Finally unstuck

After about a zillion redos, I finally finished my pine trees for the quilt! It was late when I finished, but I stayed up a little longer so that I could sew the lake and land pieces together.

I think they turned out so well, and the colors are so cheerful even in the dark grey light we had this morning. I ended up keeping the trees exactly as they were, but replacing the water strips with light and medium tones, so that the dark greens didn’t bleed into dark blues. The tree/water divisions are much easier to see now then they were.

Also, I only had to change two of the squares — the upper right and lower left tree piece. It took a few attempts to make those two squares work, since it’s easy to go too far and make the water too light, which was distracting. Once the top piece was in place, the two middle squares actually looked fine as they were.

Here’s a closeup:

Once I took the photo, I realized that there’s still one fix to make: I’m going to rip out the dark blue strip in the top row at the far right, and replace it with a medium tone. Otherwise, it would be too dark to contrast properly against the dark blue-greens of the opposite shore. :-) But that’s a very tiny change — mostly it just feels so good to have that bottom half all stitched together at last!

PS. I’m on my last spool of thread — I’m so curious to see if it’s enough to finish.

Week 3

This was a great week with a brutal finish. Everyone (except for newbie TE Pope) played well on Sunday, and on Monday morning I was up 82-80 with only Drew Brees left to play. I should have pulled him (everyone on Court’s team had gone) and played without a QB, but I left him in, and he sacked and interceptioned his way to -2 points. In my league, a tie goes to the team with the winning QB, and since Court’s Peyton Manning managed to stay above zero, he won the match. 0 and 3, due to coach error. Major bummer. :-/ And after 16 points for the kicker, too!! (Who, it should be noted, outscored LT for the second week in a row — nasty pattern.)

QB
QB Drew Brees, NO -2
RUNNING BACKS
RB LaDainian Tomlinson, SD 15
RB Marion Barber, Dal 24
RECEIVERS
WR Deion Branch, Sea 15
WR Jacoby Jones, Hou 2
TE Leonard Pope, Ari 0
DEFENSE
D/ST Patriots 10
KICKER
K Matt Stover, Bal 16
BENCH
QB Jason Campbell, Was 8
RB Michael Pittman, TB 8
RB Leon Washington, NYJ 7
WR Muhsin Muhammad, Chi 2
WR Donte’ Stallworth, NE 2
WR Reggie Brown, Phi 2
TE L.J. Smith, Phi 0
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE 8

Secret baby knitting

Kevin’s cousin just had a baby girl, and so I had a great time figuring out good baby knitting for a gift. I ended up choosing the Elizabeth Zimmerman February baby sweater, the Saartje booties, and the Vine Lace Baby Hat ( the non-pointy pictures are adorable). The yarn was Butterfly Mercerized Cotton (Super 10), in color #3882, a deep periwinkle/blue. The buttons came from Windsor Button in Boston, MA (the mystery flower buttons in this post). I used 3.5 mm needles on the sweater and hat, and 2.5 mm needles on the booties.

The Saartje booties turned out so well, and look to be about a 3 mos size (I made the smaller version). The hat was also adorable, but fit the 8 lb newborn at birth – she definitely has a big head, but I think this hat runs small. And I made several changes to the sweater. First of all, my yarn knit at 6 st/in instead of 5 st/in, so I cast on 60 and increased at a rate of two every five instead of one every two. Then, I ran the divisions for the different body parts at 26 for the fronts (including a five-stitch button band), 35 for sleeves, and 49 for the back. I started knitting buttonholes at row 4.

If I knit it again, which I probably will, I’ll make the sleeves a good inch, at least, longer than suggested. (Two might not hurt.) I stressed about the increase rows showing up in the yoke, but the effect, at the end, was actually quite good, so as long as all increases are done on the same side, I’m a fan.

I love the front – it’s cute, the lace is pretty, and the buttons work for once. :-)

But that said, I *LOVE* the back. Something about that lace, and the garter stitch, just makes you want to hold a baby. It’s evocative and perfect.

Finally, here are the too-cute booties (and finally an accurate photo of the color of the yarn). The buttons took me two tries. The first time I tried to sew them in, I used the same yarn as the sweater. Blueish yarn + white buttons look like eyes (see bootie on the right). It was so distracting. Lesson learned.

I sent the package to Kevin’s mother so that she could deliver it, and some of the first baby pictures that we got included the hat! I didn’t mean to be pushy, hopefully people were just amazed at that large head. :-)

Week 2

Ouch. Keith had an amazing day: Steve Smith had 8 receptions for 153 yards, and 3 of them were touchdowns, which gave Smith 36 points. Ouch. Unfortunately, the rest of his team kept pace. My defense outscored his Seahawks 13-1, and my kicker won 9-6. But when you’re playing someone with 137 points, and your kicker outscores your #1 slot running back, there isn’t much hope.

Marion Barber had a great day — I like that Julius Jones keeps marching the ball down the field and that they give it to Barber in the endzone. And it’s encouraging that Brees managed to score positive points. Also, Deion Branch finally had some touches. Once again, maybe next week will be better?

QB
QB Drew Brees, NO 11
RUNNING BACKS
RB LaDainian Tomlinson, SD 5
RB Marion Barber, Dal 22
RECEIVERS
WR Reggie Brown, Phi 2
WR Donte’ Stallworth, NE 1
TE L.J. Smith, Phi 1
DEFENSE
D/ST Patriots 13
KICKER
K Matt Stover, Bal 9
BENCH
QB Jason Campbell, Was 12
RB Michael Pittman, TB 2
RB Leon Washington, NYJ 0
RB Tony Hunt, Phi 0
WR Deion Branch, Sea 13
WR Muhsin Muhammad, Chi 0
TE Tony Scheffler, Den 0
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE 8

Sorry that it’s been so long

Oh, man, I’m far behind. I got lulled by my lack of bloggable photos and didn’t post, and now all sorts of interesting things have happened: the start of (fantasy) football and the related knitting, the back deck gardening success, the baby born (and sweater, etc. revealed, finally), the quilt progress and regression…

Usually I cope with lack of posting by just putting up five posts in a night (RSS feeds be damned), but for some reason this all feels intermingled, so this will be the longest post ever. Sorry?

So first of all, I went to the Farmers’ market a week ago Saturday. My intention was to pick up flowers, peaches and veggies (all of which were accomplished with the typical farmers’ market glee), but there were a few fun additions. I ran into Pam from my knitting group at the skirt stall, fun. And then after I was done shopping, I returned to the booth and bought one! (My Christmas stocking had a bit of fun money in it, and though we’re a full ¾ of the year later, I found something great to use it on. :-) Nice! )

Here are the farmers market flowers with the front of Isabella. I’ve finally made it to the lace – the knitting is so, so much more interesting now. I’ve made quite a few more rows since this photo and they’ve just flown by. All of the football in the last week hasn’t hurt the progress!

The plants on the back deck have been entertaining. The tomatoes are going strong. I’ve picked five so far, and there are at least 10 more in various stages of ripening waiting in the wings. The beans keep appearing – every time I give up and expect the end, I see 7 more waiting to be picked. No complaints! Best snack ever.

The strawberries just started blooming again a few weeks ago, and the fruits are closer and closer to being ripe to pick. And, exciting to me, the poor pepper plant that got overrun by the beans, is actually making peppers regardless. How cool!! Definitely runty and late, but I’m just delighted by every sign of progress.

And finally, I’ve been working on the pine trees for the quilt. They’ve been weighing on me ( a classic case of unexecutable vision), and I finally charted and started to construct them last weekend. Here’s the result about a third of the way in…

Since then I’ve been finishing and ripping back squares without quite finishing anything. I LOVE the deep-dark pine tree colors up close, but against the lake and land business, they don’t really work. I’m struggling to come up with a reasonable solution… so far I’ve tried improving the tree/water contrast (helps, but not enough). Next up is mixing in more medium greens to go with the darks. I may have to switch to mountains and hills and then return to this – I love the squares but they just don’t fit the quilt.
I meant to write about the baby knitting as part of my catch-all post, but then realized that it would be easier to have my pattern notes separate. So, to be carried on in a later post… :-)

Sunset!

Now that it’s getting darker earlier (booo), we’ve actually found ourselves heading across the water at sunset. Here are some pictures on the way to a Brown dinner…
On the 520 bridge, three great shots. First, the Olympic mountains…

Then, Rainier out the back window of the mustang:

Then the UW stadium, the Olympics, and Lake Washington:

And finally, from I-5, the sunset and the space needle (love all of those cranes in the foreground!):

Week 1

This was a deflating start to the season. LT pulled it together for 17 (though that really doesn’t compare with some of last year’s numbers), and Marion Barber was decent. The Patriots D and the kicker contributed some. But my #2 draft pick Drew Brees just gained and lost the same three points over and over, my wide receivers didn’t do anything, and my bench doesn’t give me hope for next week. Eric played a Seattle trio of Shaun Alexander (my disasterous first pick last year), Maurice Morris, and DJ Hackett (who wasn’t even playing due to injury), and beat me 68-50. On the plus side, things have to improve next week?

QB
QB Drew Brees, NO 0
RUNNING BACKS
RB LaDainian Tomlinson, SD 17
RB Marion Barber, Dal 14
RECEIVERS
WR Deion Branch, Sea 0
WR Reggie Brown, Phi 1
TE L.J. Smith, Phi 1
DEFENSE
D/ST Patriots 9
KICKER
K Matt Stover, Bal 8
BENCH
QB Jason Campbell, Was 4
RB Michael Pittman, TB 3
RB Leon Washington, NYJ 4
RB Tony Hunt, Phi 0
WR Donte’ Stallworth, NE 1
WR Muhsin Muhammad, Chi 0
TE Tony Scheffler, Den 0
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE 8