Friday, April 28, 2006

Baby Blanket

Here is the baby blanket I am making, showing front and back. The striping is much more attractive on the front than the back. The back is interesting, but the front presents the look I really wanted. Incidentally, the colors are much brighter and prettier IRL; either the camera or my monitor just is not getting the colors right.

The pattern is very easy: it's just garter stitch. I do 2 rows in each color, so I get a solid ridge of garter in each color. However, there is a twist. I am very lazy about weaving in ends, so I decided I wanted to carry the yarn along the sides of the blanket. But with 4 colors double-stranded, I did not want to carry them all along one side. So I am carrying 2 colors on one side and 2 on the other. When I am using the colors carried on the right side, I knit. When I use the colors I am carrying on the left side (when I am essentially working the piece backwards), I purl. I am using circular needles so I can just flip the piece around and work it from whatever edge I want (although I did put it on straight needles to make it a little easier to take this picture).

So it ends up working like this:
Rows 1 & 2, 5 & 6, 9 & 10 : Using Blush (light pink) from the right edge: Knit.
Rows 3 & 4: Using Violet (purple) from the right edge: Knit.
Rows 7 & 8: Using Cream, starting from the left edge: Purl.
Rows 11 & 12: Using Orchid, starting from the left edge: Purl.
Then you go back to Row 1, and repeat the pattern.

There probably is an easier and better way to do this, but this is what I came up with.

When I am finished, if I really don't like the way the pattern looks on the back, I may end up sewing on a lining to hide it. I will decide when I am finished. If I don't sew on a lining, I will definitely have to do some kind of edging to neaten up the sides. Even carrying only 2 colors per side is looking a bit messy--I am probably carrying the colors along for more rows than the experts would recommend! Oh, well. Hopefully, it will all turn out all right. I love the feel of it.


C's caterpillars have tripled their size since their arrival last Friday. We are all having a great time watching them inch their way around their little jars. Soon, they should make their chrysalides, and we'll be able to move them into the butterfly garden pavilion. We'll keep you all posted!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

What the Earth is Like

C (dd-7) has written a song, which I post for you all here. We have been suggesting she submit it at school for the upcoming poetry contest. It, um, kind of fizzles out at the end, but it has potential.

What the Earth Is Like

Once there was an earth with no soil or dirt
Once there was an earth with no grass
Once there was an earth with no flowers or trees
Once there was an earth with no blue sky
Once there was an earth with no dark black sky
Once there was an earth with no sun.

Let us make some soil and dirt
Let us make some grass
Let us make some flowers and trees
Let us make a blue sky
Let us make a dark black sky
Let us make a sun
Let us make a moon.

Now the earth has everything.
And that's what the earth is supposed to be like.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Opening Day is a Wash Out

It is pouring here in lovely New Jersey today. It's going to be beautiful tomorrow. It wasn't even that bad yesterday. But today is awful. And, unfortunately, today is Opening Day for the township baseball and softball leagues, complete with parade, celebrity appearances, etc. Bummer.

Here is C in her uniform. They are the Purple team, and need to pick an appropriate name. A is on the Minor League Florida Marlins. I don't have a picture of him at the parade because it was pouring by the time I found my way over to his team and I was afraid to take out the camera.

The celebrities got to make all their speeches under a tent, while hundreds of kids and their parents stood in the rain in the outfield. Still, it was nice, and we are hoping for a good season. Rich is the coach for A's team this year, and I think he might be a little nervous.

Go Purple! Go Marlins! Go Sunshine!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sock & Bar

I mailed out my application to take the state bar exam on Thursday. The application nearly was an exam in itself: 28 pages of questions intended to ensure that I am fit to be a New Jersey Lawyer. Hm.

I reacted to this "accomplishment"--I am giving myself far too much credit for this, after all, I only filed the application--by retreating into handicrafts. Specifically: socks.

Socks seem to be the New Big Knitting Thing. So many knitters are making socks. Sock yarn is everywhere. And it looks so cool. Every knitting blog I read on the Internet talks about socks. So I guess it was only a matter of time before I knuckled under to the knitting peer pressure and tried my hand at some socks, too. Hey: I've just signed myself up to take a 2-day-long test. What I need now (before I start studying) is to learn a completely irrelevant new skill. I know that makes no sense. But it's how I feel.

This is what I have found out so far. Knitting socks is really the process of wrapping woolen thread around toothpicks, but doing it in such a way that you end up with a rather cool shape. I've even learned a few new skills: the provisional cast-on technique, and using short-row shaping (correctly) to sculpt toes and heels.

So, there must be some way to translate this into my professional future, right? I can sit for hours at a time, rotating five little sticks in my hands to create this carefully shaped item. This says something about my patience, my perserverance, my ability to ignore bodily discomfort, and my willingness to allow my children to raise themselves while I figure out just what the heel turn will look like when it's done (oh, so that's what they mean).

I'll do fine on that bar exam. I have several hours into this sock already--probably more than the whole bar exam will take. The tiny yarn and needles are making my fingers nimble, so writing those essays will be a piece of cake. The only fly in my ointment is that I will have to put down these socks in order to study. And then there is always the actual lawyering that will come after that.