With all this sweater knitting going on, I’ve kept a sock going for traveling about or when I needed a break from any kind of mental activity.

Last weekend, I woke a bit earlier than my family, which is normal.  I’ve been reading classics online so I grabbed my laptop and my sock knitting, put them in bed, went to the bathroom, came back to bed and–crunch!  Knelt on my sock in progress.  I broke two of five needles and even though I have a spare (thanks, Knit Picks), I am not fond of knitting a circle on three needles. Honestly, I was still so groggy, I just tossed it off the bed and went on with reading.

It took me a day and a half to find another set of US 1 needles.  Hm.  I should have more but where are they?

This makes me feel justified for just a few seconds that I should go order some stuff from Knit Picks.  Then I remind myself that I only have one pair of hands and I can actually only knit one thing at a time, no matter what I dream of at night, so carry on, old girl.  When you’ve run out of sweaters to knit, you can get that Northern Lights Cape kit and throw in some of those stabby Harmony DPNs you love so much.

Or when your Brittany birch DPNs bite it, then really you will have no choice.  The other 284 needles will not do because they are not US 1/2.25 mm.  He won’t understand but he’s learned not to argue in certain arenas.  In fact, I think it was a US 1 DPN that punctured his arm a few years ago when he didn’t look where he was sitting.  Back when I still used aluminum 7 inchers.

The Great Needle Blocking Experiment

Lace Ribbon is all done (details on Ravelry).  All done but for the blocking.

So block it we must.  But what’s a gal to do with a big lace rectangle and no blocking wires?

Luckily I have a jar full of 14″ knitting needles in all sizes.  I stuck to US 3 and under. I think this would have been easier to pin out if it had points to pin but no, it’s just a rectangle with lace inside.

No, it’s not a perfect solution but this is a scarf, not a state fair entry.  And I figure if it comes out really wonky then I can just reblock it.  With wires.  There’s a welding supply store just down the street from my house and the talk out in the ether is that stainless steel welding wires work and are cheaper.  For me, perhaps easier to acquire as well.

Bits and Pieces

I’ve reached that point of the holiday season when there is so much to do, holiday or otherwise, that I can’t keep track of it all and I know some things are time-sensitive and I end up so turned around that I don’t know what to do first and thus do nothing.  Thankfully, I’ve learned not to stress about it (too much).  Instead, I am bewildered, I suppose.  I called Matt this afternoon after dropping Z off at preschool just in case he knew something I forgot.  He suggested I do some shopping downtown.  I am burned out on shopping, whether it is for gifts or groceries, so I just went home and played with the baby until it was pick up time.

Now for the randomness:

*It’s so windy!  And wet!  I should make myself a cup of tea.  But I forget to before I make it to the kitchen.  Or I don’t hear the electric kettle.  I’ve heated it twice.

*Finished a small Thorpe for Zander last week.  It took me only three days–what a thrill to finish something so quickly.  I knit the small size using Cascade 220 doubled, and this is a good size for a child.  It’s a little loose on my preschooler but not so it will fall off his head.  I skipped the braided ties because I thought that would be safer on the playground–and they’re easy enough to add later if I change my mind.

*Elinor makes kissy noises with her lips.  And gives open-mouth, wet, baby kisses.  You know it’s love when you don’t care!

*Hanukkah starts on Friday.  We are ready with the gifts but not the food.  Someone needs to go to a grocery store with a real produce section so we can get a heaping mound of onions and potatoes for latkes.  And it’s windy, rainy, cold, and gross outside.  So far…I can live without latkes on the first night.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings (I hear it’s going to be very cold).

*I have had a crisis of coat buying for the children.  It has nothing to do with the holidays but has worn me out on shopping.  It involved going to the mall, in December, which I never do.  The best part, though, is that I found a coat for Elinor in her closet this morning, a coat her cousin passed down.  Hallelujah.  Crisis over.

*I/Zander inherited a UFO from Charlotte–a pair of half-finished socks–which her children outgrew before they ever got to wear.  I finished the first this afternoon.  Here it is yesterday.  The yarn is Plymouth Jelli Beenz, a fun and colorful acyrlic/wool blend.  Zander, my biggest fan when it comes to knitting, is very excited.  We’ve already had one serious discussion about his socks and the dog.  Ahem.

*My freelance work is ramping up again.  I have two projects right now, although one is in three pieces so it’s really more like four projects.  I must pace myself to avoid stressing out because I can only do one piece at a time and if I get behind it will be a vicious domino effect complete with loss of sleep.

*I am knitting Elinor a stocking to go with our other three.  The pattern is Christmas in Tallinn by Nancy Bush from Knitting on the Road.  I’ve made several patterns from this book.  I had to substitute the yarn because no one locally now carries the Dalegarn Heilo I used for the first three, but I am happy with the substitute, Rauma Strikkegarn.  It comes in lots of colors and is sticky, which is great for colorwork.  I may actually like this yarn better than the Heilo.

*The seed catalogs are starting to arrive.  I am thinking of planting more quantity of fewer types of plants next year in the vegetable garden.  Partly to get better at growing the things we love the most and partly because we really need to focus on the flower beds, get them organized.  They were empty when we moved in.  Now they’re kinda weedy.

Good night!

The Urban Aran Cardigan warms yet another body


After swearing up and down and back and forth that last night was the night that I was going to go to bed early (ie, on time), I sat down for an hour to sew some more on the zipper of Matt’s Urban Aran Cardigan.

Wait, back up.

On Thanksgiving, Matt drove us to my parents’ house and I started sewing down the zipper.  My hand sewing is not the best but I am capable.  I decided back stitch was the way to go.  Strong, uses twice as much thread, and even I can’t screw it up.  Or can I?

The thing I was doing didn’t look like back stitch but I could not fathom what I was doing wrong.  So I stuffed the sweater back into its tote and talked to my husband for the rest of the car ride.  Maybe, just maybe, I saw a tear in his eye?  He’s been waiting a long time.

That evening, back at home and kids abed, I did some research online.  Looks like I had the right method but was, um, going backwards.  Sigh.  I was sewing back stitch left to right rather than right to left.  I don’t know how it could make that much difference but, oh, it did.

Sunday was another trip, this time to Matt’s dad’s house.  In half an hour (before the edges of car sickness snuck up on me; a legacy of my pregnancies that sometimes haunts me) I managed to sew down about half of one side of the zipper.  Yey!  Measurable progress!

So last night, with an hour to go until my 10pm bedtime, I figured I would get the other side sewn down.  That plan went so peachy and my back stitch was going much faster so I started in on the other side and willfully ignored the clock.  I was also listening to Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Master Classes on the Knitting Workshop DVDs.  In the end, I stayed up until midnight with Matt who, when he realized sweater was about to be finished, decided to stay up and keep my company.

At about 11:30pm last night we pranced around singing “Happy Birthday” and snapping pictures.  The strange glow in the photo above is my Ott light, which was necessary to see the dark brown thread against the dark brown zipper and dark brown wool.

So that’s the good news.  Ten months later, the birthday cardigan is done and I am free to start my own new sweater: Ribby Cardi.  Of course my mom mentioned to me on the phone last night that she needs a wool sweater for her office.  Was she fishing?  If so, I didn’t bite; not yet.  She knows how to knit and I need a cardigan!

The bad news is that our dog, about an hour ago, jumped up on a window and broke it.  After cleaning up the glass, I was able to wrangle the storm into place (our windows are old) so that I am no longer heating my front yard.  I am awash with ugly emotions.  Luckily both children are asleep and I can hunch over some knitting and distract myself for a bit.  This post is part of that distraction so let’s just move on.

Ribby Cardi calls me like a siren but I am going to put her off for a few days or weeks.  I’d like to wrap some of my other projects.  Nevertheless, I did cast on something entirely new this afternoon.  Zander’s winter gear was next most important on my list because he is playing on the playground at preschool three days a week, at the very least.  I started a Toasty Topper today with Cascade 220 Heathers in a blue color.  Hopefully there will be enough leftover that I can also make him some mittens.  If not, I know where to get more.

There is more to tell you my pretties, but I’ll save it for another day.  I need to go do some knitting.

Stayin’ Cool, Playin’ Hookey

I wish I could use a little bit of my superpowers to keep this blog up more regularly.  Just sayin’.  No regrets and no apologies.  And I’m not giving up.  It is what it is for the summer.  In the fall, Zander will go to preschool and I might have five minutes of quiet strung together.  I’ve started writing my journal again (right before submitting to unconsciousness at night) – always a good sign.  After fourteen years of fairly regular journaling, it is a stable point in my universe.

The Zauberball socks are done and lovely although I was too sleep-deprived to take a picture and Daye made them disappear FAST when they were finally presented.  There will be a photo shoot and FO show off here in the near future.  I have the yarn for socks for her husband and my friend, Pete, who has been taking my ill-behaved puppy for runs (he tells me her nickname is “anchor”).

I started a baby knit for Jenny, who is due to have her first baby in just two more weeks.  Well.  I didn’t have enough yarn.  More is on the way except it’s a different color so I have to restart.  Baby Chloe, don’t wait for me!  I can knit fast when I need to.

My sister Sarah wanted to do a knit-a-long with me and so bought me some Malabrigo lace yarn for my birthday from Busy Hands.  I threw together a simple stole pattern using the hourglass lace pattern from Barbara Walker vol. 1.  I am not a frilly girly-girl but I like to knit lace.  It’s like a dance.  (I like dancing too.)  The stole is yummy and is creeping along.  Sarah’s birthday is in a few weeks and she says we should start another knit-a-long… does she think we’ll be done with the lace?  I’m not sure if she is liking knitting lace.  She is impatient with knitting but she is a wicked fast crocheter.  Maybe it will be a crochet-a-long and I will get my just desserts.

From the Dept of Distractions – Elinor started rolling over for real today.  She is a happy baby, adores her big brother who has decided that he is five years old and not four because he wants badly to go to school.  Only a month and a half until preschool!  I am booked on freelance work through at least March next year which is good news for the freelancer but hard on the mother and on the human being who is waiting waiting waiting for her turn, a vacation, a quiet moment.  Not that I’m complaining.  I’m just going to go lay on the couch for a wee moment….