Sunday, April 14, 2013

But for the yarn-overs...

A while back (November , I believe) I told you about a cardigan that I have been working on. The Lady Marple sweater or as I call it my Early Evening Cardigan. When it is complete it should look like this:

Lady Marple Sweater, by Nadia Crétin-Léchenne 
Picture © Nadia Crétin-Léchenne
Mine currently looks like this:
Maybe a blocking will help...
The body of this sweater went together quite quickly. I actually knit all of this in less than 2 weeks.  I was starting to think that I could be one of those knitters that slams out a whole adult sized sweater in less than a month. (Provided I use worsted weight wool, larger needles and have a lot of time to sit and knit.) I looked at this body and thought to myself that I had only 2 sleeves and a button band and collar left to go! Oh baby, home stretch! Right?

Right? So why didn't I continue on my hot streak and just finish? Because something wasn't right. But I couldn't quite put my finger on it right away.

I started looking at my sweater and comparing it to those  Ravelry completed by other knitters. I liked theirs better but could not figure out why mine seemed... lacking.

Was it the colour or yarn? No, I still liked both. Although I was a little nervous now about this yarn pilling under the arms after having read some reviews.  I was concerned but it wasn't a deal breaker.

Was it the waist shaping? No, I don't think so.  I ultimately decide to put in waist shaping despite the knowledge that my own shape has none. I figured that it really was slight shaping and maybe it would help me look like I have a shape. No big deal.

It was the cables. Specifically the yarn overs. Look at the pictures at the very top of this blog. Her sweater has beautiful cables with big open peeky holes. Mine have to be stretched to be seen. EXCEPT over a couple of rows, notably the left breast, where I must have forgotten what I was doing and completed a proper yarn over, completely by accident. Crap.

 I have put a white sheet of paper under the cables as contrast
so that you can see how open my yarn over are NOT!
So, what do I do now? Well, I am blocking it now but shy of physically opening  and stretching each yarn over individually they are going to stay as they are right now. The cables still look nice but just not as I had wanted them to look.

As I have discussed time and time again I am a process knitter and, as such,  I really do not see myself ripping this whole sweater to start again. And if I am not prepared to rip it back then I have to be happy with it as it is now. But in my mind it isn't the same sweater.  ARGG!

Please leave me a comment to tell me what YOU would do?

In the mean time, I think I may take this an oppotunity to start a new sweater... while the jury is out.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Birthday Mitten

Gather'round y'all. It's time for another story. This is the story of ...The Birthday Mitten

RH: top of hand

RH: palm side

Behold Heather's birthday mitten. This is a Snowfling Mitts, designed by Tanis Lavallee. I love this pattern!

It is a family joke that I have an odd way of  routinely forgetting my sister's birthday. Well, not the birth-DAY, per se, that I almost always remember. What I forget is whether I have sent a gift or card to congratulate or celebrate the occasion. That I often forget. And it is for this reason that Heather may get one or as many as three birthday cards and/or gifts from me anytime during the year. 

My process is that I buy gifts throughout the year.  If I am out shopping in August and see a perfect gift for my sister's March birthday I typically buy it right away. My problem is sometimes I tuck the item away in my box of future gifts to be pulled out in time for her special day and sometimes I am too excited and send the item in the mail right away. My challenge is to remembering what I did with the item or remembering that I bought it in the first place. A smart person would write this stuff down but alas...

My sister has benefited greatly from my forgetfulness on this front for several years now. Having an early March birthday I have often bought her an extra special Christmas gift and called it a joint Christmas-Birthday gift. I gently remind her that she will not get another gift from me in March. (At this she smiles knowingly.) And then I'll send her a card with a cheque in March. And another one in June; for this one I'll be panicking and full of  apology that I had forgot the whole thing in March. 

My sister always reminds me, after the second or third gift or card, that I had sent the other items. She calls me a dumbass, I agree, I say that I am going to write this stuff down better next year, she scoffs and we laugh about it all.  Typical sister stuff.

With all the background above you can perhaps understand why I was so amused that my sister had occasion to forget MY birthday last year. (Ahem, I'm a December birthday, in case you care.) It was a benchmark birthday for me too.  But we had a busy Christmas season where we did not get to see each other throughout the holidays and, in fact, my family had gone away for 2 weeks. So it was deep into January before I had even noticed that she hadn't wished me happy birthday. 

No way was I going to remind her! This was too good of an opportunity. I was going to wait for her to remember and have this as ammunition to tease her- forever- that she had forgotten my birthday. At least I forget by sending too many gifts!

I called her in late January to ask her what her eldest son would like for his birthday when it suddenly pops into her brain that she had forgotten MY birthday. Our conversation went something like this:

Heather: ... You could probably send Q some cash, if you wanted, he is saving up for a...OMG! I forgot to send you A BIRTHDAY CARD!  I FORGOT YOUR 40TH BIRTHDAY!
Me: So cash for Q? Yeah, I can do that. And I know.
Heather: Did you hear me? I forgot to send you a birthday card. I'm so sorry!
Me:  That's okay. Your birthday is coming up soon. As payback I'll forget your birthday on purpose this year.
Heather: Don't you do that every year?
Me: Funny. I do NOT do that on purpose. Just for that you are getting a bag of rocks for your birthday this year!  I'm going to write it down too. Better yet, I'll send you a bag of rocks and only ONE of the mittens that I made for you!
Heather: (laughing)  Sure, send the rocks, I'll use them in my garden. And I'm not worried about the mitten. You'll just forget and send me the second one in June anyways.

Touche. But with that simple silly conversation it was settled. This year she was getting one mitten- and one mitten only.  I sensed a birthday tradition in the making here!

I quickly found a pattern that looked fun, ordered the kit and away I went. The knitting part was easy. It is easy to only knit one mitten- the tough part is making a pair of anything! So it was ready in time for her birthday but I carried it around for a few extra days just to tease her a while longer.

I had her card, with a cheque which was the real gift, and her mitten all ready to go. (I left the rocks out.)  I went to the post office and bought an Express Post envelope for $11. We, unfortunately, live in different cities but I wanted her to get the package quickly. I bought the envelope and was filling out the address portion when I got distracted by a conversation beside me. I double checked that the addresses were written correct and popped it in the mail. Satisfied that Heather would not be so smug this year!

I giddily sent my sister a taunting text about watching her mail the next day. That I hoped it would be cold that week as she would soon have something to keep her warm.

I should have just kept my big mouth closed.

The next day I went to pick up my mail. I was absently wondering if Heather had gotten her package yet. I giggled to myself imagining her reaction to her one mitten. I was chuckling when I opened my post office box and saw an Express post envelope. I got excited for a moment. MAIL! I love getting mail! But that looks just like... the envelope I sent my sister yesterday! FFS!

And, of course, it was. CRAP! I had accidentally put my own address in the TO spot (thankyouverymuch Canada Post for putting that conveniently in the spot where the rest of the world puts their FROM addresses) and Heather's in the FROM. I was cussing as I spend another $11 to buy another Express Post envelope to resend the package. This time I paid very close attention to the addresses. Lesson learned.

I texted my sister to tell her to not to bother checking her mail that day. I told her that I had accidentally sent the package to myself. She howled laughing. I could hear her crying through her snorts of laughter.

I guess I had the last laugh because she didn't laugh so hard the next day when she got only one beautiful right handed mitten in the mail the next day! She called right away to thank me and to exclaim over her one beautiful mitten.

Heather: I love it! But I thought you were joking about only sending one.
Me: Nope. Enjoy that one. It is too expensive to send them in the mail.
Heather: They are a lot less expensive to send if you don't send them to yourself first!
Me: Be nice.  See if I send you 2 or 3 more birthday presents this year!
Heather: (howling again) They'll certainly be easier to keep track of if you send them to yourself every time first!
Me: Fuck off.

And that, right there folks, is why my sister is going to get only one birthday mitten per year for the rest of her life.  Only right handed ones too.

It's a process, Knitter.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Knitting Infinity

I've actually finished quite a few projects so far this year. Yeah, me!  My focus in Q1 has been small projects- they make me feel like a super fast and productive knitter.  I have finished  my Guernsey Wrap, 2 baby sweaters, 3 hats and 1.5 colourwork mittens*.

FO 2013, 1Q

I have several friends or family members who are having babies this year and I wanted to make them something special. I enjoy sending a handmade gift, when I can. I also don't mind knitting a few baby sweaters to tuck away for a later date. Rather than having to knit under a deadline because in my limited experience that doesn't end well.

In addition to the ones above I also started a lovely baby sweater for  the new baby of a past co-worker.  I chose to knit  Baby's Hooded Sweater, by Debbie Bliss, from the Fall Winter 2012 Debbie Bliss Magazine. The sweater looked to be an easy enough knit but looked fancy because of the cables. I also thought that a cabled sweater would fit longer than a regular sweater seeing that the cables would give the sweater some significant stretch.  I planned to make this sweater without the hood to save time and yardage.

Picture copyright and courtesy of Debbie Bliss Magazine

In early March I finally got around to selecting yarn and had fussed around a long time trying to pick a fairly gender neutral colour from my stash.  I ended up selecting a  colourway called Cove, in Madeline Tosh Sport. This is a lovely neutral colour that reminds me of  rocky shoreline along a clear water lake. Think shades of brown with hints of blue and green.  It isn't a classic baby sweater colour but I've always enjoyed non-classic choices, especially for babies.  I thought that it would work well for either gender with a cute little pair of jeans.

Madeline Tosh Sport, in Cove

Speaking of deadlines... I thought the baby was due in late March, early April and figured that I was doing well to have cast on by March 8th. Well, of course their beautiful baby girl was born on March 9th. (Of course she was!) I hadn't even finished the cuff of the first sleeve and had lost my cable needle twice so far. Crap.

I have knit what seems like 100 hours on this little sweater and have completed one sleeve, started the second and the full back. This is one of those infinity knitting projects that can drive a girl to drink caffeinated beverages so that she can stay up later for JUST ONE MORE REPEAT. You know the type: you knit for 2 hours, measure and have 3" of knitting complete. Ok, Good. You knit for another 2 hours, measure and find that you still  have 3" of knitting complete. WHAT?! ARGGG! You can stretch and pull but the cables shrink right back up to 3" no matter how you tug.  (You just wait... this little shrinky dink 6-9 month sweater is going to be a size 4T once I have it wet blocked!)

I am the first to admit that I am process knitter but there must be a small amount of product knitter tucked inside me I needed to feel like I was making progress at something!

Oh well, back to my infinity knitting. This project is not going to make no progress without me... or, wait a minute, maybe it will. :)  It's a process, Knitter!

Yarn details: Q1 2013
FO: 7
WIP: 6
Yardage: 58,049
Yardage traded, sold or given away (to date): 17,676**

* I'll tell this story soon.
** I have recently given away a large bit of stash (7,658 Yards) of Bernat Satin Solids and Red Heart Soft Touch yarns. This is deep stash stuff and yarn that I am, clearly, never going to use.  I donated all of  this yarn to one of the Seniors home in my town. I hope many grandchildren or great-grandchild benefit from this gift.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Um, I slipped? So much for destashing.

Back off and get your own sandwich!

In my own defence, it is not MY fault that Knit Picks had a sale. (Eeeeeeeeeee!) And who am I to turn down such a delicious selection of affordable yarn? And all of the above yarn cost only $100, including shipping!  So back off and get your own sandwich!

I'll be back soon to tell you what I plan to make with this haul and to show you the stack of knits I have made this winter.

Until then, you can enjoy the above pre-recorded picture of my new yarn.