Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Seatbelt redux

And now - back to regular blogging (i.e. adding some real content instead of just frantic project updates).

On the 27th, we went over to my parents' place for a mini Christmas dinner-slash-gift exchange.

This is an ear lamp (shown here turned on), with a halogen bulb. You hook it over your ear, press the button, and a nice little beam of light comes out to illuminate whatever is in front of you. The lamp swivels back and forth, too, so you can aim it a little bit. I LOVE it. I figure, if you want to be able to knit in the dark, why get light-up knitting needles in all the sizes you might need when you can just buy this one teeny gadget instead? It works like a dream, even if you wear glasses (like me). The only problem is that when I use it on the way home from my parents' place at night, it keeps my daughter (who sits beside me in the car) awake, even though it doesn't bother my husband (the driver) at all. So I have to wait until she's asleep again to start using it. But that's okay. Needless to say, my new ear lamp now has a permanent home in my knitting bag.

I've also decided to always carry around my new Denise Interchangeables. One small kit means that I will always have almost all the needle sizes I will need with me at all times. PERFECT!

And my parents gave me one last vaguely knitting-related present:

Earmuffs? Earmuffs, you say? How is this possibly knitting-related in any way? Ah...but wait...

Yes...they're actually a combination of earmuffs and earphones. Which I will plug into my MP3 player. Which I will use to listen to knitting podcasts on the subway! I'm delighted. Because when the earphones that came with the player crapped out, I delved into my decades-old stock of ridiculously outdated earphones just to make the thing work, and they have, one by one, bitten the dust. Now, not only can I once again listen to podcasts while commuting, but the earmuff component helps filter out the horribly loud drone of the trains, which makes the podcasts much easier to hear. Hip, hip, hooray.

As for gift reactions, my parents really liked their socks and tried them on right away. My mom didn't seem to have any negative (read: itchy) reaction to the wool, and really liked the idea of the aloe and jojoba being infused in the fibres to give her feet some pampering. However, they both took the socks off after a few minutes because the apartment was pretty warm and they wanted to go around in bare feet.

Yesterday, we visited them again, and next to the front door, I noticed the taupe pair that I'd given my dad sitting on top of his outside shoes. This meant that he'd been wearing them! :) He said they were very comfortable and he liked them a lot because they went with just about all his clothes. (The black pair apparently doesn't go with all his clothes - which is sort of weird, since I think black socks go with just about anything. However, despite my mom's best efforts, my dad's colour and fashion sense has always been a little off - do not get me started on the mint green suit he used to wear to work during the 80s. Fortunately, I think I managed to convince him that he could wear black socks with lots more of his clothes than he previously thought.) He also said they were warm. Really warm. I was left with the distinct impression that they'd been too warm. But I'm not worried. Right now our winter is being ridiculously balmy, but I know my climate - it will totally make up for the mild November and December over the next few months, AND will throw the usual Frebruary snow insanity at us on TOP of that. (I am so not looking forward to experiencing that during my third trimester, but what can I do.) So, give it about 4-8 weeks...I guarantee that my dad is totally NOT going to be complaining that his socks are too warm at that point, boy howdy.

The Girlfriend Shrug for DD
A few days after Christmas I went through the entire Knitting Pattern-a-Day : 2007 Day-to-Day Calendar that I got from my MIL to see what patterns were in it. Unsurprisingly, it's a mixed bag. Some of them are kinda bad. Some of them are fine but not to my taste. Some of them are nice. And some of them are really good.

One of the patterns I really liked was 'The Girlfriend Shrug' - it takes a sock weight yarn (the idea is to use self-patterning stuff in girly colours) and ranges from sizes 2-3 to...um...I'm not sure, about 8-9? It is super-cute, and would be a really nifty thing to pack in the diaper bag during the summer as something to throw around DD's shoulders if she gets a bit chilly in the afternoon/evening.

So here I am, liking this pattern very much, whilst simultaneously being in possession of 100g of self-patterning sock yarn in a cotton/wool blend (with a wee bit of nylon), dyed in colours that would look outstanding on my kid. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.

Sorry, mom. I'll make you socks out of something else.

The only snag is that I don't think the 100g is going to be enough. For one thing, I checked the label, and there is much less yardage in this ball of yarn than in 100g of my usual wool/nylon blend sock yarn (which I assume is due to the cotton content - cotton must be heavier than wool by volume). So I'm screwed there right off the bat. Secondly, I did a rough guess as to how many stitches I can get out of a full 100g of wool/nylon blend sock yarn, vs. a rough guess as to how many stitches would be in the 4-5 year size of this shrug...and I'm about 4000 stitches short. This screws me even more.

But what the hell. Me being me, I cast on anyway.

I'm so doomed.

I calculated that I might be able to make it if I narrow the sleeve width by about 16%. Would such sleeves still fit my kid? I'll have to check to make sure (I haven't gotten around to asking her to try putting her arm through the sleeve-in-progress yet, which is why the project is temporarily stalled). But even with this change, I could still easily run out of yarn.

Who knows what will happen? It's like Russian Roulette, but with a girly shrug.

Stay tuned. High drama ahead.

Ljod cardigan for moi
Since my daughter's shrug project is on hold, I was looking around last night for something to work on at my parents' place, and this caught my interest. So I did several inches on it after DD went to bed and we were all shooting the breeze. Then this morning, I didn't have time to pack up DH's 2007 Christmas present project (which would have been more faithful to The Schedule), so I brought good ol' Ljod instead. I'm finished the armhole shaping and am working my way up towards the shoulders.

(Dammit, I forgot to take a picture. Oh, well. Sorry. Picture forthcoming.)

Last night at my parents', I started trying to do this in continental, but quickly switched back to English in order to take full advantage of the hand of the yarn. When I throw, the yarn passes through my hands more fully and I generally just get to touch the yarn more. With most projects, I consider speed to be more important than communing with the yarn, but Silky Wool is just such a pleasure to touch that for this project, I am totally willing to sacrifice speed for getting to feel up the yarn.

Twizzle cardigan for DD
I brought out the camcorder yesterday when DD was wearing both the cardigan and the hat, and took some shots. Unfortunately, they all suck, picture quality-wise (the camcorder's still shot capability when picturing humans is very disappointing in non-natural light). However, here's the best of them:


kelpkim said...

WOW! i'd say you really scored on your xmas gifts! and denise's really are the best ever aren't they?! i love them. so much.
and look at you getting all this knitting done and FO's all over the place! wow! can't believe it! love the red and blue socks for you. and this picture of DD with the twizzle cardigan on is too cute! how is it possible for a little girl to look so sheepish? or is it embarrassment? :o)
too cute! xoxo!

charalynne M. said...

I love that earpiece thingy!!! Gotta look for one of those myself as I knit while my daughter falls asleep at night in her room!!
The shrug for your daughter is awsome!! Can't wait to see more.
The cardigan set for your daughter is stunning she looks so cute in it!