Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Post-Christmas Post

My mom was getting Lilah dressed this morning, and Lilah pulled the sweater I made her out of her drawer and asked to wear it! She told my mom, "Mama made sweater! Pretty pink sweater!" Awwww... That reminded me that I hadn't posted a photo of Lilah in her sweater! She's pretty cooperative with photos, but for some reason, she likes her photo taken sitting on her toy box. Good thing that worked out.

Here it is, the Lean Mean Green Toddler Blanket:

Pattern: Made up as I went along, but super basic. I cast on 180 stitches and did 16 rows of seed stitch, followed by alternating squares of stockinette and reverse stockinette (each square 32 stitches wide, about 48 rows high). Five squares by five squares. 16 more rows of seed stitch, then I bound off. It's about 40 inches square. I had five skeins of Cascade 220, and fortunately decided to hedge my bets and get a sixth. I could have fudged it by skipping the last two rows of seed stitch, but I'm glad I had the extra skein. If I'd had more time and yarn, I might have made it 8 squares high for a bigger, rectangular blanket. And it would have been nice to have done something interesting in at least some of the squares--initials, or animals in reverse stockinette.
Needles: Size 8 circular (40")
Yarn: Cascade 220 in Chartreuse (not an accurate name at all, it's more Grass) - 5 skeins plus enough of a 6th to do the last 2 rows

More knitting: I think I'll do a State of the Knitting in my next post, as this one is pretty long. Santa Claus brought me ten skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in a gorgeous blue, and I'm deciding between two patterns in an Interweave issue I just happen to have. Actually, I got it after seeing Rachel's Henley Perfected. I thought this Elann Peruvian Baby Silk in purple would work for it, but then I had second thoughts. And I was concerned about the fit, too, as far as the pattern part covering the, chest area without looking like it was being stretched in funny ways. I'm still concerned about it, but I do love the pattern. But also, fiddly! Maybe not as television-knitting as I need? The other pattern I'm looking at is much simpler, but I'm concerned it'll be too shapeless: The Gathered Pullover. The model doesn't look particularly shapely and it's hard to tell how it hangs by the way she's slouching. I've also only found project photos modeled by equally thin people, which concerns me. Anyone have thoughts? I also was thinking of another Somewhat Cowl but long-sleeved this time. I do like the green one I've made, but I rarely wear it because I don't wear short-sleeved sweaters. A fact I knew when I cast on, but...what can I say? I'm a process knitter. So what would you do with a bounty of Silky Wool?

Let's break for cute kitty pictures. I like how in the second photo, Geronimo is clearly thinking, "Come on, Mom. Lay off the camera already!"

Reading: I'm working on a State of the Reading for the year, and I almost fell over when I checked my LibraryThing for books I read in 2008. The number is 214 (and I might finish this one I'm reading before the new year). However, it was a light reading year, in one sense, because I only read 7-8 books I'd classify as Literature. That's really not a lot. I do rely on my kids' books (which I read really fast, thus inflating the total number) and mysteries for stress relief, but I'm not challenging myself enough. For 2009, I have a goal to read at least one serious book a month.

Writing: Do I even bother to set a 2009 goal? I think I need to, because otherwise, it's just sad. I have some improvements to my writing nook and I want to spend more (heck, any) time up there so I can finish up the mystery. I think I could do it in a month or two with serious effort. Lilah's sleeping has taken a turn for the better (knock on wood), which is helping with energy, so maybe I can stick to a schedule or at least take advantage of her naps.

Cooking: Not much during the holidays, really. I sold my stock of apple butter with no effort, leading me to think I need to invest in some equipment upgrades to improve efficiency (bigger stockpot, real canning pot, food mill). I really like the no sugar added apple butter. I'll have to look into finding citrus for marmalade this winter, then I'm excited to hit the pick-your-own in the spring. I got a copy of Mes Confitures for Christmas, which I'm really excited about. I already have ideas for spring berries.


YarnThrower said...

I have similar concerns about the Gathered Pullover. For the most part, I like the sweater, but I think it would fan out like a bell on me, and that is not a look I crave. My vote would be the Henley Perfected. Lilah is so adorable, and your sweater looks so nice on her. I love how your blanket turned out! I wasn't sure where you were going with that when you were starting it, but the final result is very impressive!

Glad to hear you're getting better sleep! (Probably just jinxed the whole thing by putting that sentence "in print.")

Happy New Year!

mle said...

Oh my goodness! I hadn't seen a picture of Lilah in a long time...she has grown so much! What a cute, cute little girl she is!
Nice of Santa to bring you the Silky Wool! Can't wait to see what you decide!

Anonymous said...

Lilah is adorable - so happy to see a pic of her. Lean Mean Green is great. Looks Springy outside on your sunny white bench. Thinking about berries also feels Springy!

The Silky Wool is gorgeous - just did a little Google to have a gander at it.

I think the Henley Perfected would turn out nicely (really it's only half-fiddly, right?). Did you check Ravelry pics for the other shortlister? There are 700 projects for the Gathered Pullover - lots of different body shapes there. I still think it might come down to the skill of the knitter, based on what I saw on Rav. The ones that looked not-so-hot I think might be operator error...

I'm crushing hard on cowls right now, so if it were me, I'd have a hard time resisting the long-sleeved version of Somewhat Cowl. Hmmmm. Happy choosing! And Happy 2009.

Jo said...

Whew! 214 books is great - I thought for a moment you were going to put my yearly total to shame :) I keep my daughter's list separate from mine, though. i have a blog contest right now if you want to guess how many books I read in 2008.

KnitPastis said...

So wonderful to see how Lilah is growing and looking pretty in her sweater. Love the blanket very much!

Holly said...

Okay, making my way through the 245 posts waiting for me in my Google Reader. Hmm....I really like the look of the Gathered pullover and I would lengthen the body and sleeves too if it were me. The Henley is pretty too. And I love Lilah's sweater and the toddler blanket. It turned out great! Holy jeez! 214 books! Puts my measly 50 to shame, but I know there was quite a bit of lighter books and rereading in there. :-) Looking forward to your Review post through. Back to our regularly scheduled email chats soon I hope! :-) OH! And I got a gift card to Knitpicks from Pat for Christmas! I can't wait to buy something. Though, what to pick...what to pick....

Stefaneener said...

So much -- too much to keep up with. I'm looking forward to talking preserves with you next year. I'm thinking of buying a big Maslin pan. Like I need something else.

The sweater and blanket are lovely; I'm sure your reading is perfectly acceptable, and good for you for setting goals. I'm just barely able to put one foot in front of the next these days. At least that's something, right?

Mary said...

I love the look of the gathered pullover, but I do think that it looks better on the waifs, your could add more waist shaping and/or bust darts, but I think the henley would look nicer without altering the pattern so much.
I love that Lilah is wearing shoes on her hands! So cute, and great that she wears something you knit for her! :)

String Bean said...

I love that Lilah has her hands in her shoes. So cute. She's getting so big! Nice sweater, mom.

The second picture of Geronimo makes me want to pinch his cheeks. Aww, such a sweetie.

I'm back! In case you hadn't figured that out. :D

Love the blanket, too. Kermit the Frog green.