Monday, December 19, 2011

Judicial Notice

"Counsel, aren't you finished with that YET?"

I was knitting on the Duchess Shawl in a courtroom this morning, waiting on the other attorney. It was a slow morning, so the judge didn't have his usual line of people waiting to approach the bench during Motion Hour. And apparently not only did he notice what I was knitting, he remembered that he had seen it several times before.

I am not certain if that is a testiment that I have been knitting way too often in his courtroom, or to his memory.

I would say that I am *almost* finished with the shawl, except the ruffle looms far and large in my future. The ever-decreasing and acceleration factor of the body is cool comfort, so to speak.

Today, it is all about the notice.

Friday, December 9, 2011

New deadlines

The original deadline for the Duchess Shawl was September 15th, the end of the Knit-along. Passed. The original deadline for the Hunting Covertible Mittens was November 15th, opening day of hunting season: deer (rifle) season. Passed. The second was opening day of hunting season: deer (muzzleloader). Passed.

I obviously need some new deadlines.

I have been working on Duchess shawl. I am on the downward side, decreasing a stitch every four rows. Sounds like slow progress, but each row is already down to four minutes.

But the suicide ruffle looming at the final edge. It is like making it up and down a mountain, then taking a lap around the base as soon as you get to the bottom.

Today, it is all about the milage.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Looming deadlines

For a knitter that doesn't usually have knitting deadlines, I have had a lot of them lately. The Duchess Shawl fell short. And yet, I immediately jumped into another one with the Hunting Convertible mittens. Then, just for giggles, I threw in another one in the middle of things.

I decided that Bugaboo would make a perfect Harry Potter for Halloween, and you can't have that without a Gyffindor scarf, of course. At least I was smart enough not to do it in fingering.

I was sewing the cloak and finishing the fringe on the night before, but I got it done in time.

So now I am back to the Hunting mittens. I have just started on the thumb increases

Today, it is all about the deadlines.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Knitting Promiscuity

It took about a week to sink in: I can knit on other things besides the Duchess shawl. No longer bound by either the Knit-along deadline, or the weather (it is shawl weather now, and won't be again til spring), I can work on the shawl at my leisure.

I never have been one to stick to one project. I have knitting moods, and like to have many projects in progress, even similar ones. It takes longer to complete any one project, but it keeps all of them fresh. And if one is getting stale, a break is just the ticket for me to forget about it for a while, then fall in love again.

Besides, there is another deadline looming. Hunting season is fast approaching. (Actually, bow season started Saturday, but my sweetie hasn't practiced with his bow enough to try that, so he won't be getting out until shotgun season starts in another month.) It would be nice if I finished his mittens in time. Plus, worsted wool has immediate gratification.

Unless you decide to knit it more than once. Knitting the something, frogging it, then knitting again reallu cuts down on the "instant"part.

I am making mittens that have a fold-over flap to convert to fingerless mittens. Ive heard them called convertable mittens, or glittens, or glomitts. Anyway, I finished the first one, except for the flap. Then I decided to do the second one, up to that point, before proceeding.

And now I have two slightly different mittens. I am not sure if I screwed up on the first or the second, but they are not alike. Minor difference in the increasing of the thumb, which results in a half inch difference on how high up the wrist the mitten goes. My Mom pointed out that it was not a significant difference, that it would not be immediatly noticeable to others, and it did not hinder the mittens warmth or usefullness. So, no big deal, do the flaps and be done.

Except. . . . I don't want my sweetie to think that I did these half-assed. (I have also noticed that my guage on the wrist ribbing appears to be a little different. I don't know if I used the wrong needle size, or it was just the months difference between the two cuffs.)

So, my new plan is to frog the mittens, both of them, and re-start doing two mittens on two circulars. At least whatever mistakes I made will be made on both of them and considered a creative enhancment.

Great plan, except that I am now restarting from two needles and two balls of yarn. I hate re-working.

Today, it is all about the full ass.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The 5 stages of a Knit-along

1. Denial: oh, what a beautiful shawl! Three months is plenty of time to knit it. Fingering weight would give the shawl divine drape. Three months. No problem.

2. Anger: For the love of all that is wooly, will people just leave me alone so I can knit! I am on a deadline here!

3. Bargaining: Ok, if I play a Mickey Mouse DVD and give you some cookies, can you two boys stay quiet and let Mommy knit?

4. Depression: What's the use. I will never finish this shawl in time. Why should I even bother?

5. Acceptance: Sigh. I gave it my best effort, but I think it is safe to say that I am not going to finish the Duchess Shawl in time for the deadline. Last Thursday.

I estimate that I have knit on it for 60 hours, and have another 20 hours to go. Plus the ruffle.

Today, it is all about the acceptance.

P.S. It does look great. I am having techinical issues so pictures will have to wait for another day.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Meet me in the Middle

I am officially at the halfway point of the body of the shawl. (Happy dance.)

I did the center spine row, and have started on the decrease rows.

From this point on, the rows will decrease, and my pace will accelerate.

So in spite of the fact that it took seven weeks to complete the increase half, the remaining decrease half and ruffle will certainly be finished in the remaining five weeks of the Knit-along.

No problem. The end of the knit-along is within my grasp.

I also have several bridges and the crown jewels of England for sale, if anyone is interested.

Today, it is all about the denial.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Halfway point

For my time, not the shawl.

I started around the middle of June. The deadline for the Knit-along is September 15th. I should be at the halfyway point tomorrow.

I. Am. Not.

I am almost to the halfway point of the body of the shawl, without the ruffle.

This doesn't look good, and is starting to look more and more ominous.

Short of a debilitating injury that relieves me from housework, legal work and child care, but still allows me to knit, I am starting to have serious doubts about the deadline.

Today, it is all about the fractions, and what the definition of "half" is.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

And, it's official,

I am totally screwed. In spite of diligent efforts, knitting monogomy (not even tempted on this project, I swear, totally faithful to the shawl), carrying it around with me EVERYWHERE in case I will have an unexpected few minutes, staying up entirely too late some evenings (especially considering that my littlest guy is STILL not consistently sleeping all the way through the night), and measuring entirely too often, I am officially behind schedule.

According to the schedule, I was supposed to have reached the center spine by now, and started the decreasing rows.

A digression to explain the shawl's construction. It is worked side to side. So I start on the right side with only a few stitches, then increase one stitch every fourth row. When I reach the midpoint, I start decreasing every fourth row, until I am back down to the original few stitches. Then I add the suicide ruffle.

Right now, it is hard (Ok, impossible) to stick to the schedule, because the rows keeping getting wider, so it takes longer to complete them. The decrease rows will have the opposite effect, so I will start accelerating my progress.

Right now, each row takes about 6 minutes to complete. That may not sound like much, but the schedule calls for 24 rows per day. That is 2 1/2 hours per day. I am not knitting 2 1/2 hours per day, which means that I am falling ever further behind with each new day.

But all hope is not yet lost! There is the decreasing acceleration factor to consider on the later stages of the shawl. And I may have completely overestimated the time requirements of the suicide ruffle. (Really, I MAY have.)

So far, I am 16 3/4 wide. (The shawl, that is, not me personally.) The pattern calls for 20 to 24 inches wide. Kate is about half a foot taller than me, so I calculating that I am on the shorter end of the desired width. (I am at the shorter end of everything else, so it would be a cruel irony not to be short when I really need it.)

Plus, there is a round trip drive to Chicago this week (picking up my brother et al from O'Hare) and Mom will be doing most of the driving. Lots of knitting opportunity. I am primarily going for company and to serve as navigator.

And in the worst case scenario, failure to finish by September 15th only means that I will not be considered for the knit-along's judging. I will still have a lovely shawl, no matter when I finish it.

Today, it is all about the optimism. (Or delusion. I write, you decide.)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Maybe, maybe not

The question of the day: Am I on schedule with the Duchess Shawl? The answer: Maybe, maybe not.

Techinically, according to the schedule, I am way behind. I have 25 repeats completed as of today, which is what I was supposed to have done by last Wednesday. Not a good sign.

However, the pattern calls for the center spine to be 20-24 inches. My schedule was based on a 24 inch estimate requiring 46 repeats.

I have over 13 inches completed. Which means that . . . .wait a minute. . . slightly more than half the inches and half the repeats.

Oh, this doesn't look good.

Maybe, I won't really want 24 inches. Maybe I won't really need a month to do the suicide ruffle. Maybe I will miraculously finish the increase stitches in 8 days, and on schedule.

And while I am at it, maybe we will hit the lottery this week. And maybe I will be given a time turner, so I can repeat hours of the day. And maybe someone will invent a pill that allows people to forego sleep.

Today, it is all about the maybes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Already behind schedule

Ok, this is not a good start. I am almost at my goal for Wednesday. Which is not good since it is Friday. This may not sound very much behind, but as I increase stitches, my 24 per day rows is actually getting bigger and harder to meet.

Not only that, but against my better wisdom and uanble to resist, I did a rouch calculation of stitches for the ruffle: around 60,000. A month doesn't sound like enough time.

Who is the masocist that set three months for this Knit-along? Obviously not someone with a full-time job and young children.

All hope is not lost. We are camping this weekend. So there will be four hours of driving time. Driving for my sweetie, knitting for me. Then there is always nap times over the weekend, without the distractions of laundry and vaccuuming. I see an opportunity here.

Mickey Mouse CLubhouse is on for the moment, so I think I will take this opportunity to do a few of yesterdays rows.

Today is is already about the optimism, and the pessimism.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I'm on a schedule here

I worked out a little schedule for my Duchess Shawl. I have to complete around 24 rows per day, and have been sticking to it, so far. It may be a bit of denial to believe as my shawl increases by six stitches per day, I will somehow continue to be able to knit 24 rows a day.

I am roughly 1/3 finished with the body, by width, not by total area.

I have a long trial tomorrow, set for almost all day, so something tells me that I won't be able to do much knitting during the day tomorrow. That just leaves the evening. I have all the time I want to knit, read, and do anything else I want to do between 9 pm and 6 am. Except for one problem: that is when I clean house, do dishes, and fold laundry.

This doesn't look good, and I am starting to question my own sanity in choosing to do a pressured Knit-along when I have two children three and under and work full-time

Today, it is all about the denial and insanity.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Better Left in Ignorance

While on hold the other day, I started doing some Duchess Shawl Math. Estimating that the ruffle is about 30% of the work, and each side of the body 35%, with a little more than three months left before the KAL deadline, I estimated that I needed to complete 1 1/3 pattern repeats per day. I smiled in confidence at my ability to meet this self-imposed deadline, and started feeling pretty optomisitic that I would finish the shawl in time.

The next day, I realized the flaw in my math. Each repeat increases by four stitches, to an end goal of 192 stitches. If I was meeting my goal at 42 stitches per row, it was only going to get harder as the stitches increased to 80, and 120, and 160. A little ball of dread landed in my stomach.

So yesterday, I thought maybe if I tried to exceed my goal now during the shorter rows, it would give me some cushion for the later longer rows. Ok, optimism returning. I can do this.

This morning, apparently NOT having learned a lesson with my math calculations, I remembered a little geometry to calculated the estimated stitches in my suicide ruffle. Using the Pythagorean theorum (which I can't believe I even remembered), I was able to estimate how long all my sides would be. At 8 stitches per inch, and an estimated 200 inches in circumference, that leaves . . . around 1600 stitches. Which I double in the next row.

I am half considering comparing the total estimated stitches in the ruffle vs. body of the shawl, to see if my original percentage estimate was even in the same universe as reality.

Someone, please save me from the math.

Today, it is all about the numbers.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fit for a Princess

I started the Duchess Shawl over the weekend, with Size 2's. After it was about the legnth of my thumb, I decided that it was too dense. By this time, I had found my Needle Measure thingie, so I knew I had a Size 3 cicular, and started in that one. By the time it was about the legnth of my thumb, I was starting to have my doubts that it was too dense. So I started again in Size 4's.

Now I have two different starts to the same shawl. And I keep asking everyone to feel them, and give me their thoughts.

And I do mean everyone. To mixed and non-knitting opionions. I am going to have to make a decision soon. The more I think about it, I think the answer might be in yet another swatch.

The ruffle is knit one size up from the body of the shawl. So now I am thinking that I need to knit a little on Size 5's to see how it will look for the ruffle.

I hate swatching.

Today, it is all about the testing.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Prodical Sock returns, with friends

I found my missing sock yesterday. I had stopped looking for it ages ago. I just got a rarely-used bag out of my car yesterday, and there it was hiding inside. I don't even remember when I would have put it in there, or why, but there it was. Oh, Twisted Tweed Sock, I don't care where you have been or what you have been doing, I am just happy to see you.

And you brought friends. My yarn from Knit Picks arrived. That is very reasonable turnaround time. I ordered it over the weekend, and received it the following Thursday. Although I personally believe that yarn companies should provide hourly updates as to shipping status, Knit Picks did an excellant job. Quality yarn at reasonable prices. I will definitely order from them again.

Which means that I can now start my Duchess Shawl, just in time for the Knit-along. I am using Kate Shopping Shawl pattern, by Wee Sandy. (And to think that I had been a little upset that I had forgotten my Merry Berry shawl at the office. I would be stuffing it out of sight this morning anyway!) I can't remember when I have been so excited about a project, probably because it is my first knit-along.

I was so excited I stayed up late (even though I was tired and knew the kids would be getting me up early) to wind one ball and start. The question remains if I had started a swatch or the shawl. The pattern calls for lace weight yarn on size 1 needles. (Insert shudder here about the large garment with small needles, but it really is necessary to have the proper drape.) I am using fingering, so started with size 2's (2.75mm, so the larger size 2), and it looks about right, for the quarter-sized that I have produced thus far, that is.

That could be a bit of denial, since I couldn't find my needle measuring thingie last night, and can't identify my circular sizes. (My husband gave me some sort of similar device -- I am not sure if it was out of a desire to help, or exasperation at the noise I was making tearing through my knitting supplies while he was trying to sleep -- but it is designed to measure in fractions of inches, not standard needle sizes or millimeters, so it was of limited help.) I ended up starting on straights, but my size 3 straights are currently in use, so it would be a bit of a bother to try going up one needle size. Once I establish the correct size, I will buy it on circular, since my shawl will outgrow the 14 inches straights. (Plus they have limited portability. I am not sure what security would say if I tried to bring them into the courthouse!)

I am trying not to let me project impatience over-rule common sense to taking care of these issues now. I want this shawl to look good when completed, and I don't want to waste time frogging and starting over since there is a deadline. I have three months to finish this bad boy.

Today, it is all about balancing of interests.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Reviewed and Rejected

The start of the HRH Kate's Shopping shawl knit-along is queued to start in less than two weeks, so it was time to make some decisions.

Which yarn? I had two possibilities from the stash. One was a seafoam green yarn that i got in Poland years ago. When I took another look at it, the color was a bit brighter than I had in mind, and I remembered when i translated the yarn content after purchase, it tunred out to be primarily acrylic. (Word to the wise: when drooling over yarns in foreign countries, be sure to look all up yarn pertinent translations.) Acrylic has its place, and this yarn is very soft, but I didn't want to risk all that work in a short period of time to have it just not lay right. Rejected.

The second possibility was a wool, mohair blend that I bought after Christmas. The color was a sage green with soft hints of gold, sort of a semi-solid. Except that I had already been thinking about doing one of the more textured patterns, and I thought it might be lost in the mohair's halo. Rejected.

So I warmed up the internet and started searching my favorite yarn sources. It didn't take long to notice that a significant of the lace and fingering weights greens were sold out, on backorder, or otherwise not available at the present time. Quel Surprise! Apparently, I am not the only one in search of green lace yarn. I narrowed it down to three from KnitPicks, and my sweetie is the one who made the final selection as I switched back and forth between color options. The final choice was Knit Picks Gloss Fingerings, in Jade, which appears on two of my computers to be a rick evergreen color.

But how much to buy? Time to select the pattern. I reviewed the official unofficial copykats, other patterns, and free ruffled patterns that were kind of close. Once again, I had it narrowed down to several finalists, and spent longer than I care to admit clicking back and forth among them. I made this final selection myself, and for the first time, bought a pattern through Ravelry. (There are so many great patterns available for free on my list, I just haven't needed to yet.) The only problem is that the pattern required lace weight, and I was using fingering weight. The pattern was easily adaptable to the larger yarn, but I wasn't sure how much yardage to buy. I looked at other ruffled shawl fingering patterns, and made a guess. I figure when I start swatching, I can make a more edicated guess and quickly order more, hopefully from the same dye lot, and if the ruffle is from a different dye lot, that probably wont' be immediately obvious, right? The ruffle reputably vaccuums up the yardage, and I would hate to run out during the ruffle.

While I was at it, I ordered a few pretty socks yarns. My knitting time is gradually increasing as my baby boys gets a little older (if only the same could be said for my sleep), so I am not dissuaded by the fact that I have only finished two pairs of socks in the past year. (Counting the one that went missing a few rows before completion. I have now started putting address labels on my knitting bags as a precaution.) So I will be making a dent on my sock stash any time now.

The yarn is supposed to arrive in four to fourteen days. My needles await. (Oh, I hope I have the right size.) Have to check that later.

Today, it is all about the pieces coming together.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Royal Knits

I normally don't jump onto the current knitting bandwagons. I didn't make any ponchos a couple years ago. I don't care what celebrity wears what sweater in which movie. I don't drool over whatever the latest "must make" sock, sweater or scarf.

Today, I am apparently making an exception. Kate, the new Duchess of Cambridge, wore a lovely, ruffled, green shawl. Knitters are all abuzz with the news. Ravelry groups are formed. Copycats are being test-knitted. Knit-alongs are planned.

And I will be joining in. Or at least, I plan too as of today. I may change my mind by the anticipated start date in a few weeks. I have two yarns in mind that will work well.

Today, it is all about the bandwagon.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mea Culpa

To everyone shivering this morning: it is my fault. Remember last week when I said that it was almost too hot to knit on the Merry Berry Shawl? It is now 30 degrees cooler, and certainly not to hot to knit. I take it back. Please bring back the warm weather and sun.

Tomorrow may have some prime knitting time. I have Court in Marion County. Indianapolis. Normally, I stick to my local, smaller town courts. I was in Indy courts once a few years ago. My memory was that it was a lot of hurry up and wait.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sock Hiatus

I haven't had the heart to knit on any socks lately. Why? It will just disappear, after all the work I put into it, and leave me feeling lost and forsaken.

Instead, I have picked up my Merry Berry shawl. Sort of. I decided that I didn't like the eyelets. I tinkered with the pattern a little, and started from scratch. I have made some decent progress. Still a lot to go, of course. I really should have used thicker yarn and bigger needles, but I think I will like the finished project.

The yarn is part mohair, so it has not been looking inviting in the 80 degree weather Indiana has been experiencing lately. If the weather doesn't change, I may have to break down and resort to a sock after all.

My sweetie reminded me about Knit Night this month, offering to watch the kids so I could go. When I got home, Doddlebug was tucked asleep in bed, but Bugaboo was sitting in the kitchen and looking guilty. The dishes were done, the kitchen was clean, the floors were vaccuumed. He was amazing. He definitely earned the two hours I spent knitting things for him. I am at the neck decreases for his sweater. Which means that I actually have to think a little, so not ideal for Knit Night. So I switched over to his hunting mittens.

Unfortanately, just when I have my sweetie trained, er, I mean willing to play Mommy for the evening, Knit Night is taking its summer break. Three months from now, I will have to start from scratch with him.

Today, it is all about the hiatuses. (Hiati?)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Missing: One pair of socks

My Twisted Tweed Sock has gone missing. I know that I had it a week ago Monday, because I knit on it before my 1:45 hearing. After that, who knows. I have inquired at the various courtrooms that I frequent. Nothing. (Though, I assume that if court staff found knitting, they would assume that it is mine. Me and my knitting is not exactly unknown around the place.) I have searched the house and the office. Nada.

It is a cruel injustice to lose a sock when it is only a half inch from completing the pair. I hope that whoever finds it knits, so that they can finish the socks and enjoy them.

I will never knit again. . . . I will never knit socks again. . . . I will never knit THOSE socks again.

I will hold onto the slim chance that the socks are whereever the remote control spent two days hiding.

Today, it is all about the MIA.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

1000 served

My blog had the 1000th guest last week. Since I started keeping count of such things, that is. How exciting.

Also accomplished (almost!) is my Twisted Tweed Socks. The foot is finished, and all that is left is the toe. I am already planning its finished presentation method on the blog.

We are to a family Easter Egg hunt today, so if I can get the husband to drive, maybe it would even be finished today!

Today, it is all about the counting, and for once I don't mean stitches.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Home Stretch

I love it when you can see the end of a project getting closer. It makes you want to knit them all the time, knit nothing else, sprint to the end. I am like that with my Twisted Tweed Socks. (Cutely modeled by Doodlebug.)

Only inch and a bit and toe left on the second sock. I will be wearing these puppies in no time. Just in time for warm weather.

Come to think of it, maybe I should get too optomistic. I still have to Kitchner.

Today, it is all about the sprint.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to Treat Your Wife When She is Sick

Illness strikes the best of us, and your spouse is no exception. Try this GUARANTEED 12 step plan for making your wife feel special when she is sick!

1. When she is lying semi-conscious in bed, joke about how when your toddler was sick with the same flu, he had lots of energy. Humor is important to healing.

2. During the sickness, do not load a dish in the dishwaster, pick up a toy, fold a scrap of laundry, or anything else that might help your wife around the house. It will make her feel needed.

3. That evening, plan your usual evening out, except take separate cars. Just because she will want to leave early doesn't mean you have to. She will miss you all the more while you are out having fun. Besides, she loves taking care of the kids, so let her have those few extra hours with them without your interference.

4. Wake her when you get home. No matter how soundly she appears to be sleeping, she was no doubt worrying about your safety.

5. The next morning, when she is starting to feel slightly better, agree (reluctantly don't want to make it too easy for her) to watch the children while she runs an quick errand. However, do as little as possible for the children. If you were to change any diapers, clothes or feed children, she would just feel like no one needs her at home. Your job is simply to ensure that they do not kill themselves or each other in her absence.

6. When she is trying to catch up on missed work by replying to emails or calling clients, interrupt her as much as possible. After all, you know she isn't quite feeling up to par, and probably needs the intermittant breaks from work. Ask who she is talking to on the phone, or if she is sending personal emails.

7. Schedule your day so that you are not available to watch the children when she has to go to work for a few hours. This has the added bonus of making your mother-in-law feel needed too. Plan your return home with your wife's anticipated return time.

8. If your wife is running late, and you actually have to provide care for the children, suggest to her that you should receive "brownie points" for having to change a dirty diaper. You know how much she loves doing that, and will probably be sad that she missed one.

9. Be coy about answering basic questions. When she asks if she should make dinner, just mentiuon that you had a snack without clarifying if that meant yes or no. A little mystery is good for a marraige.

10. If one of your children is having difficulty sleeping, be sure to grumble a little about it as you are rolling over to go back to sleep. Pretend not to notice your wife getting up for the fifth time that night, fumbling for a binky or tylenol, or walking, bouncing or singing with the child. You know how important the kids are to her, and wouldn't want to intrude on their special nocturnal time together.

11. The next day, she will be fully recovered and ready to resume her usual duties. You should make a big deal about doing one or two things to "help" her. Be sure to use the word "help" several times. It is important to let her know that you understanding that vaccuuming and dishes are primarily her responsibility, and you are doing her a huge favor this one time.

12. Take charge of the children for a bit, to give your wife needed personal and leisure time. Eleven minutes should be enough.

BONUS: Since you have fullfilled your "help" obligation for the day, feel free to enjoy the rest of your day in leisure. If you do too much to "help", she will start to worry about you taking over her domain. If possible, plan an outing with your friends starting at noon. That will allow her ample time with the children. Even better if it can last to the wee hours of the morn, as you will then have the excuse to spend the next day on the sofa dozing.

Next Months's Guide: How to make Your Wife Value a Perfectly Clean House as Much as You Do.

P.S. Believe it or not, the first version of this started out far more bitter.

Today, it is all about the sarcasm.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Birthday to me

Last week was my birthday. (38 years old now, thank you.) I received one thing that I wanted more than anything: an afternoon off from life. I dropped the kids off at Grandma's, ignored emails voicemails and the pile of work that I brought home for the weekend, and cast a blind eye on the housework. My sweetie was working some overtime, so I had the house all to myself.

It sounds incomprehensible, but I didn't even knit. I worked on Monet. I have about 1,200 stitches completed so far. (out of 108,000, so barely a blip on the canvas.) It still looks like an indefinite blob of blue, with the ocassional speckle of lavender or gray. I know there are some waterlilies on the first page of directions, a good one to two thousand stitches away.

I can knit a row here and there while waiting for court, but I need a substantial amount of uninterrupted time to stitch. I am not certain if my mother gave me a blessing or a curse with those directions. 1% completed (almost) in two months. At that rate, it will take me. . . . . .17 years to complete. Wait, that can't be right. I should take into account that my stitching time will increase as the children grow older, right?

Also sounds incomprehensible, but I ran out of laundry that day. Oh, there were a few stray items in the hampers, but not enough to run a load. Towels, rugs and bedding were all caught up. I am not sure how long it has been since that happened, but I know not since Doodlebug was born 13 months ago. Caught up on laundry. A second little birthday treat.

Today, it is all about the stolen moments.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My next husband

When I was single and dating. I considered many things about the men that I was dating. I considered intelligence, sense of humor, physical attractiveness, and more. One attribute that I never thought about was physical size in case I wanted to knit for them some day.

I didn't know about the Curse of the Love Sweater yet, but I didn't knit for boyfriends. At least not after the scarf incident of 1999. (I knit one unworthy past boyfriend a manly blue scarf for his birthday, and he declined the gift. I had a "real gift" as well, as he so insultingly put it. A friend gleefully claimed the scarf for her husband, and I knit a matching scarf in purple for her. So the scarf wasn't punished in the end.)

So knitwear sizing just wasn't a consideration in my dating life. Now that I am knitting for a large husband, I realize the error of my ways. The Secret Wedding Socks were a large Size 11. The hoodie is a 2x. (He is really more of a large tall to extra large tall, but my sweetie likes a lot of ease in his clothes.) Even the hunting mittens are huge. If they were for me, I would be halfway finished with the second one.

Excuse me, I need to go work on an STILL unfinished thumb.

Today, it is all about the oversized.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Snow day

Yesterday was a snow day for everyone. Snow Tuesday afternoon. Sleet all night. Another foot of snow on Wednesday. At least that is what the sneaky lying weathermen were predicting. The courthouse was closed both days. (I went in to the office for the morning, then came home after lunch, when the sleet was starting.) My husband's factory was closed on Wednesday. So everyone was home Wednesday. Mommy, Daddy, two kids. It was like a weekend in the middle of the week.

We got the sleet all night, so Daddy had to break up the snow before he could shovel it. (Well, he uses a snow blower, but it doesn't sound right to say he "blows" the snow.) It snowed a little in the morning, but the foot of snow never came. Made it seem like much ado about nothing, but that is from the person that never left the house.

My sweetie left to clean his mother's driveway, and took Bugaboo with him. The litle one left with me fussed for a while, then took a long nap. I was treated to a couple free quiet hours to myself. I cross-stitched Monet. It was a nice treat. Another 100 stitches complete. 107,100 to go.

I also worked on my sweeties hunting mitttens. I am almost finished with one mitten. Only a thumb and flap to go. Obviously, it is a little big on my hand, but I couldn't convince Bugaboo to model the mitten.

Last week, children slept in, but I was up early an energetic. In addition to laundry and dishes, I did something for me. I blocked.

First lace. Finished over a year ago, but stuffed somewhere and forgotten. I unearthed it when I was un-hiding Christmas gifts.

This was really my first time blocking. (Well, other than socks, which doesn't count. )

I soaked my lace.

Then pinned it out on a quilt.

And I learned a few lessons:

1. Blocking wires exist for a reason. It was harder than I thought it would be to pin a straight line.

2. Pins matter. I used regular sewing pins. And found that the knitting popped over the tops of the pins. OK, so now I know why blocking pins have wide T tops.

All in all, blocking was a positive experience. And I am looking forward to wear my pretty lace scarf. Not today, though. It is 4 degrees outside, (Why couldn't the weathermen have been wrong about THAT) and I want to wear my wooly moebius, so I can cover my head and ears too.

Today, it is all about being a blockhead.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The brick wall

I have been happily plugging away on the hunting mittens. I have made fingerless mittens before, so I didn't anticipate any problems until the flap part. No new territory here, right? Famous last words.

Ribbing on the wrist: Check. Stockinette on the start of the palm: check. Increases leading into the thumb, at the beginning of the round: Check. Then, just when I was ready to separate the thumb from the rest of the work, what the . . . .?

"Cast on 4 stitches at the beginning of the round, TURN work, slip 16 stitches onto a thread, and leave for thumb. Knit to the end of the round." OK, I understand the concept of casting on a few more stitches. I think it would make a large gaping hole at the join, and have never actually done it, but I understand the concept.

Here is my problem. The thumb gussets are at the beginning of the round, so if I cast on some stitches, TURN, then set aside 16 stiches for the thumb, I am not setting aside the right 16 stiches. I am setting aside the 4 cast on stitches and twelve stitches from the back of the hand. Maybe it is just me, but shouldn't the stitches that I am setting aside from the thumb primarily be composed of the thumb gussets?

So this afternoon, I got the bright idea of casting on the four stitches. slipping the correct thumb stitches, then proceeding with the rest of the mitten. Sounds logical, right? I fumbled through the backward loop casting on method (oh, sure, easy in theory, but I find it unnecessarily fumbly, and producing stitches that are not very stable), slipped a dozen stitches.

Then I stared at my working yarn, sitting coyly between my cast on stitches and slipped stitches, far away from the stitches I wanted to start working.

Ok, new plan.
I figure I have two options.
One, proceed with the thumb now, ahead of schedule, then just start the rest of the mitten later, tying in a new piece of working yarn.
Two, I can forget about the casting on and the turning, set aside the thumb stitches, and proceed like I have on every other fingerless mitt I have knit.
On a completely side note, the camo yarn is turning out far more stripey than I anticipated.
Today, it is all about the stupid line in the instructions.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fast Gratification

I have been working here and there on my Twisted Tween Socks and Unnamed Red Socks, not enough for progress to be noticeable to anyone but me.

Plus, I have been stitching Monet. Around 750 stitches completed so far. 107,250 to go. I can't figure out how Monet painted the original without going blurry-eyed. All those tiny bits of blues, lavender and gray.

I took a trip to the yarn store yesterday, gift certificate clutched in my hand, ready to indulge my fiber cravings. Except that, while my knitting time has increased lately, it is far less than it was five years ago in my single days. I didn't expect it to affect my yarn buying mind, but it did. Everything I saw, I found myself comparing to the yarns in my stash. I have so many wonderful yarns in my stash, waiting to be knit, I found myself only wanting to buy what was nicer than what was in my stash. I only found one thing. Well, three skeins of the same thing. I left with one gift certificate still unspent. I figure I will bring it to Knit Night, and use it on something that catches my fancy after two hours of child-free knitting time.
So I started something new. Something in worsted weight. Something with speedy knit gratification. I started this yesterday, and already have noticeable progress. I have progress since the picture was taken earlier this afternoon. I am making some convertible hunting mittens for my sweetie. He is showing admirable patience as I measure his hands, and ask questions about how high he wants the cuffs to go up his forearms.
Today, it is all about the speed.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


My sweetie had minor surgery right before Christmas. We planned it that way, to maximize the holiday pay and shutdowns for as much of his required time off. Which meant that I spend two weeks at home with him. He was supposed to be taking it easy, so the first two days were spent taking care of him, and the remaining 12 days were spent contemplating chaining him to the chair so he would take it easy.

The kids went to Grandmas' houses as usual, to limit noise and blood pressure. I worked from home, and went in to the office for half days here and there, but mostly, I was at home doing home things. Laundry, cleaning, and relaxing. A sort of mental health recovery for me during my sweetie's physical recovery.

I did a little knitting, but not enough to photograph. Same two pairs of socks I have been working on for a long time. Twisted Tweed and Un-named red socks.

I also started something new. There are these cross-stitch patterns that I have been drooling over for years. Reproductions of Monet paintings. My mother got me four of them for Christmas. Considering how large and intricate the patterns are, I think this may be enough for a lifetime.
I started the first one. "Red Waterlilies" The directions are a little different. They recommend working a 10 by 10 stitch square at a time. Sometimes I am only doing a few squares of a color. Start, stitch three squares, end. Sounds crazy, but you would never be able to keep track of what you have stitched otherwise.
There are too many slightly different colors. Right now, all I have done is blues. Sky blues, periwinkle blue, cornflower blue, blue violet, delft blue, antique blue, wedgewood blue. . . .Blues, blues, blues. (The unstitched squares you see is the medium light blue violet that I missed on the list to buy.)
Mind-numbing, but in a good way. I have finished five squares on the first page. There are about 40 squares on each page. There are 30 pages. That makes. . . . roughly 1200 squares. Someone please tell me that my math is incorrect. That is a lot of blues. Sure, there is some greens for the lilipads, and pinks/reds for the flowers. Some lavenders and grays for accent, but still a lot of blue.
Today, it is all about the blues.