Thursday, December 15, 2011

Finding the Time

I feel like a broken record, coming here week after week to say "I haven't had time to do much, but here's what I have," but sadly it remains true! I'm cramming knitting time in between other things, and there are times when I'm just too tired to knit. But, I leave for my Christmas vacation next week, and there will be plenty of plane and car time for knitting, so I'm hoping I'll catch up some then!

In the meantime, I'm still managing to make progress in small spurts. Exhibit A - my wedding shawl.

I'm into chart C. This shawl is sort of like a diamond with rectangular panels attached to its top two sides. To achieve this, you start out in the round, and then cast off the bottom half of the diamond, put half the remaining stitches on holders, and knit the wings side to side. (I'm sure there's more to it than that, but I haven't gotten that far yet.) The cast off is done with the same crochet loops that Romi has used on some of her previous designs like Fiori. I've ordered some teardrop-shaped pendant crystals. I hope to put them on the little crochet loops - although examinations of the FOs posted to Ravelry at this point seem to suggest I might want to lengthen the chains slightly to accommodate this. I have two concerns with this plan: 1) Will the crochet chains fit through the holes on the crystals? 2) Will I look like I plundered a chandelier? But, there is no way to know except to knit, so the crystals are ordered. If I'm really lucky they'll get here in the next few days. I haven't decided whether I'm taking the shawl with me on my Christmas trip - I have some concerns about it getting dirty or messed up, or that the crystals won't arrive and I'll be stuck. Maybe I'll take the second skein of yarn with me and knit the lace strips I'm hoping to make to go on the bouquet on the trip. We'll see.

It's finally gotten cold here (mostly. the cold is very indecisive.) so I've been trying to finish out the third part of the matched set CodeNinja requested all that time ago.

Fingerless gloves. This pattern is Urban Necessity, which I have knit many, many times. I had the first glove all the way to the fingers when I decided it was too big and ripped the whole thing out to do the next size down. I'm not exactly sorry, since the fit is much, much better now, but - well. If I hadn't had to do that the gloves would be done. As it is, they are not done.

But I'm almost finished with the thumb gusset on the second one, so the end is in sight. Once I make it up to the fingers, the rest is fiddly, but quick. I did make one modification to the pattern this time around, which was to rib the ends of the fingers so that they don't roll back as they have in gloves past. It's a brilliant idea and I feel dumb for not thinking of it four pairs ago.

My office had a potluck and "dirty santa" exchange today, and though CodeNinja kindly took care of the potluck part for me, I failed to plan ahead on the dirty santa thing. So, last night at 11:30 p.m. I was sitting on my bed, frantically threading beads on metallic yarn to make this:

I would have started half an hour sooner but somehow the metallic yarn didn't end up with the rest of the yarn when we unloaded and sorted the craft room, so I was frantically dismantling the carefully sorted piles of stuff in my basement trying to find it. It was a risky move. I'm already tired and overall short on sleep, and to add to that, I stabbed myself rather brutally with the needle I was using to thread the beads while trying to dislodge one bead with a particularly small hole from the eye of the needle. That could have impacted my knitting capability for weeks, but it seems to be doing all right now, and I was able to solider on and complete the ornament shortly before 2 a.m. I'm somewhat consoled for my loss of sleep by the fact that the ornament hit the maximum three swaps in the dirty santa exchange, and, after a hard-fought battle, the winner was my boss.

I'm also slightly tickled by the fact that, out of sheer, blind coincidence, because the only thing I was thinking last night was "which ornament pattern has the fewest beads" and "anything but red, I'm so tired of red," I managed to do the ornament in our company colors. I was totally floored when someone congratulated my company spirit over it!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Best I Can

Readers may find this somewhat difficult to believe, but preparing a wedding, preparing for Christmas, preparing for the merging of two households' worth of stuff, showing up at work everyday, and managing all your normal activities, is rather time consuming. I reviewed The List yesterday and emailed CodeNinja the following:

"How is it that we've done all this work and yet I can't find anything to cross off The List?"

He replied, "Clearly The List is flawed."

I let pass his impugning of The List, sighed, and repeated my mantra of late - "Oh well. We're doing the best that we can."

I lost most of this past weekend to the picking of china patterns and the beginning of the wedding registry lists, so I was bound and determined last night to finish off the reorganization of the yarn stash and to get it loaded back into the craft room. I have mostly succeeded:

The yarn stash and the cross stitch stash have now been reviewed, purged, put neatly in bins, and loaded into the craft room closet in the most accessible manner I could manage. Really, I didn't do much with the cross stitch stash, except consolidate it into a single box. It doesn't take up much space and cross stitch will always have a place in my heart as the first craft I ever attempted, so it stays. I did sort a couple fairly large bags out of the yarn stash to donate, mostly of stuff I got very early in my knitting career before I knew what I liked. One of the small bins in that picture is entirely full of leftovers that I can't bear to get rid of for some reason. It's too much yarn to throw away, not enough to donate, and I occasionally have delusions that I'm going to make one of the many 'leftover' blankets out there (yes, I have seen the beekeeper quilt).

Although, this still remains:

This is my pile of WIPS - smaller than when last posted, to be sure, but I don't want to put these back in the closet where I can forget them, so I need to find them a home that is relatively in sight and accessible. Also in that pile, finished cross stitch projects I've never framed, which I would like to steam and have framed so I can hang them up, in the craft room and/or office.

Determined to do some knitting after all that work, and trying desperately not to think about exactly how much Stuff is left in the basement to be sorted (I have far more stuff for scrapbooking than for any other craft), I worked on what I hope will become my wedding shawl, MadroƱa in JulieSpins Glimmer lace.

You can't really see it in the picture but there's a thread of stellina that makes it sparkle. It's not much to show, but you know - I'm doing the best I can.