Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm Back (plus one!)

There are currently many needles occupied in this apartment. (There's probably some sort of ratio for that--how many knitting projects are underway vs how much academic work I should be doing. But we won't get into that!)

On one pair of them is a lacy scarf for myself knit from the delicious Tart colorway in Madeleine Tosh lace. I. Love. This. Red. It is amazing. But the pattern is a very slow knit.

Another is a Christmas project for my brother. (I don't think he reads this blog? But if he does: Anthony, STOP READING.) It's that odd grey thing with the blue bumps, which Doctor Who fans might be able to recognize as the beginnings of a dalek. This is my first experience with bobbles, and I must say that I don't like the amount of time they take to knit. I much prefer nupps, which are made over the course of two rows rather than knit all at once. But I'm more than halfway through the bobble rows, so.

Last but not least ... I am knitting a Baby Surprise Jacket.

Yes--we are awaiting the arrival of a new little member of our family into the world next April. This little person is already such a part of our lives! We heard his or her heartbeat several weeks ago, and in several more weeks we will get to see him or her for the first time on ultrasound (and hopefully find out whether it's a him or a her!). Until then, my mother is knitting a white baby blanket, and I am using what I hope are fairly gender-neutral colors for this jacket, although Keith likes to point out the pink stripes in there. (There's also blue!) But he is already convinced (and has me halfway convinced!) that it's a girl. We will see! :)

I don't think I'd ever wear one of those shirts that says "I'm so crafty I make people!" It seems a bit too flippant. But I must admit, it's nice to know on days when I'm tired and get zero work done that my body, at least, is doing some hard work on some important stuff. ;)

(I apologize for the horrible quality of these photos. It is a grey and drippy day here in Pittsburgh, and my camera is throwing tempertantrums when I try to use anything other than the automatic settings.)

Joining up with Ginny's wonderful yarn along!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Beekeeper's Quilt

I'm hoping to participate in a Yarn Along this Wednesday. I have been knitting--I completed that cowl I mentioned I was going to make, cast on a scarf, and am going to cast on some Christmas knitting later today.

In the meantime, I stumbled across a pattern called The Beekeeper's Quilt on Ravelry. At first I thought, "Cool, another way to use yarn scraps." I love the idea of scrappy things coming together into something lovely, but I would worry about it looking nice in the end--does this green left over from Keith's socks *really* look nice alongside the dusty-pink-carnelian from my cowl? I'd be tempted to go out and buy new yarn to make sure the colors looked well together, and that totally defeats the purpose.

But when I started browsing the project gallery, I really fell in love with this pattern, and now I'm convinced I must knit it someday. Probably next year, during the summer.

One of the reasons I love it--wouldn't this be a great project for people to work on as a group and then give to someone? A friend who is grieving a loss, or celebrating a new child, or going through any time of either celebration or sadness--how cool would it be to receive a blanket like this, knit by the hands of many friends? People could just use yarn from their stash, or buy new yarn cheaply; I'm betting it's not that difficult, so that knitters at any level could do it; and though gauge would be pretty important so that the hexagons all fit together in the end, it seems like coordinating such a project wouldn't be that difficult!

I love the portability of it as a project. I also love how some people adapted the pattern to make cushions for wooden chairs, or pillows.

But what really sold me was the designs that some people added, either in the knitting itself or embroidered afterwards. Bees (of course!), foxes, owls, sheep, beads, flowers, hearts, constellations, argyle ... I love the whimsy behind this; I love the "I spy" sort of quality it would give the finished project, and I'm sure kids would LOVE having a blanket like this where they could find all the little treasures. And how cool would it be to knit one of these for every child's first birthday? (Okay, I may be getting a little ambitious here, but think about it: one hexagon per day, then stitch em all together and you've got a birthday blanket!)

So that is how I've spent the past twenty minutes or so--browsing through the gallery for inspiration. I may spend another twenty minutes doing so. But I needed to take a sharing-break. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Squirrel Tales

Today my husband tried to feed our psycho flea-infested squirrel.

We know he's flea infested because he walks around itching himself all the time. Also, we strongly suspect that he might have been the reason *I* had fleas in this apartment all summer. (It was awful--I was the only thing in here they had to eat, and my legs looked like I had some sort of disease.)

We know he's psycho because he tries to get into the apartment, we think because he wants food. Twice now we caught him clinging to the window screens looking in--straight at us, no less. The little bugger has no fear.

He also makes a lot of noise. I never knew that squirrels made noise until I lived in my last apartment and a bunch of them were chasing each other around during mating season ... but seriously, it's a rasping, shrieking noise that sounds like something dying a horribly painful death. Not at ALL something I would have imagined for them.

Now, I do not say any of this because I hate squirrels. I like them. I like their tails. I think they're cute. But when Keith and I got out of the car this afternoon and the squirrel started following us towards our porch, I scurried inside pretty quickly.

And Keith got a slice of bread and went to feed him.

Apparently, however, this squirrel is too good for our bread. He didn't want any. I'm not sure what he thinks he'll find in the apartment if he doesn't like our food, but there you go.