Thursday, August 13, 2015

I finished the chair cover this weekend, after chasing down another yard of fabric from two fabric stores in different parts of the county. It's not beautiful, but it works to serve the purpose I need it for. I also found two more skeins of yarn for my mother's shawl, which is half finished now. And I also found time yesterday to hand sew the hem on a tablecloth for the extra table this year at Thanksgiving. Now we just have to figure out where to put it.

What I didn't do this weekend was read. Every time I started to read my library book, I fell asleep like a narcoleptic sloth. At this rate I'm going to have to take it back to the library unfinished, just like the last book I got from the library. And the one before that. They are never so good as to be worth renewing or checking out again...guess I need to select better literature.

I can't wait until all this holiday knitting is over. I have deliberately not planned another project, because I think I'm going to have another go at the Master Knitting program I bought. We'll see. I finished the blocking report, which was the hard part (for me), and some of the swatches. Now I have to finish the rest of the swatches, the questions, and the final project, which is a hat. All of which I intend to do after Christmas. I'm actually looking forward to it.

Happy Knitting! And Happy Turkey Day!

This morning I'm heaving a hefty sigh of relief. I finished the shawl for my mother yesterday afternoon, before the Bears even started playing. I didn't have time to wash and block it, but that is a project for tonight. Then I will photograph it and post the pics here.

So now it's back to the golf vest, which I also need to finish by Christmas. And I've decided to make a hobby horse for Conner by knitting, felting and mounting a horse head on a stick, complete with reins and a wild mane. I even found a pattern in a book. Not that I couldn't eyeball it, but with a pattern I will knit that much faster. I'm hoping to get it done for Christmas also, or it could be a birthday gift in March, too.

I also had an idea for a table mat that I want to try, if I can find the yarn. It involves colorwork, and stranded knitting in particular. It's not a Christmas gift, so it can wait.

Last, but not least, a shout out to Teryn, from my knitting group, whose birthday is today. Happy Birthday!

And Happy Knitting to you all!

It's a real pity all this work keeps getting in the way of my knitting...I have mypriorities straight, but everyone else....sigh!

This weekend I've got to make a serious commitment to do laundry and knit. That golf vest isn't going to knit itself! Not that I'd want it too. At first I thought it might be a good idea, automated knitting, I mean. Parts of this sweater arereally tedious. You know, like Molly Weasley's knitting in Harry Potter? But then I realized all I would be missing by not knitting this sweater. A sense of accomplishment is just the beginning. There's the calming effect of knitting, something that keeps me knitting even the most mundane stitchery. There's the delight of giving away said knitting, which is something I love to do. Gift knitting is my favorite kind, especially when it's not obligatory. And there's the experience of learning a new pattern or a new technique. Fun! Very satisfying when you finally figure it out. Like a three dimensional puzzle, in many ways. But mostly I just like to knit. Yarn is pretty. Fire bad. Simple stuff.

I keep seeing that commercial on TV where the girl sings an addendum to the Twelve Days of Christmas, listing all the things she doesn't want her family to get her again this year. She sings that she really doesn't need another needlepoint pillow to her Aunt, who dumps her needlework to the floor with a clatter and storms off. It always makes me laugh and wonder uneasily if people feel that way about the gifts I knit them. One year, when I first started knitting, I knitted everyone on my list of 16 people a pair of socks. I slid the socks in the ball band so they'd know how to take care of them. Someone in my family actually accused me of buying pairs of socks instead of real gifts, mistaking the ball band for a sock wrapper. Since then, I'm very careful about who I knit for. Not everyone appreciates handmade items. Not everyone reads well, either. If they'd rather believe that I bought the socks, then by golly, I'll just buy socks and hand them out. Damned if I do...indeed!

Enough of my grinch impersonation. The truth is, I still knit gifts for people, and I'd do it whether or not they appreciate them. Anyone can go out an buy a nice gift, be it the perfect gift or a gag gift. And what have you really spent? When I knit a gift I spend money, time and thought. It's a real gift, from me to them. It says, your worth it to me. I try to knit practical things people can really use most of the time. Mittens, or a hat, or a sweater or a toy to play with. Nothing purely decorative that just takes up space. Something worthwhile. The only better gift is food, because you can use that up and be done with it, even if you regift it. Some years I've made cookies or candy for people as gifts. Then they don't have to find a home for the item. Because we all have a limited amount of space in our lives, I think. Even better than food might be a gift of service like washing someone's car or cleaning someone's house. That's easy to store and who wouldn't appreciate service?

Gifts are tricky things, you know? I think I'll just stick with knitting. It makes me happy. Want a hat?

Happy Knitting!

Today's post is brought to you by the words "slow" and "steady", as in "Slow and steady wins the race." This is a tried and true moral from the Aesop fable "The Tortoise and the Hare." What it means is that you may not be the quickest one in the race, but if you keep going you'll eventually cross the finish line, maybe even first.

In knitting, this is also true, although the "race" is not so well defined. Knitter's often race with themselves, or race against time. They rarely race other knitters. That would be silly. In fact, racing at all in knitting is generally a bad idea, like drinking. It leads to mistakes that cost extra time, not save it. The quicker you want to get something done, the more likely you are to ignore gauge, or take shortcuts, or fail to read ahead in the directions and miss a crucial set of instructions you are supposed to be doing at the same time.

With Derek's golf sweater vest, I have attempted to channel the meaning behind "slow" and "steady." I really want to get this sweater done before Christmas, so I have something nice to give Derek, the man who wants nothing. BUT IT'S TAKING A FREAKING LONG TIME!

Here is how I feel after all my hours of knitting:

That's just the front of the sweater vest. I still have the whole back to do, which, admittedly, is going to be stockingette stitch. Otherwise, I will never finish. Sure, I've developed a bit of a rhythm on the cables. No, I'm not ripping out half of what I do anymore. Yes, I've been knitting in the morning, at lunch, and after work. So why is this taking so long? I. Don't. Know.

It's like my knitting has dropped into a black hole of stitchery that never goes anywhere. I knit and knit and knit and there is no progress. The back is going to fly by compared to the front. That's my prediction. There. I've put that out in the universe and I'm holding the universe to it.

At least I don't have to do sleeves...

Happy Knitting!

Finally, finally, finally I have finished the front of the vest! Around 4 am this morning, but the important thing is that it's done. Of course, I immediately cast on for the back, but I had to wait until later so I could root around and find the contrasting yarns that make up the hem. I didn't want to wake the household, after all. Now I'm finally up and going on the back, silly things like work get in the way and make me wait to work on the vest. Harumph!

No pictures today. My cast on seemed to uninspired to waste time photographing it. The weird thing is, I cast on 181 stitches for the hem on smaller needles, just like on the front, but I have to decrease by 34 stitches for the body of the back. Without the cables, I apparently need far fewer stitches (147 to be exact) to get the same width in stockingette stitch. Oh, and I'm only going up one needle size for the body. Does this seem excessive to anyone else? I even swatched it for good measure. All I can do is try it and see what happens, I guess. I'm used to increasing for the body by 5 or more stitches, not decreasing.

Last night I gave a bread making lesson to BlondKnitter and made sausage cheese rolls for dinner, then made up the gingerbread men for Meg and the office. I was tired after that, so the gingerbread boys didn't get decorated. Turns out they're pretty good plain. It's a good recipe. Lots of butter. And so you know, I resisted all the "nude men" jokes that came to mind. I must be developing a filter.

Well, onward and into the breach, my friends! Happy Knitting!

Here is the beginning of the back of the golf vest. I still have a few more rows to go before I change needle sizes and decrease drastically for the body. I have my doubts.

At last it's Friday. I'll have all day tomorrow to knit and do laundry. Hopefully, I'll make some serious progress on the back. If I'm lucky, the SciFi channel will have an apocalyptic movie marathon on to keep me company. Both kids are studying for finals and Derek has work stuff to do, so I won't get to finish the Christmas shopping. That's okay. I did most of it on line today. The stuff will probably arrive just before or while I'm in South Carolina visiting my mom, so I hope it doesn't get opened, or someone will ruin their own Christmas surprises.

I need a second traveling project for low light situations, meaning it should be light colored and not too small of stitches. I could do a quick sock project for Papa. He wears the same size I do, so that's easy. I wonder what color socks he likes? Probably black, but that defeats the purpose of a low-light project, doesn't it? How about blues or cream wool socks? He wears a lot of denim, which would go well with those colors. I'll have to check the stash.

Happy Knitting!