babies. I used the softest acrylic yarn every produced--by Pinguouin--called Mousse. I'd been waiting to know of a baby so that I could make the pattern. The knitting was great fun, but I didn't want to repeat it. It requires a pattern at one's disposal for every other row. Bummer.
I knew I had to make another blanket for baby #2. I know that twins are close, but I didn't think they would want to share their lovey blanket. So, I had a problem. The Mousse yarn has been discontinued for quite a number of years. The yarn I had was in my stash for who knows how long. Fortunately, I found more of the same yarn, in a brighter blue, on E-Bay. But, I didn't have a lot of time to complete the second blanket. And, I wanted something I could knit without keeping a pattern at my side. So, I decided to make Bonnie Evans' Pinwheel Blanket, found here on the internet. then I started to worry. What if Baby #2 was jealous of Baby #1's fancy alphabet block blanket?? Would Baby #2 develop an inferiority complex because his blanket was plain?? And, what would the mother think??? Fortunately, the pinwheel blanket has ten segments. I knitted in the numbers from 1-10, in reverse stockinette.
After completing half of the numbers I realized that the numbers would have been more recognizable if I had done them in seed stitch, rather than reverse stockinette. But, I was knitting on a deadline and I was not about to rip out the interior of the blanket. There are some limits to which I will not go for a baby blanket-- that will absorb spit up, spilt milk and worse. The "9" above looks pretty good, but the "1" below gets lost in the curling of the reverse stockinette. I tried blocking it, but I know the acrylic will "sproing" back to its curling. I don't think the mother will notice--she's got her hands full with other matters now.
I applied the same lace edging that was on the Debbie Bliss blanket, so that the two blankets look like fraternal twins, even if they are not identical twins like the babies. I used an acrylic called Smooth, dk, by King Cole. It has the glow of a satin blanket edging. I thought that the babies might like to chew on the edge, and this yarn should stand up to chewing better than the fuzzy Mousse. I would not recommend the Smooth for anything that requires backbone. It is the drapiest stuff I ever used and it was hard to keep the yarn on the needles, even when using bamboo.
Here is the entire pinwheel blanket. I love it. the numbers worked out great. Not that I would like to have twins myself so that I could knit another one, however.

My 15 year old decided the blanket made a great shawl. But I don't think she would want to wear it outside of the house!!
Earlier this month, Brooklyntweed posted a nice retrospective of some great Komi mittens he made last year. He commented on how well they were standing up, etc. Well, my retrospective pales by comparison. Below is a pullover I made for the 15 year old when she was 9 or so. I used a Sirdar yarn that was nothing but fuzz held together with thread. I couldn't tell when I was knitting or purling. In fact, although the pattern called for ribbing, it was impossible to tell that I had ribbed, or when I had dropped a stitch! And, I couldn't tell front from back or inside from outside (it was knit in stockinette). In fact, the 15 year old calls it her "dryer fluff" sweater. She never wore it when she was 9, or when she was 10. But, when she was 11 she wore it when the weather was so cold that she couldn't stay warm. Since then, she wears it on the coldest days of the year, but not out of the house. Somehow, the sweater grows with her!! the sweater looks just as good (or bad, depending on your point of view) as the day it slid off the needles.

I'm wondering whether she will take it to college with her???
My next retrospective is a modified tote bag from a Just One More Row pattern. I used leftover wool warn from my stash instead of the Himalayan Silk called for in the pattern. And, I made a ribbed strap/handle that I attached to the side gussets rather than the I-cord short handles attached to the front and back panels. And, I lined it and the handle/strap. I love it. I have used it for three years now and it still looks as good as the day it slipped off the needles!! Everytime I am in public with it, I get comments from men and women alike. Knitters and non-knitters. Of course, I live in the snowy, down-home, unfashionable Midwest where we can get away with almost anything. But, I love, love, love the bag. I loved the construction and the knitting. I did not love making the lining, so I outsourced that part of the project to my mother. (she hates to knit, but has sewed for about 70 of her 81 years. She wanted to know what she could get me for christmas, so I allowed as how I would love a lining for my purse....)
Finally, I give your this belated valentine strawberry. It was in the box of strawberries I purchased for Valentine Day dessert. I hope you had a loving day with your family and/or friends.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Fabulous February

Ah, I love February. Christmas is done; the Christmas ornaments, decorations and tree are packed away (we hope) and we can get on with the serious business of enjoying winter. Finally, here in Wisconsin, we have snow on the ground, bright blue cold skies, and serious winter temperatures of 0 Farenheit at night and in the single digits during the daytime. Snow crunches underfoot and all the knitted hats and scarves come out of the closets!!! My daughters leave the house wrapped in items I made for them. It warms a mother's heart.

My Komi mittens, from Charlene Schurch's book Knitting Marvelous Mittens are finished, felted and on my hands keeping them warm!!! In my previous post, I proudly showed how I had inverted the color design on the palm of the mitten, just for fun. I blithely did the same on the second mitten, but forgot to watch for the thumb placement. Rats!!! Pay attention, Gail!!! Oh well, no one notices that my mittens are different for each hand and I kind of like the "joke". I love looking at the difference in the patterns on each hand. I also made a matching earwarmer/headband using the Mountain Colors yarn. Today ears need to be covered to avoid frost bite.
I just purchased a new computer--a MacBook laptop. I love it, but am still getting used to the programs. I thought I had adjusted colors and turned all the photos to be right side up, but when I went to load them onto Blogger, I only found the original photos to upload. The colors in the mittens should be brighter and they should be standing up. But, you can get the idea, I hope.

I am also having a great time designing a blanket for one of the twins expected soon by my daughter's choir director. My daughter is 15 and she has been singing with this director since she was 4 years old!! I made the first blanket in October; it is Debbi Bliss' Alphabet Blanket that you can view here. I used Pinguoin Mousse that I had in my stash from decades ago. Because the yarn was discontinued, I couldn't purchase any more of it for the second blanket. Then, I searched on E-Bay and found some Mousse in another color--a bright turquoise type blue!. Perfect!! The twins are boys.
I am using the Pinwheel Blanket pattern as a base. Because this blanket has ten segments, I decided to put the numerals from 1-10 into it. I didn't have time to figure out how to match the lace alphabet letters, so I am doing the numerals in reverse stockinette stitch. Great fun.
Here is the chart I made for the numbers.
And here's the blanket thus far. (whoops, don't know what happened with the coding, but since the photos are there, I won't worry!!)
catch(e) {}" href="">I know, lit looks like a great big tam at this point. But, if you look carefully at the knitting closest to the needles (on the middle left) you can see the beginnings of a number!! I don't know if the twins (boys) will ever read the alphabet letters and numbers on their blankets, but I know the mom will.

As if I don't have enough to do already with my three courses (Spanish Advanced Grammar, Instructional Design and Technology and Children's Literature) and my family knitting projects, I started a blanket for our church auction. Ten of us are knitting squares for the blanket out of Cascade 220 using colors that "match" our church building; the building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and is a National Historic Landmark. We are making diagonal squares and will assemble them along the lines of Tikkupetto's blankets. Check her design #44. Here's my first square--at least half of it!! We hope the finished project is fabulous that that we sell lots of raffle tickets for it!!

And, not last but least, is this lonely sock from one of Lucy Neatby's patterns--the Marietta sock. I love Lucy Neatby's sock patterns, and all of her patterns. But they do require some attention with the brain and not just the fingers. I'm not sure when I will have time to knit this sock's mate. I long to have both socks on my feet, but will have to wait until I have time to knit for myself again. First, I have to finish that pinwheel number blanket, then the Dale of Norway sweater for husband. I hope it will still be cold outside when I finish that second sock!!