Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Oh, you noticed the needles?

Two of out three Christmas gifts were completed in time.  My mother's scarf was not, unsurprisingly.  I wrapped it up anyway, but my mother did notice the ball of yarn and needles at the bottom of the box. Can't put anything past her!  Aside from its unfinished stated, she did love the scarf, and I took it back to finish posthaste.

Christmas Eve, Mom was at the in-law celebration, so I couldn't work on her scarf, and I was craving some serious instant knitting gratification.  Every year the LYS does a stash swap.  A gift exchange of goodies from our stash.  My giftings were four balls of Lion Brand Thick and Quick.  Not my usual cup of tea, but it does have its place.  And it fell into place for Christmas Eve.  I started a scarf for charity, and had it finished by the 26th.  After months of lace mania, it was reassuring to see instant scarf.  Just add needles and a few hours!

Today, it is all about the instant.  

Monday, December 23, 2013

Knitting at the Speed of Santa

Only one more knitting days til Christmas.

So here is the tally.

Gift #1:  Mitts for my son's kindergarten teacher.  Finished, wrapped, delivered, and thank you note received.  It is so nice to see that good manners aren't dead.

Gift #2: Spring Haven, the scarf for my mother-in-law.  Completed, finished, and blocking as we speak.  This is my first time working with Cascade 220, and I think it is safe to say it will not be my last.  It had a slightly rough feel. but one that hinted at strength and warmth.  I was pleased with the inner softness coming out after a cool bath.

Gift #3: Scarf for my Mother.  Halfway finished.  Three long feet to go, with a mere 36 hours til Christmas.  Unless Santa loans me some of his super speed, I will be wrapping a half finished scarf.

Today, it is all about the holiday speed.

P.S.  Sorry, I have pictures of the scarf blocking, but I am too tired to download tonight.        


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Good things come in small packages

My yarn arrived.  Thanks baby brother!

Part of the delay wasn't his fault.  Apparently, a little notice was dropped in my mailbox a couple weeks ago alerting me to its arrival.  I have quizzed the man and two half men that live in my house, and all have given me a blank stare and blanket denial.  This mystery may never be solved, and I am closing my file.

Meanwhile, I am reveling in my rescue yarn.  It isn't very much, probably only an ounce or two.  Yards that are measured in the double digits, and low ones at that. If I remember correctly, I had nine inches of edge left to do.  Each row takes one foot of yarn.  Sixteen rows to the repeat.  Each repeat produces 2 1/2 inches, plus extra on the corner.  Figure another 80 to 100 feet of yarn needed. . .

Wait, was it 9 inches of edge left, or 9 feet or yarn before I admitted defeat.  Bloody hell.  I will have to check at home.  After Christmas.

Only six more knitting day til Christmas.

Today, it is all about the tiny lifesaver.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Insert cliche here

We had a new waiter at Knittervention last night.  He was mid-20's, adorable, bored, and kept calling us endearments.  We invited him to join us, but he admitted that his knitting skills were poor.  We were impressed that he had knitting skills at all.  A throwback from his 7th grade Home Ec class.  Knitting and cracking eggs.

We took turns quizzing him.  He was a student.  Hoping to go back to nursing school.  His roommate just graduated.  Blah, blah. . . .
I had a rare second beer.  I couldn't resist.  He smiled and called me "darlin'."

In spite of the masculine distraction, I accomplished quite a few inches on Spring Haven.

It wasn't until I was driving home that I realized we were a cliche.  A number of middle-aged women (though I hate to admit it, I have to confess entering that bracket of life after I turned 40) knitting and flirting with a cute waiter.

Cliches exist for a  reason, right?

Today, it is all about the cute waiter.

Monday, December 16, 2013

OK, New plan

Only nine more knitting days until Christmas.

I have reviewed all the possible options that will result in finished Christmas gift.

I could take nine days off from work, and spend my days knitting.  I could find a way to forego sleep.  I could figure out how to warp the space time continuum.

Short of a miracle, I have realized that I will not have two finished scarves in time.

I have decided to concentrate only on my mother-in-law's scarf, for several reasons.

1.   It is closer to being finished, so it is a more realistic goal.

2.  My mother-in-law is less likely to understand the concept of wrapping a nearly finished gift, letting her open it, and taking it back to complete.  Mom is crafty.  Not a knitter, but I believe that she will understand my dilemma.

3.  Mom's scarf looks lovely right now.  It is a textured motif.  My mother-in-law's scarf is lace, and will require blocking.

I have nine days to finish the scarf.  Eight days to finish the knitting, to allow one day for blocking.  That will require a couple inches per day.  That is a realistic goal.

Excuse me, while I prepare to leave for Knittervention.  Two hours of quality knitting time.  Prime opportunity to achieve my require couple inches.

Today, it is all about the re-prioritization.

Friday, December 13, 2013

And that is why I am not an accountant

I always scan my last post before starting a new one.  This time, I realized that there were a shocking number of mathematical errors: with the feet/inches of knitting to complete, with the average inches per day to achieve completion, and even with the number of days until Christmas.

I could try to blame sleep deprivation, multitasking of the mind, or any other number of things.  I might have gotten away with it too, if I hadn't screwed up the day count until Christmas.  I have young children.  They parrot to me multiple times a day how many sleeps til Christmas.  I really have no excuse.

So here are the correct numbers, reviewed for accuracy by the local university geek math department.

Spring Haven:  4 feet completed.  2 feet to go.  Or until I run out of yarn, whichever happens first.

Un-named blue scarf for my mother: 32 inches completed.  3 feet 4 inches to go.  Or until I run out of yarn, whichever happens first.

Number of days until Christmas:  12

Average inches needed per day to finish in time: 5.3

Equally unattainable as 10 inches per day, but now I can sleep at night knowing that I have accurately calculated the extent to which I am totally screwed on my Christmas knitting.

Today, it is all about the accuracy of screwed-ness.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

One down

Knit Night last night.  The special December event.  Most of the two hours was spent on the gift exchange.  Drawing numbers, oooing as each gift was unwrapped, waiting for your turn to select a new wrapped gift from the table or stealing from another. . .   All in good fiber fun, of course.

But I was able to get some knitting in there.  And I finished one Christmas gift.  The mitts, for Bugaboo's kindergarten teacher.  Finished, except for the finishing.  I didn't bring a tapestry needle with me.

I also made a little dent in Spring Haven.  Just shy of four feet completed.  Two to go.  Opposite for the other scarf.  Six feet to go in total.

Oh, this doesn't look good.  Ten more knitting days til Christmas.

That is an average of 10 inches a day,  This REALLY doesn't look good.

Today, it is all about the futility.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Question from the Bench

Judge: Isn't it a bit late to start Christmas gifts?

What I thought:  Stop talking to me; I am counting.

What I said:  (smiling) yes.

I love this Judge.  He actually notices when I am knitting something new, or knitting the same thing for months in his courtroom.  His wife has him well trained.

I started Monday morning with less than an inch completed on the second mitt. After knitting a row here and there at the courthouse, and Knittervention Monday night, plus some late night after-the-kids-go-to-bed-and-the-kitchen-is-clean knitting, I have five inches of progress, and have started the thumb increases.

I am starting to feel confident that the mitts will be done with weeks to spare, leaving only the scarves to finish.

This is usually the point when the floor drops from under my feet.

Today, it is all about the confidence.        

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Start the Countdown

24 knitting days until Christmas.

This is the first time that I really have Christmas knitting gift deadlines.  I am not sure I like it.  I like the idea of giving knitted gifts, but I don't like knitting against a looming deadline.  Knitting is supposed to be fun, not work.

 That said, I am making decent progress.  Even with this shopping-packed  family-packed weekend, I finished the first mitt.  It turned out to be considerably larger than planned.  I increased every third stitch for the thumb gusset, which turned out to be much longer than initially visualized, and therefore larger overall length.  If I didn't have a looming deadline, I might rip back to increase on alternating rows, but I don't have that kinda time to waste.  Just because it was larger than I had planned doesn't mean that it doesn't look pretty and useful.  Though it does mean that the second one will take a wee bit longer.
 The scarves are progressing nicely.  Spring Haven is over half done, and -- Oh, I haven't named the blue one yet-- it is about one-third finished.

They are very different scarves.  I had originally planned to make the same scarf for both mothers, in different colors.  But when it came time to buy Mom's yarn, another called out to me, which meant finding a textured pattern, instead of lace.  

I am not sure if this is a reaction to the gift knitting thing, but I have been fighting a serious case of startitis.   I have been browsing around Ravelry (always a dangerous pastime), and everything is jumping out and saying "Knit me!" at once.  Shawlettes, mittens, lace,  color stranded. . . .I am trying to resist, and maybe finish one or two things in the overflowing WIP bag first.

Trying doesn't necessarily mean succeeding.  I am safe as long as I have gifts to finish, but if I receive new yarn for Christmas, it just might push me over the edge.

Today, is it all about the countdown.