Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Let the record show that I finished my 2007 Christmas knitting a week before Christmas. Yes. I can scarcely believe it myself. I'm not going to gloat any more than that, though, otherwise the fates will squash me next Christmas.

Although, I rather think the fates are already squashing me, albeit in a different way. I am (hopefully) at the tail end of cold #4 since October. It SUCKS.

As far as the Christmas knitting went, everything was extremely well received. DD1's teacher thought the scarf was really beautiful (DD1 said there was gasping upon the first sighting, excellent). MIL adored her cardigan/jacket. My mom appeared delighted with the shawl and marvelled over the feel of the yarn. My daughter was totally excited about the dolly clothes and has been playing dressup frequently since we got back home from the Christmas visiting. DH adores his sweater and was actually totally surprised by it, despite dumbass moves on my part during its making, such as accidentally leaving the pattern lying out in full sight. BIL seemed marginally pleased with his socks (intense emotional reactions to good things are not his style).

So, a success, right? Not by half.

Larry's Cabled Cashmere Pullover for DH
I was able to sneak over to my mom's place and block the sweater there a week before Christmas. The next evening we were at my parents' place, so she packed it up and covertly handed it off to me when we arrived. DH never saw a thing.



Looks pretty good, eh? What could be wrong with it? Well, remember how I realised about halfway through DH's sweater that it was measuring too small? How I ripped everything back and started all over using the large instructions to make it wide enough?

Yeah. Well, it's too big.

I could scream. I mean, he is crazy loving the sweater, and totally doesn't care that it's a little sloppy, but I care...rather desperately, actually. This is a sweater that is supposed to cling gently (and hotly) to the male torso. The loose fit gives it a completely different look, which - while kinda nice - is not the one I was going for. (I was going for the hotness.) I am seriously tempted to knit the whole thing all over again. DH has told me not to be silly, but I'm sure I could steal it back from him without his noticing.

But wait...it gets better.

Elizabethan Jacket for MIL
This was brought out of its giftwrapping to the tune of delighted exclamations and superlative compliments. After all the gifts were unwrapped, my MIL immediately picked it back up so she could try it on.


Firstly, it took her about 10 minutes to undo all the buttons. (They may have been a tad too tight for the buttonholes. However, they were such a perfect match to the cardigan that I couldn't resist using them. Besides, I didn't find it that difficult to shove them through the buttonholes. Unfortunately, as my husband pointed out, I am not in my mid-70s with arthritis starting to affect my manual dexterity. Crap. I never thought of that.)

Secondly...once the thing was on, it was too small to button up the front. It just sits there open, gaping widely. I made the correct size, I got gauge, I blocked to measurements...but it's still too small. Figure that.

However, although my sense of perfection is deeply offended by this, I'm not that worried, because first of all, it being too small to fasten means she never has to struggle with the buttons, and secondly, it is totally more her style to wear it like a blazer. So, even though I screwed up, I win.

Now, of course, it's time to look ahead to the new year. And that means...(ominous musical chord)...looking at The Schedule.

You may have noticed that my sidebar here is filled with serious Schedule backlog. There were many projects I planned to do this year that I shamelessly threw over in favour of other projects. This is, of course, not how The Schedule is supposed to work. I am supposed to stick with it, otherwise it is pointless and I go back into my bad habit of making my husband a knitting widower. (Which actually happened hardly at all this year, despite my lack of respect for The Schedule.)

So, the question I must answer is, is there any point to making a Schedule for 2008, if I totally blew it in 2007?

The first step is to figure out what I want to accomplish this year.

  • ASAP: blanket for the hopefully soon-to-be adopted son of one of my best friends (estimate: 7 weeks)
  • ASAP: Girlfriend Shrug for DD1 before she grows out of the damn thing (estimate: 2 weeks)
  • February 17: anniversary socks for DH (estimate: 1 week)
  • April sometime: vest for myself (estimate: 3 weeks)
  • spring/summer: Wheelie (estimate: 1 week)
  • May 25: Muppet Roadkill blanket for DD1 (estimate: 2 weeks)
  • June 5: birthday socks for DH (estimate: 1 week)
  • Christmas: Ragna sweater for my brother (estimate: 8 weeks)
  • Christmas: something out of the Sea Silk for my mom (estimate: 3 weeks)
  • Christmas: something for my MIL (estimate: 7 weeks)
  • Christmas: socks for my dad (estimate: 1 week)
  • date unknown: thank-you sweaters (2) for the kids of the friend who gave me all their hand-me-down clothes this year (a lifesaver, Kathy, if you're reading this, I seriously can't thank you enough) and refused to take any money from me (estimate: 7 weeks)
  • date unknown: 'Like, totally' top of my own design (estimate: 4 weeks)
  • date unknown: two more patterns for my book (estimate: 6 weeks)
  • date unknown: one or two cute things for DD2 (estimate: 3 weeks)
  • date unknown: leggings for DD1 (estimate: 1 week)
  • date unknown: Ljod (estimate: 3 weeks)

Result: I'm overloading myself by two months. Some things are going to have to go.

Non-project items on my list include:

  • learn to knit stranded with the left hand holding both strands
  • put together a lace knitting class
  • write up my lacy ribs scarf pattern and start selling it

I know there are more, but I can't remember them right now.

So all in all, a damn full year. Might be worth writing up a new Schedule after all.

Jack and Jill dress for DD1's doll
This was the last thing I finished. One week before Christmas, I borrowed a crochet hook from my mom, finished off the back opening, found some buttons, and sewed them on.



Very cute stuff. Fits the doll I intended it for perfectly. DD1 adores it.

Self-patterning socks #whatever for DH
As promised, I ripped back everything I'd done on the first sock (almost the whole foot before the heel turn) and started again with four metal needles. The first sock is now done, and I'm working on the heel of the second.

I really, really like the striping on this one. It takes a really long time to come around to the beginning again. The only weird thing is that the first repeat on the first sock is the reverse of all the other repeats for (as far as I can tell) the rest of the ball. So I'm going to have to do something clever after I turn the heel of the second sock to make it stripe in the right direction up the leg. But that shouldn't be too hard. I'll have loads of yarn left over, too.

Ragna for brother
Once I finished all the Christmas knitting, I started working on this guilt-free. But I stopped working on it once Christmas came because we were spending a lot of time at my parents' place, and it doesn't really make a lot of sense to work on your brother's Christmas present in front of your brother. Still, a very good head start has been made on Christmas 2008:

A Very Harlot Poncho
This has seen a fair bit of action over the holidays. Whether it was because everything else was all packed up in the car ready to go for the various trips; or because it was something I could work on in front of other people without worrying about giving away a surprise; or because it was just mindless, stress-free knitting; it got attention.

Consequently, it's much closer to actually being finished...which probably means that I'll be packing it away soon, and it won't see the light of day again for about a year.

Child legs for DD1
So I was looking at my new ball of Trekking XXL, and it occurred to me how many of the colours also appear in DD1's favourite skirt. And then I wondered, why should I have to make socks with this? What if I made a child version of Baby Legs? She could wear them with the skirt, maybe over white tights, and it would look super-cute and swizz.

So I cast on.

I went for at least three inches wondering when the colourway would cycle around to the beginning again, until I remembered that I'd read on a number of blogs that Trekking doesn't repeat! So I became zen with the idea of fraternal leggings, and continued on.

They are going to look awesome when they're finished. I'll post exactly what I'm doing to make them once they're all done, but really, it's just two 2x2 ribbed tubes wide enough to fit your kid's thigh.

Self-patterning socks for moi/Turquoise child legs for DD1
My MIL, lovely lady that she is, gave us a sum of cash (among other things) for Christmas, and told us to go out and have fun with it. So on New Year's Eve, we packed up the kids and headed to Pizza Hut (DD1's favourite restaurant). We had an absolutely lovely time - DD1's behaviour was impeccable, and DD2 was actually interested in the different surroundings and did not make strange with the people making goo-goo eyes at her. (!!!) We did have an incident when she barked her chin on the table, but some Mummy Hugs(TM) soothed her in fairly short order.

Anyway, I was knitting on the turquoise self-striping socks I'd started a while ago while we were waiting for the pizza to arrive, and I started questioning why I was making them. I wasn't as jazzed by the striping as I thought I was going to be (why does sock yarn sometimes look so different in ball form than in sock form?) and didn't see myself loving the socks too much when they were finished. Then I thought about the leggings I was making for DD1 out of my new Trekking XXL, and suddenly...I knew I wanted to make leggings out of this turquoise yarn, too.

I thought about it a minute, ran the idea past DH (who was sad because he hates the idea of frogging anything), ripped out the needles and frogged the whole thing back.

The yarn now looks like this:

Oil-slick rainbow socks for moi
I started up with the Sockina yarn that DH gave me for Christmas:

What can I say, I just can't stand the idea of sock yarn hanging around not being on the needles, I guess.

Lacy Ribs Scarf
On Sunday, I actually managed a quick trip to the yarn store. (They're having a Boxing Week sale.) Among other reasons, I really wanted to see if I could find a second ball of the OnLine Nobile to be able to finish this scarf - I'm really stoked about writing up the pattern and starting to sell it. After much hunting in the back, with a lot of help from June (the owner), I found it!

I whipped up the rest of the scarf in fairly short order and had it finished by New Year's Eve. Now I just have to pose with it for pictures, write it up, and - shazam! - I can start selling it online. June also said she'd be willing to sell it as a kit in the shop. I'm so excited!

Mitred corners blanket for Raymond
The other thing I was hunting for on my yarn store trip was more yarn for this blanket, since the 10 balls I originally bought will not be enough. It took us a while (and great patience and diligence on June's part, thank you so much June), but we found more in THE SAME DYELOT, hoorayhoorayhooray. I bought three balls just to be safe. Next step: write up pattern, then follow it.

This has been an absolutely huge post, but I have one more item to talk about. It's very cool, so please bear with me.

A few weeks ago, someone contacted me on Ravelry. She'd seen, in my stash list, the leftover Bernat Sox in the "Army Hot" colourway from some socks I made for my husband a while back, and really, REALLY wanted it. She apologized if this was a rude thing to ask (since the yarn was not marked as for trade/sell), and wondered if there was any way she could pay or trade me for it.

Well, let's see...

  • not rude at all
  • delighted to hand it off to her
  • no payment required

However, she insisted that she would send me something. Apparently she works at Webs (be still my beating heart), so she could pick me up something fun really easily.

It arrived yesterday. Know what it is?

That is 50 grams of Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino, my friends, in a gorgeous deep azure.

Crazy, right? I'm really not sure what universe I've entered into that this is a fair exchange for 12.5 grams of acrylic sock yarn, but, my guilt aside, I am incredibly happy to have it.

If anyone has any ideas of what I could do with a single skein of this, please feel free to suggest. A scarf is the obvious answer, but if there are more creative ideas out there, I'd love to hear 'em. I'd also like to hear any suggestions as to what I could POSSIBLY do to make it up to the Karma Gods for this incredible piece of largesse.


LLB said...

I love the child legs idea! Brilliant.

Is it bad that I'm glad to have company in the "presents not quite as intended" group? :)


The J said...

'k, that post was way too long for my memory (actually some commercials are too long for my memory, it's not you ;) ), so here's the points I still have knocking around my head:

- don't reknit your DH's sweater, make another one smaller in different yarn. You've played with that one enough, let him have the fun of slopping about in it - some days are comfy, swimmy days. New yarn, new fun for you, still get hotness ;).

- may I suggest "modified schedule"? Put in a handful of the most important, then leave the rest to whim. Knitting isn't supposed to be that structured - it's for fun! Hey - have you ever seen project storyboards?? I don't know that I've seen them with knitwear, but they've become very popular with some sewists I "know". For example, check out Laura's SWAP (sewing-with-a-plan) storyboard on her blog: http://laurasewingroom.blogspot.com/2007/05/swap-storyboard-revised_21.html . I think it would make an excellent not-schedule. Post up the storyboard on your desktop or over your favourite knitting chair, and you have a plan right there, but no deadlines.

Hmm, I may just have to do that myself ;).

As for that yummy, yummy yarn, was it Knitty that just came out with a beaded lace wimple? Or maybe a shawlette, or a lace shrug for over summer dresses...


Carrie K said...

Wimple, yes! or smoke ring. Or lacy vest/cardigan.

And oh! Poor you! To have DH cruelly change sizes on you like that. I agree that knitting him another one is a better idea.

Your schedule is making my head spin. Planning? Is that what helps?