Wednesday, April 26, 2006


The other day I said that I didn't have anyone in my life to knit baby things for.
My friend Erin is due with her 2nd munchkin in June.
I guess I just didn't put her pregnancy together with the new yarn because:
a) she gave me the good news while she was sitting there knitting a baby blanket. Yes, it's lame, but I don't often think about knitting gifts for people who are pefectly capable of knitting things for themselves and have them be exactly the way they want them (as if knitters don't like to be knit for?? silly.)
b) I've been on the lookout for people in my life with a little girl because I keep associating the "Purple Pansies" yarn I just scored with all things girlie (Erin is waiting until the baby is born to find out)
c) even though she's due in June, I only just found out she was pregnant three weeks ago.

Erin is a casual acquaintance. I met her a couple of years ago at my local Stitch-N-Bitch, and I think she's really neato. For awhile, we had a parent+kids extension of the SnB thing happening on a weekday in addition to our regular gig and I got to know her a little bit more. We've talked about hooking up just to hang out and/or get the kids together, but it's never happened. We're both pretty busy I think (which makes me is it I get so frickin' busy that I dont have time to be with friends?? This has got to stop. Life is too short. Must fix that. Now.) Erin came to see me peform last summer, and left me this awesome emotional voicemail as she was leaving the performance, thanking me for the dancing. That made me so happy.

Anyhow. I haven't been to SnB consistently (if at all) in probably a year. It's on the same night of the week that I have dance rehearsals for one project or another. But I've had a lucky streak the past couple of weeks. The director of the current project has only been running certain sections, so I've been free in some cases to leave early or come in late.

Three weeks ago (April 5) was my first time at SnB in a long time...and there was Erin knitting her blankie, an that is when I first I got the news about her little pending bundle o'joy. I was so happy for her. I wasn't able to go to SnB the following week, but last Wednesday (April 19th) I was able to pop in again. Erin was there, but she left early, and the second she walked out the door, there was this flurry of activity as knitters started pulling out yarn and swatches. The group had secretly been knitting squares to put together a blanket for Erin & Co. behind her back (and apparently under the cafe tables, too)... and yay!...there was still room left for one more square, so I was able to join in at the last minute.

I had to have it done by the following Tuesday though, for the Sewing Up Party. I needed to make a 10" x 10" square, and the yarn had already been purchased so we'd all be using the same stuff. I was handed a ziplock bag with a few people's remnants, and I had 6 days to whip out a little something special.

Seems simple enough, right?

That was Wednesday.
Thursday I swatched for gauge, because, you know...showing up with a 9" x 11" rectangle for this kind of thing instead of a 10" x 10" square can really make a mess. The gauge check was all the knitting I had time to do on Thursday. The rest of Thursday was spent doing household stuff so that I would not have to worry about the Emminent Decline of the Household during the intense dance audition weekend.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday was all about the dancing...

I'd reserved Monday for knitting the square, Monday night for blocking, and then Tuesday I'd show up at the party with my square.
Still seems simple enough, right?

Well, let's talk about my square, kids. For starters, I didn't have enough of any one color to do a solid colored square and just use an interesting textured stitch. My contribution was going to have to be at least two colors, and from the looks of things, proabably three...because I was guessing with just two colors I'd be running on fumes. It was hard for me to visually estimate because it was Lamb's Pride Bulky we were knitting with, and I don't have much experience with bulky yarns.

Here's what was going on in my ziplock:

So now I had to decide what the heck I wanted to put on this square. I remembered that a few weeks earlier, while volunteering at the elementary school library, my fellow librarian (also a knitter) was working on a child's top-down raglan, and I'd snapped pics:

I became obsessed with the idea of doing the bear thing.

But I also had to use three colors.

Looking at what yarn I had, I crafted a plan to knit the background of the square in the sage green, do up purple seed stitch border as I was going, and knit up the bear in the forest green.

Hmmm. Maybe this is where I should let you know that I've only done cables once (sometime in my 20's and it looked like crap)...I've only done stranded color-work maybe twice, and while at this stage I feel I am capable of both...speed knitting it is not going to be. Oh. And let's not forget: I don't have a pattern for the bear, just a photo, and I've never graphed anything before, either.

Ok. So off we go. To boldly go where this knitter has not gone before.....

I knit the square, and I knit in Little Intarsia Bear Dude, dead center stage. Turns out he's more of a bauble than a cable. But changing colors next to a bauble is a pretty big drag.

I run out of sage green yarn three rows from being able to make a 10" square. All I have left is the forest green, and I realllly dont want to throw in rows of the dark green on top of BearDude's head and make it look like there is some dark foreboding sky looming in baby-land getting ready to rain on his parade.

So I rip it all out and start over. I still need to get this thing done and blocked same day, mind you.

I come up with the idea to reknit BearDude into the corner and use a couple of yards of the red we were permitted to use as an accent, and make him holding a red balloon. Viola. It worked.

I ended up with this:

but get a load of this: that's what was left of the yarn when I was finished.

So last night was the Sew-Up, and it reminded me of being back in culinary school. Awesome space (I could move into Marianne's sewing studio). Totally fun bunch of people. Totally creative project. And the knitter's equivalent of too many cooks in the kitchen.

I was doing my best to stay out of the way (although I'm not often successful because I came into the project so late and I was also going to have to leave the party early, too... I didn't have enough notice for this one for me to work out a babysitting plan. MyFK came along with me, and he was actually fitting in just fine. He even sat and knit a bit on my Hello-The-Olympics-Are-Way-Over-By-Now-Shawl. He really liked looking at the different squares everyone made for the blanket, and on the way to the car even asked me if I would teach him how to change colors next. But it was a school night, and tomorrow is Day2 of state testing, so it wasn't the night for MyFK to be allowed a late one.

It was really a hoot watching everyone trying to settle on what method to use to piece the blanket together, how to deal with the inevitable 9" x 11" square that always seem to show up (dont look at me), how to arrange the colors and the directions of pattersnstripes, what color to use as the border yadda yadda yadda.

It all seemed to be coming togehter and it was a great time. I'm hoping someone will send me a pic of the finished blanket!


BeanMama said...

You will totally get to see it -- it's going to be another week before the ends are woven in and I get my hands on it to do the edging! So glad you got to participate!!

Anonymous said...

The bears! The bears are so cute! I love the square you did, of course, but those cable bears! What a great pattern.

You are so clever! I would never be able to sustain concentration long enough to do any of this. Hats off to you.

Anonymous said...

I love you square! Especially its cute little nubby arms. I'm surprised they picked so much gray for the blanket. Gray always reminds me of old sweatshirts with the neck cut out. Like in flashdance.