Wednesday, February 27, 2008

And I was having so much fun!

When my daughter and I moved to Canada , I had never really experienced the joys of cross-country skiing. Doug, on the other hand, enjoys the activity immensely. Enough so that when we landed, he almost immediately took me to buy the necessary equipment so that I, too, could enjoy skiing.

For eight years, I have generally enjoyed cross-country skiing. There was the one outing that went pretty sour, and I didn't ski again that season. Went out a couple of times the next year, and now I'm back to enjoying it.

Until this past weekend. As we were kitting up at the Leslie Frost Centre, I noticed something a bit strange with my boots. Upon closer examination, I discovered this: The binding part of the boot is pulling away from the boot part. Dang! And I was enjoying skiing so much! After a fair bit of discussion and examination, we decided to give it a try. Worse case scenario--I'd get to carry my skis and walk out.

The ski was ... well ... interesting is a nice word. I was vertically challenged (in other words, I fell. A lot.), but I'm blaming it on the failing ski boots, not on myself. Just because I hadn't been out for three weeks meant nothing. I tell you, if the boots had been 100% I'm certain that I would've handled the trail perfectly. (If you believe that, did I mention that I have some ocean-front real estate in Nevada for sale? Didn't fall for that one either, did you? Dang!)

So I now have a massive bruise on my leg. But at least I didn't break anything. We are planning to replace the boots at the earliest opportunity so that I can continue having fun this winter.

What I DID accomplish on the two hour ride there and two hours back is this:

These are the Annetrelac Socks from the Holiday 2007 Interweave Knits. I knit them in Regia Strato Colour and a pair of 2.75mm needles. I modified the pattern a bit. The instructions asked for a cast-on of 72 stitches, decreasing down to 48 stitches for the leg portion. This was HUGE! I cast on 60 stitches and then decreased to 48 stitches for the leg. They fit beautifully, so the modification worked.

In other news regarding the Saffron Cables ... my daughter really felt that the afghan was short. Upon further reflection, I decided she was right. Since I had three balls of yarn left over, I have decided that I am going to take back the border and add another pattern repeat. More photos of this later.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A FO, a close-up, and progress

Sibling rivalry is an interesting thing. As a parent, you try to treat your children equally, show no preference for one child over another. In fact, you generally try diligently to treat each child absolutely equally.

So when my sons were both in the 3 to 4 years of age range, they both got an afghan made for them. Their choice, as I recall, although I did give them a limited selection from which to choose. Jason chose a crocheted afghan with a barn and a tractor. Jeff, with some coaching I do admit, selected an afghan with kitties playing with balls of yarn. And Carrie? Well ... I just never got around to making her afghan. Something about having moved to Tennessee, mired in a major depression, getting divorced, you know ... life.

So the boys used to tease Carrie -- "mom likes me better because she made ME an afghan" sort of thing.

Well, that is one claim that I am finally able to lay to rest. Carrie has an afghan of her very own now.

Doesn't she look very happy? She absolutely loves the afghan and proclaims me the best mother in the world. She might be a wee bit prejudiced, but I'm not gonna complain.

The afghan is the Saffron Cables from Interweave Knits Fall 2006. I used Butter (#03612) in Patons Shetland Chunky--19 balls in all--and a size 5.5mm needle. Carrie is going to add a fringe with the 1.5 balls remaining from the wool purchase. I found no errors in the pattern, which is a wonderful experience.
If you tip your head sideways, you can also see the progress on the Arabesque from Fiddlesticks Knitting. I'm loving this project--the tiny wool, the Addi lace needles, the painstaking counting of decreases and yarn-overs, the placement of life lines. Yes, it is truly a project to enjoy. I'm currently working repeat number 9 of 14 centre repeats, so I'm officially on the downhill side.
I wonder what lace I'll do next?

Saturday, February 02, 2008

The problem is ...

I was reminded today that it was more than time for an update to appear. (Hi Gwen!) I meant to update last week, even took the photos.

But you see, I have a problem. A serious problem.

I am having a difficult time putting down the needles. And unless one puts down the needles, an update just isn't gonna appear.

I can hear you folks now, wondering just what the heck has me so entranced that I cannot stop knitting.

The daughter's afghan(Saffron Cables from Interweave Fall 2006) is within 20 rows of having the last pattern repeat completed. Then all I have left to do is the seed stitch border. I'm hoping to have that finished by next weekend.

The Annetralac sock from the Holiday Interweave Knits is also coming along. (There is no ling available to the Interweave Knits site as the issue is completely sold out. Sorry.) I've just finished turning the heel and shaping the gusset.

The Clapotis in Aracania Atacama is inching along slowly. I used it at the store this week to demonstrate how to drop a stitch and repair the damage.

The real problem is this:

Isn't lace supposed to not be pretty until it has been blocked? No one told this Arabesque shawl that, and I hope they never do. It's so gorgeous! The charts are easy to read, and the Malabrigo is a delight to knit. I work two rows, and then admire my work. Force anyone near the shop to also admire. Then work two more rows. I have completed one and a half repeats of the centre charts. Only 12 and a half to go!

Finally, there is the Great American Aran Afghan. We are doing the afghan as a "knit along" project at the store, beginning on February 26. I decided that I should work a square (at least) ahead of the group so that if there are any problems, I can troubleshoot them before my knitters get there.

I have lusted after this afghan for at least three years. Never quite found the motivation, until now. Starting this square was a wee bit problematic. For whatever reason, I am finding the charts difficult to follow. I don't believe it is a problem with the charts--just the knitter! In any event, here is the beginning of my afghan:

This is Hannah Burns' square found on page 32, and the yarn is Patons Canadiana in Oatmeal. I finally figured out that part of the problem was that the ribbons (chart B) don't both start on row 1. One side does, of course, but the other side is a reverse image. Consequently, it starts on row 17. I added a second column of row numbers to the chart, and suddenly things are progressing nicely.

Tomorrow I am going cross-country skiing at the Leslie Frost Centre. That means two hours of knitting time in the car, followed by two more hours knitting on the way home. I'm looking forward to it!

See you later!