February 2009


Just when you thought I couldn’t possibly get any cooler…

Yes, that is indeed a spinning wheel.  I just got it three days ago, and I LOVE it!  My friend Joanne graciously gave me some wool to use for practice, and I have some more coming in the mail, but so far not any of the fancy hand-dyed stuff.  I figure I should wait until I’m less likely to break the yarn in the middle of spinning or have it come out in very varied thicknesses before I start playing with the good stuff.

Spinning is surprisingly soothing…it’s great to do while watching a movie that I don’t really care about, as it doesn’t make too much noise (Danny’s main complaint about the sewing machine) and once it gets going I can glance up from time to time.  I definitely need more practice but I’m really psyched about getting better at it.  I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to make from this first batch of yarn…it’s not super soft, so I’ll need to figure out something I can make where it won’t matter if it’s a little scratchy.

I’ll have to come up with a better title if this is going to become a regular feature, but I always think it’s fun to see what people are working on so I may as well include some of my own projects.  No real sewing projects yet, but once I figure out where the heck the fabric store is (somehow “you go down to Kizilay where the pedestrian bridge is, and on the left side of Ataturk Blvd there’s this pasaji and there are fabric stores there” doesn’t inspire confidence in me that I could actually find it) that will change.  I want to make curtains for Stephen’s room and ours, and even try to make some of his summer clothes.  I figure little knit shorts with an elastic waist probably aren’t THAT hard, right?  T-shirts kind of scare me, but maybe someday I’ll work my way up to that.

For now, the projects are all knitting.  I’m working on a pair of longies for Stephen, out of a heathered blue wool yarn that I’m hoping will make them look sort of like jeans.  Only knitted.  And out of wool.  And with no zipper or pockets.  But whatever.  These pants are my first attempt at Magic Looping both legs at the same time (hence the two balls of yarn in the picture).  So far it’s going okay…I’m not sure if I like it better than just using a small circular needle yet, but I do prefer it to using double-pointed needles for sure.  Since I’m usually too forgetful to count the number of rows for the first legs while I’m doing it or keep track of how many I’ve knitted on the second leg, I’m hoping this method will increase my chances of ending up with two legs the same length if nothing else.

My other project is a pair of socks for me.  I usually hate doing anything on small needles, but I’m kind of enjoying these.  I’m using a self-striping yarn, which is fun because I get to knit with different colors without having to weave in a thousand ends from changing yarns every three or four rows.  After the intarsia baby blanket debacle I’m still not ready to do something that will entail weaving in a lot of ends.  I’m also Magic Looping these (sensing a trend?).  This is the second time I’ve started these particular socks…last time I got about this far on them before Stephen found them lying carelessly on the couch (I had forgotten he could now pull up on the couch…) and pulled out all of the double-pointed needles I was using and unraveled part of the knitting.  He thought it was great fun.  I, on the other hand, was less than thrilled.  This time around I’m protecting them a bit better.

narnia In an effort to keep things a little more interesting during the day for Stephen (I mean, I may love the idea of knitting and reading all day long, but it probably wouldn’t be much fun for him) I’ve decided to start reading aloud to him for a couple of hours every day.  He’s just started really showing interest in listening to stories, but he’s not yet interested enough in the pictures to sit still for them, so I figured I may as well take advantage of that and read him some of the longer children’s books that I loved but that don’t have any pictures in them.  I’m starting with The Chronicles of Narnia, but eventually would also like to read him Doctor Doolittle, The Secret Garden, Little Women, and the Roald Dahl books that I have from my childhood.  He seems to really like listening to Danny or me read while he crawls around, and has even started pulling out a book and dragging it over to us.  They actually have a toddler story time at the base library, but it’s at 10am, which is right smack in the middle of his morning nap, so until he’s down to one nap a day (no time soon I hope) that will have to wait.

Wow, I should do all projects that are only 10″ square apparently.  I love the instant gratification of finishing something the day after I start it!  I’m done with my first square, and have already cast on the second one.  The first one ended up being only 9 1/2″ wide, so I knit it to be 9 1/2″ long as well and then crocheted a border of single crochet around the edge to make it exactly 10″.  I think it turned out pretty well!

For the second one I’m trying the method of knitting it diagonally so that it’s easy to make sure it’s exactly 10″.  I started with 3 stitches, am increasing one stitch every row until the side measures 10″, and then I’ll decrease 1 stitch every row until I’m back down to 3 stitches.  One of the ladies in our knit night group sent out directions for doing this, and it’s pretty awesome to be able to make it a perfect square without having to worry that my gague is off.

My local knit night group (that’s right, we have a knit night here.  That’s how we roll up in Ankara) has decided to make a blanket to donate to afghans for Afghans — I’m so excited because it’s something I’ve wanted to do forever but have never gotten motivated enough to actually make a whole blanket to donate.  So everyone in our group has been asked to knit at least one 10″ square, and when we have 20 we will sew them together into a patchwork blanket.  I started my first one this morning, and am planning to try to make a few since they go pretty fast and it’s a nice mindless, manageable project I can do as a break from trying to learn to knit socks, which is my current obsession.  I really want to try to crochet a square to get better at crocheting — I can do it, but I’m really slow and inefficient.