Tuesday, December 30, 2008


My Christmas knitting deadline is tomorrow and I was determined to have the orchid mitts at least finished. They're small, they're relatively quick, that's totally doable, right?

No. Last night I got to the point where I was supposed to put the thumb stitches on the holder, only I had gone two rounds too far. Tonight, I picked back the two rounds and put the stitches on the holder, increased as directed and continued on...and found I was one stitch short. I backed up...still one stitch short. I put the thumb stitches back on the needles. Still one stitch short.

I am dead certain that I was counting those stitches at least every other round, if not more often. I cannot imagine where I lost that stitch. I can't find anywhere that a stitch was lost. I can't find any random extra decrease that I may have made. As far as I can tell the issue is not in the thumb stitches. I can't find it anywhere. I know that I could just increase an extra stitch and proceed, but frankly I'm afraid to do that without knowing where I went wrong. If there is a dropped stitch somewhere it will have to run eventually and that will be a problem. Still - I can't find one.

I put it down and decided to get out the other mitt and do the rest of the thumb. And...here's the really horrible part.

I can't find the almost-finished mitt. The SO and I have turned the house upside down (and discovered an extremely upsetting mouse nest in the process) without success. I called my mom to see if I maybe dropped it in their guest room. No luck. I'm terrified that I left it at the plane, and I'm certain that I had it here. Unfortunately, I have a very vivid imagination and I remember all sorts of things that never happened. I am sure I didn't take it out at the airport or on the plane, but again, "sure" for me is a relative term. And, even if I'm sure I didn't take it out on purpose, that does not rule out having dropped it out of the bag on accident.

I am extremely upset, not just because I don't have a present for my friend tomorrow, not even one completed mitt, but because this means that I will not be free of the Christmas knitting for even longer. The two things that I planned to knit for Christmas and I haven't finished either one of them and I am going to be knitting them FOREVER as punishment.

I know many people do not knit for Christmas do to this very feeling, but I really thought what I had on my list was doable (and it was, until work exploded, I got sick, and I added 3 other projects to my list).

I'm just so, so disappointed.

Monday, December 29, 2008

When the Christmas Knitting is over

I'm back at home, yay. More on that some other post. I need a moment of self-indulgence. I finished the mitts for my brother ("Just what I always wanted. A fabric tube"), the hat for my dad ("I thought you could wear it when you went hunting." "We usually try not to wear things the same color as the deer.") and the scarf for my mom was declared done somewhere around midnight or 1 a.m. Christmas Eve/morning, when it reached 3 feet and I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer ("Oh, it's cute!").

I still have to finish the Orchid Mitts and Whispering Pines. I worked on the second mitt on the plane and finished the cuff, so I'm working on the hand now. It's going fairly quickly and I am confident I will be able to finish it before Wednesday, which is my deadline.

I've finished the body of Whispering Pines and I'm all set now to work on the edging. However, it's kind of a lot to get done by Wednesday and I am working this week. Therefore...I may need an extension on that one. Dangit.

However, it is JUST BARELY possible that I might be able to finish it and I am going to knit like the wind until there is NO HOPE LEFT. But, the mitts are the priority because I see that recipient more often. Also, I am confident I can finish those. It's possible that if I worked on WP I might not manage to finish either and then I would really feel lousy. SO. A ways yet to go, but I am dreaming of new projects.

Therefore, I present to you, a list of what I plan to knit when the Christmas Knitting is done:

--Swirled Pentagon Pullover, a.k.a. My First Sweater (Valley Yarns Colrane)
--Hemlock Ring Blanket (Valley Yarns Northampton)
--Swan Lake (Jaggerspun Zephyr, ebony with hematite beads)
--Hamsa Scarf (Homestead yarn)

Things I'd like to get back to:
--Moonlight Sonata (Rowan KSH)
--MS4? Maybe? Eh. Not sure about this one...I've got a lot of stuff I would rather work on.

I have lost the coffee pot rock socks. I can't figure out what I did with them. I may have dropped them at church or something, or stuck them in a bag - as long as I didn't drop them in the road somewhere they should make their way back to me eventually. I'm well known to be the knitter. In the meantime I have started a pair of socks using the Blue Ridge Yarns that I got at Nature's Yarns a while back. So far, I have received no yarn for Christmas, so I may have a little sock yarn binge in January, because I'm definitely running low.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I'm leaving for the airport in an hour and a half!! I have been very occupied this weekend, cleaning and prepping and...


Packing. From the left: Scarf for my mom, Whispering Pines, Swish Superwash to make handwarmers for my bro, sock yarn (the coffee pot socks are MIA and I am very worried about what has become of them), the Homestead yarn (this has since been edited out of the 'stuff to pack' pile due to both space and time concerns), orchid mitts yarn

Will be postless for a week or so while I'm gone, but I'll let you all know how it turns out!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Well, darn

It's Monday and I have no progress to report. Zip. None. I was working fairly late most of last week, so I only got a row or two done at most each evening on the whispering pines shawl, but then on Thursday night I was completely leveled by the cold from hell. The timing was horrible since our Christmas musical was yesterday evening. In a choir as small as ours losing even one or two people is difficult. On top of that, I had a solo, and there was really no way for anyone else to learn it in time to take my place. I soldiered through it but it was definately not my best performance ever.

I stayed home Friday and I'm staying home today, but I haven't felt like kitting at all. All I want to do is sleep, and that hasn't really worked out for me thanks to my stuffy nose...woe. However, I do think I'm feeling better today, and my nose cleared up enough that I got an okay night's sleep last night so...here's hoping I'll be better tomorrow.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Just Keep Knitting

Friday was the ornament exchange for my church. I whipped together a container for my ornament as fast as I could, as pride would not allow me to just wrap the thing and be done with it. I'm pretty happy with the top:


But I thought the sides were kind of plain. I was out of ideas, short on materials, and like an idiot...I put the paper on first and came up with decorations later.


Which meant those Versamark snowflakes were stamped on a rounded surface. I am a moron. I used an angel punch and my little xyron to stick on the angels. All in all - not my best effort. I wish I had done the top first so I could have based the whole thing around that. The ornament stamp came from Angela's Happy Stamper. I used dark green opaque embossing powder and then cut it out. I adhered it carefully so that it covered up the smudge on the quote. That stamp also came from Angela's.

I put the same ribbon on my Tree ornament, added some tissue paper,


and off I went to the exchange. I got an adorable little snowman ornament, which I neglected to photograph.

This took knitting time away from Whispering Pines, but I'm still plugging along.


That photo shows the color pretty accurately I think. When viewed up close, like this:


It appears white, and you can see the bits of color running through it. But from a distance, as in the first photo, the impression it gives is of an ice blue. Very pretty. Anyway, I'm on the last tree, but every row is so long at this point that whenever I am called upon to describe my progress I use words like plugging, plodding, anything that gives the impression of doggedly toiling onward with your head down, making no effort to measure your progress because it will just discourage you anyway. Other knits are calling, I am trying to ignore them, even as my hands freeze off and the wind gets under my collar and my ears go all tingly (Okay, we have not quite reached tingly levels of cold yet, but the wind on bare hands is enough to make you think you are going to get frostbite just trying to get your groceries out to the car).

One of my friends sent me this for Christmas:


4 oz of hand-dyed fingering weight yarn from the Homestead Heritage craft fair. She got me some worsted last year that has been sitting in my stash waiting for me to get over the aversion to scarfs I had after beginning my knitting life with several. I actually washed one of the skeins last week to try and soften it up a bit, as it was a little rugged and a tad sheepy (If anyone has any solutions for the removal of VM I would love to know, as there is kind of a lot in those skeins).

The sock yarn is not rugged and has no VM and it is shiny and beautiful and the perfect color. It's hard to tell in the photo, but it has more of a semisolid effect to it. Very pretty. Too pretty for socks. I am thinking Hamsa.

I wore my Scheherazade to church on Sunday and two separate people told me they would pay me to make them one. My general reaction was uh, no...As appealing as extra money sounds, I don't think I want to cross that kind of line. I will make presents, I will keep mental notes about what people like, but I am not going to knit for money. Besides, I am pretty sure that is illegal under the pattern copyright.

I'm getting a bonus this year, and I plan to use it to buy a spinning wheel (probably an Ashford Kiwi). I did not make it very far in my resolution to drop spindle every day, so I may be setting myself up for disappointment or insanity by getting a wheel, but I am taking the plunge anyway. Used wheels generally keep a lot of their value.

I wonder if I could get the SO's mom to paint my wheel for me. She is a very good painter and I would so love for my wheel to be pretty. Maybe I can trade her some knitting for it! I don't know, though, would that affect the balance? Would it not spin as well?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How I Knit

I got the Yarn Harlot's new book, Free-Range Knitter, almost immediately when I came out. I found it to be more thoughtful and philosophical than funny - which I think is okay. I was particularly interested by her portraits of other knitters and how they go about their knitting. I found them a little difficult to follow. Knitting is difficult to picture when put into words, but I was still really interested. I've been looking at the way I knit a lot as a result, and I'm going to take a stab at trying to describe how I do it - even though I suspect it will be just as hard to follow.

I carry the yarn in my right hand, looped around my middle three fingers as many times as it takes to get a tension that I'm comfortable with, and then over my extended index finger to the needles.

I hold the needles palm down, with my thumbs facing me and my fingers loosely curled under. My left hand needle rests loosely pretty loosely with my fingers curled under them except for my index finger and thumb. On my left hand, these two fingers grip the needle near the tip to keep it from going anywhere. The first finger usually rests on the top stitch, keeping it from popping off the needle while I make my knit stitch in it. I think my left pinky finger is largely responsible for making sure I don't drop the needle, curled securely around the base of the needle and holding it against my hand. In my right hand, the pinky and ring finger are both pretty loose, with my ring finger barely touching the needle. Since my first finger is extended on the right hand, I hold the needle against my middle finger with my thumb.

When I make a stitch, my right hand puts the right needle into the stitch, and then, my left thumb comes forward to pinch the two needles together. Then, the fingers of my right hand let go of the right needle. The fingers of my right hand straighten and my right thumb moves inward to press against my middle finger, sometimes pinching on the yarn feeding from the loops around my fingers to my index finger, to keep it from sliding too far - sort of like I am making the number four, only with my thumb a little higher. The left hand takes the two needles together in a quick circle to catch the yarn, then my left thumb lets go, and my right fingers and thumb curl back around the right needle, and guide the needle back through the loop and knock the needle off the stitch. My left index finger moves the next stitch up on the needle.

Then I do it all over again. It's incredibly complicated and I'm sure I have done one or more fingers an injustice here and leaving one or more of their jobs out.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holy Crap It's December

The relativeness of time is probably one of the most bizarre experiences in human experience. The older I get, the faster time goes, and as I'm not yet even 30, it frightens me to think about what life will be like when I am my grandmother's age. When I think about any one portion of this year, it feels like it has whipped by, but when I think of last year, it seems like such a long time ago.

But you came here for the knitting, right, not my ramblings? Well...I have no pictures to show. I am lame. I'll try to take some tonight and post tomorrow. I did a lot of knitting this weekend but I'm not sure how much progress I really made. I worked on the coffee pot socks. I worked on the hat. I finished neither. I did both start and finish a pair of wristwarmers from Last Minute Knitted Gifts because the SO's mom has expressed (several times) a desire for fingerless gloves, and we were going to the Christmas tree farm, and I thought, wouldn't it be nice to give her a pair when she shows up in the morning? I failed miserably, but I was able to hand the completed pair to her on the way home (despite several mishaps that probably would not have occured had I not walked and knitted at the same time). And it took care of one ball of KP Swish superwash in my stash that had been there for a while, because I kind of bought, like, one of every color of Swish, without much thought given to "what would I do with only one ball if it did not go with any of the others?" So, while most of that sampler expedition has since become hats and various other things that can be made with two coordinating balls, I found myself left with one ball of grey, one ball each of two different blues, and a ball of copper, and not a very good idea of what to do with any of it. I could put the grey together with one other and make a hat but what would I do with the remaining two? None of the colors that would have been left would really have gone together. So, now, the copper is gone, and I will make another pair out of one of the blues (maybe for my brother's stocking, as they really don't take too long) and then the remaining blue and the grey can become a hat. (Incidentally, most of the hats I make also come from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, in the Kim's Hats section. I am very fond of that book.)

I did get some catching up done on the shawl so November was not a total wash as far as shawl-knitting goes. I finished the chart I was on (chart G) and last night I stopped one row short of finishing the next chart (chart H). It hurt to stop so close, but it was 10 p.m. and each row is taking me over half an hour at this point, and knitting after 10 never seems to work out for me.

I have two more charts before the edging. Chart J is about 37 rows, so it is both longer in the number of rows and longer in the length of rows than the two charts I just finished. Then I have chart K, which is a relatively small chart heightwise but, again, the rows just keep getting longer and longer. Then I move on to the hem edgings.

Despite the fact that I still have hope in my heart, in my head I must acknowledge that there is no way I will be done in time. I can only hope that I can knit enough while I am off for Christmas itself, so that I can finish it in time for New Years, which will probably be the next time I see the recipient. If I can just get to the hem edging before I leave for TX I think I can make it.