Monday, January 22, 2007

New Project Ecstasy

I have ADD. I'm pretty comfortable with this little-known fact, and I have, in fact, learned to live with it pretty well. I have actually learned to become super-focused, so that the ADD doesn't control my life and I become a total flit-about.

This tendency to super-focus has resulted in my being pretty much a one-project-at-a-time knitter. You know--one project from beginning to end, even when it becomes a slog. When you begin to despise the project. But I persevere, because that's what I do.

So I started and finished a(nother) baby set for the Crisis Pregnancy Centre, complete with a pair of baby booties. Baby booties are important because I have joined a Sock Knit-along over at the Delphi forum, Knit & Chat, wherein we are supposed to knit a pair of socks each month of the year, preferably from stash. And baby booties count. For January, I am safe. Whew.

This is one of my usual patterns, from the 1978 McCalls Baby Knits book. A tried and true pattern, with which I rarely have problems. If problems do arise, I can state fairly safely that the problem is an 1D-10-T error. (Computer technical help desk technicians recognize this as the safe way of saying someone is an IDIOT.)

In any event, the baby set is done, complete with ribbons.

Of course, this means that I get to start a New Project. I've had a skein of SeaSilk since I attended Stephanie's birthday party at Lettuce Knit. I've pondered and pondered what to make, especially since I only had one skein. I'd heard that a one-skein shawl pattern existed, and I dutifully obtained same. It didn't really light my fire.

Then I flipped the page on my Pattern-a-Day calendar to January 15. Fishtail Lace. What could be more fitting? Except that I am a one-project-at-a-time gal, and the baby set wasn't finished. So I knit furiously on the baby set, and finished it last night.

At 8:00 pm, I started winding a ball. At 8:30 pm I cast on. At 11:15, it was clearly time to go to bed, but the scarf is so enchanting. I didn't want to put it down. At midnight, I forced myself to bed.

This morning when I opened my eyes, I raced to look at the scarf. What if it wasn't as enchanting as I thought? What if ...?

Not to worry. The scarf is still enchanting. I love the way the colours zig-zag their way up the scarf. I love how airy and light the pattern is. It's only a 6-row repeat, and the even rows are purl every stitch. I love that I have memorized the pattern.

You know what I'm gonna hate? When I have reached the end of the ball of yarn. What then?

Think anyone would notice if I frogged the scarf just so that I could reknit it?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Exciting times for me

2007 has started out with a bang. First I see Christy mentioning that she was going to be in my area and would try to stop by my store. Now, THAT qualifies as a red-letter event. I first started blogging because I was lonely; I missed a knitting group with whom I had formed wonderfully close ties. Then life interfered and I moved to Tennessee, where I knew no one. Moving to Canada was a step in the right direction for my life--at least in the cold, snowy north one would expect to find knitters. And, of course, the internet is a wonderful medium for making friends.

Yesterday I found out how true it is. Christy made her way to my store and I got to shake the hand(s) that created the wonderful Noro sweater shown on her blog. She pronounced my shop "lovely," which also endears her to my heart. Here is a picture of the big event:
Christy was able to view Gyrid, the shell made from the Elsebeth Lavold's Book One--The Viking Knits Collection. It has been finished for a while ... ever-efficient that I am, I kept forgetting to bring it in to the shop. The Silky Wool is a great knit. It's soft without feeling mushy. Knits into a lovely light-weight fabric that will be a dream to wear. (Remember, I made this as a display piece for the shop.)
I followed the pattern without deviation, and pronounce it good. For my next feat (from this particular book), I will be attempting the hat and mittens pattern. Possibly (hopefully) as projects for the intermediate knitting group in Uxbridge.

Finally, with the advent of winter weather (finally), the cats have been searching for warm sleeping spots. Henry has found the best one ever--
right on top of the floor vent. Good thing there are two more that heat that room, eh?!

Friday, January 12, 2007

The Accursed Sweater--Part Two

Or is it part three? I can't remember. What I do remember is that I had to frog the first attempt because there was no way the sweater was going to fit my lovely husband. Several friends suggested that perhaps he should go on a diet ... or perhaps I should find a smaller recipient for the sweater. Nope. I dutifully frogged it and started over.

Things went well for the body and first sleeve. When I finished the second sleeve and started to assemble everything on the needles ... The second sleeve was much longer than the first ... A more careful perusal of the pattern indicated that the problem was in my interpretation of the directions. (Note to self: Read patterns carefully even when you think you remember what you are doing. Memory plays tricks!) So I ripped again.

By now, my poor husband was beginning to fear that his sweater would take the road traveled by Joe's Gansey (see various of the Yarn Harlot's posts about said gansey). Not that we've had much winter thus far, but he WAS hoping to be able to wear it this year.

Then my sister had her baby early. Three weeks early in fact. So the Accursed Sweater was put on the back burner while I made a gift for Sammy.

Returning to the Accursed Sweater, I finished the second sleeve and assembled the project on the needles. And began the colour-work. Only to discover I had too many stitches. A more careful review of the pattern directions indicated that I was required to perform some decreases before the colours started. (Apparently I did NOT remember the note to myself made above!) So I ripped again.

By now, my husband was getting seriously worried. He would inquire anxiously if I was all right, did I need anything, perhaps a glass of wine or some Guiness. Through clenched teeth (apparently disregarding my vow to never grind teeth again so as to avoid root canals) I would state firmly that I.WAS. FINE.

After the requisite decrease rows, I began the colour-work. A tremendous sigh of relief when the first row worked out properly. A sip of wine and row two commenced. An even louder sigh of relief. I worked several more rows without incident.

And then a miracle occurred. Lizzie-Kitty, who is NOT a lap-cat, settled in for a long winter's nap. And stayed for almost an hour. This, folks, is right up there with the Virgin birth and making-wine-from-water stories. She NEVER sits on laps. And not only is she on my lap, she is stretched out, tucked in and purring.

2007 is gonna be a great year.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

As the dust slowly settles

As the dust slowly settles and we are left with only the memories of the holidays, I would like to take this time to say "Happy New Year" and offer my best wishes to any and all folks who read this blog. May 2007 be filled with many blessings, good health and good things for you and yours.

My holidays began with my son, Jeff, driving his Little Red Car all the way from Kalamazoo to visit us. By himself, too, which was frightening for the mom. But he made it safely, and a day ahead of when I expected him. Good things come to those who wait patiently. But then you knew that.

He checked out my little yarn shop, and pronounced it good. He said he wanted to learn to knit during this trip, so we grabbed some needles and wool and began. He learned to cast on. He learned to knit. He learned to purl. And then he wanted to make something.

The truth is that he had a hat that he wanted to duplicate. It required sock yarn and 2mm needles. And seed stitch. And decreases. Not exactly what one should start for a first project. So he decided on a scarf. And cast on and did several rows of 2x2 ribbing. (We used 6mm needles, which were larger than suggested for this wool, but provided a truly excellent fabric.)

The young man has excellent taste. He selected some Nature Wool from Araucania, colour 11. This wool is really neat. Unlike Paton's, you have the base colour, and then you have gradations of that colour. So dark grey is really shades of dark grey. Not enough to get pooling, mind you, but enough to really give some depth to the colour. All in all, a lovely choice. My fingers had been itching to try that wool ever since it arrived in the shop, so this was the perfect opportunity. I finished it for him.

Definitely worth it. The wool ... the smile ... the dimples ... the hugs.

Another project which you will see soon (very soon!) is my second attempt at The Accursed Sweater. I am thrilled to report that I am now completing the neck ribbing. Soon, ever so soon, it will be DONE! I am so thrilled!

A shop project which you haven't seen yet is this hat. It's a simple 1x1 rib, done with Noro Silk Garden. I really love the way the colours flow into each other. Interestingly enough, when I first looked at Noro I didn't really like it. What was I thinking? It's yummy. Almost good enough to eat! Or in the parlance of my daughter, good enough to marry. (Are 16 year old girls always so dramatic? Was I at that age?) This hat is destined to be donated to the Dulaan Project come summer when I mail my box off to Arizona. Some teen in Mongolia will have a lovely, warm hat next winter.

'Til next time ...