Thursday, January 11, 2007

Digging for roots

So it's been almost a week since my last blog post. Lest you all think I've reverted to those anti-knitting feelings of my first trimester, let me reassure you. I have actually been knitting quite a bit (more about that in a moment). However, I have also been gripped by the rediscovery of another obsession...genealogy.

See, here's the thing...over the holidays, the mother of my niece sent me an invitation to a three-day free trial at, so that I could search and view scans of cool things like census records, birth registers, etc. I accepted the offer and spent a few days gleefully doing searches of my husband's ancestors. (Why my husband's ancestors and not mine, you may ask? Well, searches for my own ancestors typically turn up BUBKUS. Unsurprising, really, since on my mom's side we're Christian Arabs in Lebanon and Syria, and on my dad's side we're Eastern European Jews. Basically, a genealogical records wasteland all-round. Whereas my husband's ancestry is mostly English and Irish, where there are vital records a-plenty.) I had enough successful 'hits' doing this to get completely and utterly hooked, and since then I've been back on the genealogy bandwagon.

Admittedly, the bandwagon would be easier to drive if my free trial hadn't expired, but I've still been able to do little bits here and there. Most exciting is the fact that I've been able to order birth, marriage and death certificates from the General Register of England. UNBELIEVABLY cool, that. I started with the birth and marriage certificates of one of DH's great-grandmothers and then could not resist ordering some more to keep uncovering more ancestors. (Don't tell my husband I've ordered five more certificates...I haven't figured out how to pay for them yet!)

So this is what I've been doing with my nights this past week, instead of blogging about my knitting progress. However, since I have kind of hit a research wall at the moment (despite DH's discovery tonight of - unfortunately, it doesn't yet have records for the time period I'm interested in), and since I'm still waiting for those five certificates to show up on my doorstep, back we go to blogging.

The Girlfriend Shrug for DD
I knitted to the halfway point of the shrug (i.e. one sleeve plus half of the prescribed width of the back), and then started weighing yarn. On the half-shrug was about 52g of yarn. Left in the ball was about 43g of yarn.

Screwed. As I suspected.

Just to confirm exactly how well and truly I was screwed, I started winding up what yarn I had left in the ball, counting very precisely how many more colour stripes I had left to go. (This is one of the advantages of self-striping yarn - if you wind up the remaining yarn and count the number of dye pattern repeats, then compare it to what you've already knitted, you will know precisely how much more knitting you can get out of the remaining yarn.)

Result: I was short of another half-shrug by exactly six stripes.

DH recommended that I rip the shrug back to the start of the back, and redo it with fewer stitches. Now, I am not really familiar with the three-dimensional physics of shrugs, but my instincts told me that this would result in a really dumbass-looking article of clothing. So, no.

I was starting to think about whether my daughter would appreciate a shrug with 3/4 sleeves when my dad (I was at my parents' place at the time) suggested that I rip the shrug back to the point where I'd used up half the yarn, then knit another almost-half shrug, and then somehow join them at the back. He mentioned grommets - I had visions of a shrug joined at the back with elaborate ribbon criss-crossings and started to think about how that could be possible, given that I also needed to do a ribbed edging all around the shrug opening. (Using some other kind of yarn, of course.)

And hit me.

I will fill in the missing inch-and-a-half or so down the middle of the shrug's back with a strip worked perpendicularly to the two pieces of the shrug's back...just like a shoulder strap on a gansey. That will still let me do the ribbed edging all around the shrug opening, which I will do in the same yarn (which I will have to buy) as the inch-and-a-half wide strip. And the strip will be worked in some kind of nifty cable pattern that I haven't figured out yet.

I shall go to all this trouble because, dammit, this yarn needs to be made into a shrug for my kid. The colours suit her perfectly and will bring out the colour of her eyes. I will go to great lengths to make this shrug out of this yarn happen for her. It shouldn't be too hard to find a small ball of complimentary cotton/wool sock yarn to use for the strip and the edging. Right? that I've typed that...I suppose another alternative would be to get a second ball of the striping sock yarn and make Baby Legs out of the leftovers.

Damn. Now I'm all undecided.

Although I suspect the decision will be made for me when I am unable to find the self-striping yarn in the same dyelot.


Oh, well, I'll figure it out later. In the meantime, here's what I've got so far...

Larry's Cabled Cashmere Sweater for DH
Back is finished:

Front is over half done:

I still can't believe I'm going so fast.

(I also can't believe what a mess the alpaca yarn made of my jet-black blazer today. Yowza. Fluffy bits everywhere. Très sharp and professional, I tell ya.)

(I swear I will start responding to all the wonderful comments I've been getting very soon. I particularly want to address all these clone rumours. :)


Craftygrrrl said...

The genealogy stuff is quite fun and addictive. My Mum has recently got back into it as her side of the family is far more fun than my Dads.

My maternal great grandmother came over form England as a Home Child via the Bernardo homes and I was able to track down her file but my Mum needs to fill out a form to get it sent to us. There may even be some pictures of her!!

Carrie K said...

Much faster than Stornaway.

Sending matching dyelots vibes.

My aunt is hugely into the genealogy thing. Their family was quite, quite crazed. And my Dad's is riddled with twins.