Sunday, February 23, 2014

Snow Day Sweater Maintenance

Guest room bed / blocking station

Last Wednesday night about 1.5 feet of snow fell on us, our biggest snowfall since 2010. That meant SNOW DAY! Snow days were a lot more exciting when I wasn't home every single day, but still. Since CP was home with us, I decided to use the day for a little sweater maintenance, and washed a bunch of well-loved knits.

This was a little tricky, since our washing machine doesn't allow you to just fill and drain it--my go-to method for soaking sweaters before we moved here. It does have a cycle called something like "extra gentle hand wash," but I just don't trust it.

So I set the machine for the gentlest cycle, but watched it like a hawk, stopping it before agitation started, and then switching to "drain and spin."

This seemed to work well enough, and now all my sweaters are freshened up to wear for the rest of the winter, or for storage.

This is one of the first sweaters I knit, Eunny Jang's Tangled Yoke cardigan. I'd love to do this over someday, with all of the yarn and knitting knowledge I've acquired since. There's nothing really wrong with it, but I think it could be better.

This is another oldie but goodie, one of the few summery knit tops I own, my Lotus Blossom Tank. The yarn, some kind of bamboo blend I don't remember, is holding up fairly well, but it's a rather weighty piece, and stretches out after wearing, so it's not in heavy rotation--too much of a pain to wash it after every use.

Here's the infamous Puff-Sleeved Feminine Cardigan that was nearly a disaster after I ran out of yarn. This one is starting to show some signs of wear, and needs to be de-pilled. This is not a good maternity cardigan, though, so it's going to be put away until the fall.

Another non-maternity sweater that's going to be shelved until next season, my Backward Cable Pullover still looks fresh, despite a little pilling under the arms. This yarn is a silk blend, so it's not too heavy, and I'm looking forward to (hopefully) fitting back into this one.

The last 2 sweaters are pieces from Alana Dakos that I've blogged about relatively recently, both holding up quite well. Twigs and Willows is in heavy use because it's SO warm. Wildflower is more of a spring sweater, and will be a great maternity cardi with the open front.

How are all your winter knits holding up? Any maintenance tips to share?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday: This is a True Story

Well, kind of. It's the type of true story where the basic facts are true, but some of the details have probably been altered a smidge over the years.

But embellishments aside, this is the (mostly) true story of my last name.

 That's me! A long time ago!

(Why am I telling you this? Well, as I publish more designs, people sometimes like to talk about them. And sometimes even on podcasts! But then they get to the part where they have to say my name, and I feel bad for them, because through no fault of their own, they're going to mispronounce it. )

Once upon a time in the early 20th C, my great-grandparents emigrated to the United States from Poland and settled in the Baltimore area. Their last name was Janczuk. It was pronounced "YAN-sook" or something close to that (my Polish is limited to about 5 words, and most of them I don't pronounce correctly).

At some point, it occurred to some member of this family that opening a bar would be a great way to make a living. 

During Prohibition.

This was clearly not the greatest idea ever voiced by a member of my family, but there you have it.

Needless to say, they were caught, and the bar shut down.

Once Prohibition was over, they thought it would be a great idea to try opening a legal drinking establishment. Unfortunately, the powers that be weren't in the habit of issuing liquor licenses to individuals caught shilling booze when it was illegal. 

Funny, that.

So, another brilliant idea occurred to someone or other--we'll just change the spelling of our name!

Unfortunately, whoever had this brilliant idea didn't have a great grasp on American English. Because said person decided that removing the "z," spelling our name "Jancuk" and pronouncing it "JAN-uck" made perfect sense.

So there you have it--the story of my nonsensical name.  Now you know how to pronounce it, and also a little about my crazy family.

Happy Throwback Thursday! Na zdrowie!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, JJ!

My sweet little peanut turned 1 on Sunday!

I can't really wrap my brain around it--an entire year has gone by, and he's becoming a real little person. He's not talking yet, but he understands a lot. If you ask him for a kiss, he'll give you one (well, ok, he'll kinda gum the side of your face--close enough). When his annoying toy Scout says "I love you," he gives him a kiss too. He spends most of the day bringing me books to read to him. When I sing the Winnie the Pooh song, he'll crawl over to his giant Pooh bear and bop him on the head. He's walking more and more, feeding himself, jabbering nonsense all day long.

We celebrated on his birthday with a big party, lots of family and friends. Despite the fact that I nearly forgot to give out the favor bags I put together, and did forget to set up the "Pin the Nose on the Lion" game I bought for the kids, I remembered this important Polish 1st birthday tradition:

You present baby with a shot glass, a rosary, and a coin, and see which one he picks. He made a grab for the rosary, but changed his mind at the last second and went for the money.

Apparently the shot glass was his second choice, he seemed more interested in that than the cake.

(For the record, my parents cannot remember which my sister and I picked.)

He was really unsure about cake. I made him his own smash cake, but very little smashing happened.

Though he did briefly consider this option.

And he got more toys than any baby needs. We actually put a few away--with a birthday right after Christmas, it's a toy deluge, and then a toy drought for the rest of the year, so we plan to spread them out a bit. At least until he's old enough to catch on.

JJ wanted to share the fun, so he advised me to put the Javi sweater pattern on sale in honor of his birthday.

So until February15, you can pick it up for just $2.99. No coupon code needed, the discount will be added automatically after you put it in your cart. Enjoy!