Saturday, May 19, 2012

Knitting a Juggling Ball

Reeve and Kyle have been having a lot of fun with their juggling sticks lately. They are also wanting to learn how to play with a hackey sack. I thought it would be another fun thing for them to learn how to knit and sell at our market booth on Sundays. I found an easy pattern through Ravelry. I didn't have the sock yarn that the pattern called for (haven't attempted to knit socks yet, though I really want to!), so I improvised with what I had in my yarn stash. Stella is holding my first attempt below...
 The ball is knit using four double pointed needles. My Mom gave me my first knitting lessons about 4 years ago, and I've been winging it since then. I knew something was not quite right when I finished the "top" of the was inside out. I just went with it and picked up my cast on stitches to knit the center section with the new yarn color. No matter how I knitted or purled or a silly combination of the two my center section ended up purled on both sides! I knit several more balls in frustration and for whatever reason I could not figure out how to do it correctly.
 I also did not like the color change in the middle. For me it created another loose end to work into the ball. On my first attempts, after the kids had really played with the balls my worked in ends started to come out.
 Enough was enough and I set out to adjust the pattern. I wanted it to be one yarn throughout. I didn't want to have to pick up any stitches for the center. I wrote down my steps and took a few pictures along the way. Stella has a necklace around her eyes...she's such a goofy girl!
 Reeve trying out my new pattern. The old pattern calls for filling the ball with lentils. I actually did that, but then got to wondering what will happen when the hackey sack gets wet?!! We live in a rainforest after all!!
 Rice doesn't work for filling because it is too small. I think I might try popcorn, but I really want to find something I can use that is local. I should think that volcanic cinder (we have this in abundance!) would break down and turn to dust after a lot of use. I know of a beach that has smallish rocks and if I ever make the trek down that way again I will gather a few pails full to test out in the balls.
 You can see my adapted pattern by clicking here. The hardest part is the beginning when you have 7 stitches separated on 3 needles.
 I'm all for patterns that start out difficult, but then get easier. Makes them more fun to finish.
 Recently Reeve and Kyle have been entertaining Stella by secretly going out into the yard and constructing fairy houses for her to find.
 Tom caught her first find on camera...

 The fairies used moss, a coconut shell, and some items from inside our house. Stella is now on the lookout for fairies flying in the house...they are so sneaky! See the black in the picture below? That's not mud, it's not soil, it's hard lava! We have very little soil here. The most I've seen is about 6" in some low spots in the yard.

 Stella can fully dress herself these days. She wakes up, goes to her clothes and picks out what she wants to wear. Then finds a necklace to match and gathers her hair bands and clips. She nicely asks me to "do" her hair. She's very patient while I brush her hair and put it in a pony tail, or pig tails, or both and some braiding too! She did not get this from me! Reeve and Kyle never picked out their own clothes until they were much older (like 5 or 6) and they always wore what I picked out for them. Not Stella. I've picked out things for her to wear and she flatly tells me that they will not make her look pretty. I tell her that she is pretty in anything if she smiles and is happy because being pretty is not about what you wear, but about how you are inside. She then sweetly smiles and asks to wear something else that she picks out.

 On Mother's Day I took the day off from going to the market and went to town on the yard. I started out with our string can't use a lawn mower here because of all the lava rocks and puka (lava holes). I busted all the strings fairly inventive partner is in the process of testing out different strengths of wire vs. the plastic "strings" I've been busting. Hopefully it will be dry enough for me today to test out the wire strings.
 The white sticks you see in the picture above are some citrus trees that the previous owners had planted. On Mother's day I wanted to celebrate mother earth so I spent the whole day working in the yard. It was lovely! I fertilized all the fruit trees in the yard. I never fertilized before, but it is essential here because we get so much rain.
 Above...bananas forming. Below... another citrus tree I found and put a protective white guard about it's we know where the skinny fruit trees are. The guard also helps protect the trees from the ducks and the string trimmer. The boys helped me wee around some pineapples the previous owners had planted and we fertilized them as well.
 They are difficult to see, but there are a good dozen pineapple planted by the boys in this patch. I think they take about two years to develop into fruit. Every time we eat one we plant the top in the "pineapple" patch.
 Below is a Myer's Lemon and we're not sure what the other tree is called. I think I will remove it. It's too close to the lemon and it doesn't appear to be a type of citrus...I'm thinking it's an avocado???
I also planted three citrus trees that the previous owners had never planted. That was a task! I had to use a special metal bar to break up the lava as best as I could. They say if you can find a good puka (hole) that you can just plant them there, but there were no puka where I wanted to plant them.