Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

It's all princesses all the time around here. Funny thing is, they've never seen a Disney movie, but somehow they know all of the princesses. I blame pre-school.

By the way, Grammy made these gorgeous costumes. She said the other day "I don't know why I never made anything like this for you guys when you were little?" I know why - it's the same reason I don't make them for the girls now. It's called exhaustion.

Hope you had a good one!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

ZeeBee's All Around

Today's post is going to be about the ZeeBee Beanie. Have you seen this one? I noticed it was published in 2004, yet I somehow missed it until recently. The ZeeBee trip started innocently enough. My husband is in a band with 2 of the nicest "old bachelors" I have ever met. They respect and appreciate my knitting obsession as a creative endeavor. More importantly, they support it with gift certificates to the LYS in my neighborhood. For this, they are rewarded with knitted items at the holidays. It's a win-win situation really.

A few months ago, I blogged about the scarf I have already finished for one of the band guys. The other guy is more of a hat sort of fellow. I was recently casting about for the perfect hat pattern for him and came across a ZeeBee knit out of sock yarn. My husband declared this the "perfect Doug hat" and so it shall be.

As I started digging into my custom generated hat pattern - really cool - I realized that this pattern called for a couple of knitting techniques I had never tried. So, I decided to make a practice ZeeBee first.

Pattern: ZeeBee Beanie
Yarn: Caron Felt It
Time to Knit: About 4 hours!

The new skills picked up with this knit include: crochet cast-on and short rows. Can you believe I never had an opportunity to learn short rows before. They are so fun!

Also, yes, I did change the cast on to a normal crochet cast-on. The way the pattern describes casting on seems like a lot of work to me. The crochet cast-on worked really well.

Overall, super easy little project that was lots of fun. The bonus is that because of the stretchy nature of garter stitch, this hat fits everyone in the family. It looks like V. has taken charge of it though, declaring it "Soooo soft mommy!"

Notice there are no pictures of the back of the hat. The one thing I still have to figure out is how to graft in garter stitch. I grafted this first one with normal Kitchener stitch and made a beautiful stockinette seem. Oh well, V. could care less. I did look around and found some interesting articles on the subject. Hopefully I can pull it off for the next one.

Here is ZeeBee #2, the real one. It's about 1/4 done in this picture. So far, so good. I think there may be more of these in my future.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

An Old Finished Object

Today was a big day here at chez counting. I finally bound off the pink sample I've been working on for over a month. What a great learning experience that one has been! I have mentioned the yarn weight before, but I don't think I've mentioned that it was cashmere. Gorgeous, incredibly soft and very fragile. Add to that the fact that it has a propensity to stick to itself and you can see why there was a steep learning curve. I told some folks last night though that I wouldn't trade the experience because now I feel like I can knit with anything. I'm sure something else will come along and kick my behind soon enough, but it's a fun feeling for the moment.

Because this project is a sample, I can't show you any pictures. However, I think it's OK for me to say that I think it is going to be beautiful when it is blocked and finished. I can't wait to see it and am hoping there will be pictures out on the web someday.

So, since I finished something today, I feel like showing a finished project. In place of the "pink thing" here is a test knit I did for Chrissy's Gardiner Yarn Works pattern line earlier this year. I've shown it to a few of you in person, but have never blogged about it.

Yarn: Sweet Socks from the Sweet Sheep, 1 Skein
Colorway: Wild Blueberries

This is a great little pattern. It's a good one for someone who understands the basics of lace and wants to try a triangle shawl. Chrissy designed it to see what she could make with 1 skein of Sea Silk. Her sample is absolutely beautiful and I highly recommend knitting it with the recommended yarn. At the time, I wanted to knit it with something I had in the stash and had been saving this yarn for lace. I really like how it turned out.

I have a few of these "pre-blog" finished objects that I'm thinking about dragging out when the blogging topics get low. Who doesn't love to see a finished object? Of course, I hope to be kicking the Christmas knitting into high gear around here as soon as I finish the other "knit for hire" project I'm working on. So, hopefully, there will be plenty of finished objects around in the near future.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Something to Distract You

We finally have gorgeous fall weather today and, after a weekend of sickness around here, it could not have come at a more welcome time. I decided to take advantage of it today and take a bunch of pictures of things I plan to blog about over the next few weeks. This time of year, you never know when the dreary weather will come back, so it's important to soak up and take advantage of every gorgeous moment we get around here.

Knitting is continuing on the samples, so nothing new to show in the knitting front. Instead, I thought today we could take a look at one of the books in my collection of children's books.

The Daddy Book by Robert Stewart, Pictures by Don Madden
McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1972

I found this little treasure at a yard sale two years ago. It is in pristine condition, I don't think it was ever opened. It is all about Daddies, as the title would suggest and is pretty progressive for 1972, with pictures like this showing fathers in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors.

It shows Daddies in a variety of professions, including hair dresser, acrobat, poet and window cleaner, among many others. I noticed there were no "stay-at home daddies" though. Oh well, I suppose even now that would be unusual in a children's book.

The illustrations are great. Every other set is the two color black and orange. On the alternate pages, you find these brilliant, colorful illustrations of all sorts of dad related stuff.

I love this one of the dad playing horse with his kids. So cute!

Of course, this was published in 1972, so there are a few stereotypes, specifically around sex roles. I'm sure my girls would be confused by the idea that the jobs on these pages are "mommy" jobs, since daddy does most of them far more often at our house...

Overall though, this is a really fun book.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Very Tiny Finished Object

It feels like it has been awhile since I've checked in over here on the old blog. Ravelry is lots of fun, but has not been entirely responsible for my absence. Life is just busy.

On the knitting front, I'm still plugging away on the sample I'm knitting. I've actually been asked to knit another sample for All About Yarn. Even though it is also lace, it will be my "easy, taking around town knitting". So, all the knitting happening around here is for other folks...hmf. Interesting. I'm at the point where I am enjoying both though, so I think that makes it OK.

I did complete a very little project on Saturday. I started it in the early morning, when A. got up at 6:00 AM. Then worked on it during the second installment of the lace class I taught and finished it in the afternoon when the hubby and I ran around and did some errands. Details below.

By the way, am I the only one who has given up all driving when the hubby is in the car - so that I can knit? What a bonus! Since he can't read in the car and doesn't knit, he is always happy to oblige and takes on all of the family driving. I actually feel sort of cheated when I have to drive myself places now. I am so spoiled.
Pattern: Baby Hat from One Skein, size small
Yarn: Classic Elite's Lush, aprox. 20 grams
Time to knit: About 3 hours, maybe.

This project has been riding around in my knitting bag for months, so I decided to finally just work on it and it was done before I knew it. It seems either my husband or one of his band mates is always asking me to knit up baby gifts, so I thought I would just get a step ahead of them and have a gender neutral one waiting in the stash.

By the way, I love this yarn. It is so soft! I recommend at least touching it if you see it in your LYS.

Friday, October 12, 2007

So Cruel

Today I finally received my Ravelry the middle of my work day. Sigh. I did sneak over and take a peak, actually a couple of times. I hope to get to spend some quality time with it some time this weekend. I can hardly wait!

I was really surprised to get my invite today. I hadn't checked the status in about a week and thought it was going to be sometime in November before I received mine. They must have really stepped things up.

My name is "Imcounting". Come find me if you are already on Ravelry.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Pickle Eyes

Today as V. was studiously watching her father she said "Daddy, your eyes are the color of pickles. You have pickle eyes!"

Later, she ran into the living room shouting "Mommy, mommy, I looked in the mirror and I have pickle eyes too, just like daddy!"

I love 2.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Some Things I've learned this week

I've learned that I/we can handle 4 little girls for 48 hours and not only not have any major issues, but actually have a really good time. I was reminded once again, as I have been so many times since becoming a parent, that sleep is overrated and I can function with remarkably little of it. I was also, blessedly, reminded of how sweet it is when you get it!

I've learned that if you do your prep work and have an open mind, teaching a knitting class is really fun. I think it went OK and I really enjoyed the time I spent with my 3 students on Saturday.

I've learned that my "Fall Into Autumn" swap partner, Rhonda, received her package and seems to really be pleased with it. I am so happy to hear it! What's even better is that we have had some great email conversations and, hopefully, will continue to do so. I feel so lucky to have been paired with her. Here's a picture of the dishcloths I knit for her. They are actually the Spa Cloth set from Gardiner Yarn Works. What fun and quick little knits they were!

Finally, I have learned once again that knitters can be some of the nicest folks around and I am so glad I found this hobby, or better yet "lifestyle", at this point in my life.

P.S. Still no resolution on the work stuff and while A. recovered from her other illness by Friday evening, she is sick with something else now. Oh well, 3 out of 5 isn't too bad...

Friday, October 5, 2007


Today I am going to take a cue from one of my favorite bloggers and write up a dotted list of topics. It's about all my brain can handle. So, in no particular order, here are the things rolling around in my head today:

  • Tomorrow is the first day of the Lace Class I am teaching. I am mostly ready, but am still working on a hand-out with some additional resources. I am nervous about this, especially since I found out there is actually someone signed up for it that I don't know. When I thought it was just going to be my friends in the class, I had a more casual attitude. I am looking forward to it though.

  • In about 10 minutes, some friends are going to be dropping off their 2 sweet little girls, who will be spending the entire weekend with us. The parents need to take a business trip sans children. I am flattered they asked us, but nervous about having someone else's kids for the weekend. By the way, the girls are the same ages as ours and already spend a lot of time around here. The other dad is also a stay-at-home dad, so he and my hubby hang out together a lot.

  • A. woke up with a cold this morning. I have told the parents of the other kids, but since they all see each other every day anyway, they weren't too concerned. Don't you just hate it when your kids are sick though?

  • I sent off my package to my "Fall Into Autumn" swap partner yesterday. Let's hope she likes it. I'll post a picture of the finished dishcloths when she let's me know she has received the package.

  • Finally, work, which I never talk about on this blog, is particularly unsettled and weird right now. So much so that I am taking my lunch break to blog - which is against my own personal rules. Not sure if I will ever say more about it than that, but wanted to mention it because thoughts about work are more prevalent for me right now than normal and are distracting me from living my life the way I want to.

So, to summarize. today's posting seems to be about my neuroses. Good to note.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fall Food

Over at the Fall Into Autumn Swap site they have been posting topic ideas each week that participants can use to spice up their blogs. None have captured my interest until this week. The topic is:

"Are there any recipes you especially enjoy having in the Fall? Any foods that are seasonal that you especially enjoy?"

My answer to this is a hardy "yes". I love to cook in the Fall and Winter, especially soup. I frequently make a big pot of soup that we have for lunches and/or dinners all week. One of my favorites is my own, very easy, Black Bean Soup. I have included the recipe here. Actually, it is so easy, it seems like a fib to call it a recipe...

Black Bean Soup

1 onion, chopped
fresh garlic to taste, minced
2 tsp olive oil
4 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 box of broth, chicken or vegetable, 32 oz.
Salt and pepper to taste

In large pot saute onion and garlic until soft. Add beans, broth, salt and pepper. Heat until warm through. Blend - I use a wand blender I just stick in the pot. Heat a bit more which helps it thicken a little.

That's it. I like to serve it with a little dollop of sour cream swirled in.

And because a post without a picture is no fun, here is the bowl of black bean soup I had for dinner tonight. It was yummy!

If anyone had told me 6 months ago I would be taking a picture of my dinner to post on the Internet, I would have told them they were crazy. Funny how life changes and this now seems normal...