Saturday, December 30, 2006

Stocking, Knitting Finished

It's done! It's done! Almost. Ok, the stocking is completely knitted, but there is cleanup, blocking, and darning Kent's name onto it. But, the big news is that I finished all the knitting early this morning after feeding the doggies and before Jane and Helen left.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Week After

Nick joined us Christmas Day. Yay! I was very happy and feel a great weight of worry has been lifted from my shoulders. Any more said at this point would be overkill so I'll leave it at that for now. He tells me his email address DOES work but he hadn't checked it in a while so it'd been disabled. He tells me he's re-enabled it.

The Christmas Stocking is coming along like gang-busters. The pattern numbering was off by 25 from the numbering listed in the instructions. I just had to figure out where. My math stinks, so this wasn't as easy as it sounds. After that got sorted out I read through the instructions (mind if I start calling this a recipe?) three or four times. And then another three or four times. Remember, this is my first exploration into socks (cue music from Journey to the Center of the Earth).

Most sock recipes call for doing the heel before the rest of the foot, from what I can tell. I finally figured out that this recipe calls for marking the heel with scrap yarn, knitting the rest of the foot to the toe, then going back to the scrap yarn, picking up stitches and separating the scrap from the rest of the foot and then knitting into the gusset. Humnph. Here goes nothin.' I'm about five rows away from the toe, then it's back up to the heel.

iHubby: Wow, that's really long.
Me: This part here? It's the foot.
iHubby: Oh.
Me: See, you have to knit to here, then do this, then go back here.
iHubby: Oh. (starting to glaze over - but he's so wonderful that he pretends he's not)
Me: And look inside, this is the way intarsia is supposed to look in reverse.
iHubby: You mean not like the spastic spaghetti where you did the, uhm, "reindeer"?
Me: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Then I asked him if he wanted his name on it. "You can do that?" asks my beloved. "Yes," I answer, and suddenly I'm the Knitting Queen of the World. It's good to be the Queen.

Really really: pictures soon.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Flaming Sticks

That's the name Hubby dubbed my knitting needles: Flaming Sticks. Stealth Project #3 is too big - way way out of gauge. I forgot to downsize the pattern when I upsized the needles. Maybe THAT will become a purse, too. I'm about three hours away from completion so I guess we'll see how badly oversized it really is.

Those three hours will be today because I'm home with a sinus infection, this season's first, and I'm going to try to to see the doctor and get much needed antibiotics. I can take Tylenol Sinus until the cows come home but the infection won't go away without the really good drugs. Since this is such a perennial thing maybe she'll just call it in to the pharmacy (hoping, hoping). Today is the team luncheon, too, which I also really want to attend.

Gooood antibiotics took care of that sinus infection. Then I sprained my hand. My hand caught on something and my middle finger (Mom, remember the one that I broke in middle school?) was pulled to far back. So far back I thought I'd broken it again, which after x-rays turned out not to be the case. Nonetheless, the pain was pretty substantial, and now most of the swelling has gone down, and there's a lump in the middle of my right palm. That really put the kibosh on a lot. So did the loss of my Christmas mojo. It disappeared. I think I got it back two days ago but up until then I was thinking I'd just skip the holiday this year.

So, Family-Who-Are-Reading-This, I (we) have gifts that I want to send but they'll be late. Sorry! Like the good little corporate manager that I am, though, I'm already thinking of ways to mitigate the likelihood of it happening again next year. It might involve visiting someone for the holidays. Or starting Christmas early, ha ha!

I have continued to knit, albeit slowly (it's been easier to knit than to mouse and type). All the stealth projects are completed. I've started working on a Christmas Stocking as my entry into the sock world. I've been told that knitting a stocking is a good way to learn; you use the same techniques but on larger needles and yarn. I've also found some nice patterns, so right now I'm swatching for gauge (knitting a 5" square piece using the recommended needles and yarn and stitch to see if my stitches/rows per inch are accurate for the piece). Since it'll be going on someones mantel, gauge isn't as critical, but it's good practice, especially given that two of the stealth projects came out in woefully wrong sizes!

I'll be dropping a note to Nick via his car windshield to invite him over for Christmas Day. He didn't respond to my last note so I don't know if he'll respond to this one. That's ok. He'll do whatever it is he's going to do, and eventually he'll bring us back into his life when he's ready. If he's anything like me (and he's alot like me) that might take several years.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Stealth Project #2 - Finished

Alright, stealth project #2 is done. I just started the swatch for stealth project #3, which I changed my mind about three different times. It's more of a "which one can I finish first and get the biggest bang for my buck?" I still have the Publisher project to complete (if I call it something else you'll guess what it is), which I can do in a weekend. Then the Scotland project for Grandma, which I also can finish on either a weeknight or a weekend. If everyone get's Harry & David this year it means I wasn't able to finish it all!!! I seem to be the only person in the house who is into this "hand-crafted gifts" thing this year. Oh well, it gives me pleasure and hopefully will give pleasure to my recipients, too.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Back & Forth, Knit & Purl

Yes, it's been a while. When things start getting rough, I stop blogging. Mom would say I should blog more when things are rough, which may be true...but not my native habit.

Round after my last post I retaught myself to knit. What insane bee was caught in my bonnet? I don't know but I'm glad I did it. More on that later.

The thing is, that last post was about a week and a half after Nick up and disappeared again. Sort of. He stopped going to work.
He stopped coming home. That was bad, and we got calls from his boss for several days until Bill was convinced we didn't know where Nick was. Which we didn't, but I think at first Bill may have thought we were protecting Nick from him. Then Bill called to say that a car had been stolen from the lot and that Nick had "deleted the key from the key vault," whatever that means. That didn't look too good. We haven't heard anything about that since, so he may have been bluffing to see if we'd cough up Nick. Since we couldn't, we didn't. For a few days we thought he might actually be missing...but we kept seeing traces that he'd been visiting while we were at work. Things left out, doors left unlocked, a soda can lying around where none had been previously. Ok, he's staying at the Redgate Nick's, we thought. ("Redgate Nick" is the name for his his friend Nick who lived on Redgate Ave, and that was our way of distinguishing one Nick from the other in conversation). I drove by Redgate Nick's place, now living with a couple other friends in our neighborhood, and there was Nicholas' car, his little black Nissan Sentra 200SX.

I tried (once) to reach out. I left a note (sealed in a ziplock baggy to ward off the damp) on his car window, which he got (I drove by several times to see if he'd plucked it off the windshield), but which he may or may not have read. He's doing everything he can to stay out of touch and at this point I'm just going to respect that. The other night, though, and I thought this was kind of funny, we found little hairs in the bathroom sink. He'd come by to shave and, as usual, didn't rinse the sink. I laughed. Three weeks ago I'd have had an emotional meltdown over the little incident, and would have been very blue for the following two days. This is, I think, where the knitting comes in to play.

When Shanon and I ventured to Charlottesville we sent into a yarn store. I was enchanted and curious. So, about Nov 10 or so, I was at Michael's Arts & Crafts store getting supplies for Christmas gifts. I found myself in the knitting aisle and stood there for a long time, looking at the yarns, the needles, and fiddling with some of the books, and I went for it. Picked (what I thought was) a simple pattern from a $3 booklet, got the needles and the yarn and a little bag of "gotta have" tools (stitch gauge, pins, measuring tape, needle caps, etc.) and went home and tried to figure it out. Between the instructions in the booklet, the videos on, and my own smarts, I managed to figure this out enough to make something. I can't say what it is because it's a gift but I'll post a pic after Christmas.

This simple object was knitted in the round and felted. Call me ambitious, devil-may-care, stupid. The first version of the object failed to meet my expectations. So I tried again, this time being very careful to cast on the correct number of stitches!!! But I learned many lessons from this first foray:
  • Felting is fun!!
  • Felting hides a multitide of sins, such as suspect seaming and boo-boos when binding off.
  • Felting shrinks pretty well vertically (stitches running up/down) but not much horizontally (side-to-side at the row level).
  • Wool yarn bleeds. Just ask my bras, which I threw into the wash with this little fuschia thing.
  • Knitting in the round is not nearly as difficult as it sounds. In fact, it's pretty easy, although the needles are shorter and I like them a little longer.
  • I'm prone to dropping stitches.
  • I can watches a marathon of CSI or Law and Order SVU for hours when I'm knitting.
  • It's incredibly relaxing, and meditative (when not watching tv).
And, most importantly, it helped me get through the last few weeks, including Thanksgiving, with Nick MIA and Patrick still in Fort Leonard Wood.

I've since made a hat which is waaaay too small for anyone but Alison's baby doll. It also fits my model skull. Now I'm knitting three other things which I can't discuss because they, too, will likely be Christmas gifts if I can get them finished in time to avoid overnight Fed-Exing! I have a bunch of projects, small ones, lined up for the next year. I'm abuzz with ideas and want to knit every pattern I see! No, this isn't eclipsing photography. I can't take photos all day long, every day. But knitting fills the gaps and then some. haha!