Friday, December 29, 2006

Knit, Knit, Knit

It's that in between the holidays time and I'm still knitting like crazy to finish Christmas presents. I cast-off mother's Kiri shawl late Wednesday night. I deliberately knit several more pattern repeats in order to make this Kiri a bit larger than my 1st one. Using double stranded Alpaca Cloud helped it be a bit more substantial as well. I haven't blocked her yet since my sister and her family arrived yesterday to spend New Year's with the "grandparents" and Aunt Kristina :-) They occupy all my blocking spaces in the house, so the task (and the pictures) will have to wait.

Now that my sister is here, I needed to put the finishing touches on her Fetching fingerless gloves. I knit the last thumb and sewed in the ends while we chatted after the kids opened their presents. I can't believe how tall Mark Thomas and Victoria have gotten in only 6 short months. Mark had just passed me at 5'4" in July and he's passing Julia (aka Mom) now at 5'8+". But he's also in size 11 shoes and he just turned 12 last week. Yikes! Victoria is 7.5 yo and is shooting up like her brother. It won't be too many years and I'll be reclaiming my title as shortest person in the family.

So anyway, I tossed the 1st mitt over to Julia while I finished the 2nd one. her hands were icy as usual so she put it on right away. She said she tried wearing athletic wristbands after we chatted about this idea, but they were too tight and uncomfortable. But it wasn't 15 minutes and she was commenting on how her hand was warmer already and the Fetching mitts were just perfect for when she's at the computer at work. Yippee! She didn't even mind my color choice of charcoal gray. I told her I was trying to be practical about how grungy they might get with extended use. I guess I'll have to knit another pair so she has one for the office and another for home. That's simple since they are such a fast knit:-)

Now I'm on to daddy's socks--my last gift knit. I measured his foot and am making up the pattern as I go. The subtle tweedy variegation in the Trekking XXL yarn is helping me minimize boredom, which is a good thing since I'm using size 1 (2.5mm) dpns and a 72 st count (yawn, yawn). After consulting with our local sock expert/celebrity Judy Sumner (KnoxSox Designs) I decided to do the cuff in a broken rib pattern. It was a very good choice. I just finished the last row on the heel flap and am ready to turn the heel. Picking up the gusset stitches should be interesting. I may have to switch over to my trusty Crystal Palace bamboo needles for the task as I've been using the new Knit Picks dpns which have a finish similar to Addi-turbos. They are super slickery (one of my mom's favorite invented words) which has been both wonderful and, at times, challenging in this project. These needles are not for the faint of heart sock knitter for sure!

I need to get daddy's socks done so I can move on to the 3 KALS I've signed up for. The first is the Branched Fern Socks KAL initiated by one of my Lace Knitters pals. She designed this great lacy sock pattern so a bunch of us are going to join together and knit ourselves a pair. Oh boy!

Next is the Hidcote Garden Shawl KAL. I've been granted special entrance to this one, but am ineligible for the prizes since I started knitting my shawl back in November. For this one I'm using Richard's ColourMart 2/28 laceweight cashmere in aquamarine--a beautiful dusty aqua blue. After swatching I chose to use US 5 (3.75mm) Addis for this project. Right now I'm on chart 5, row 19 of the pattern which is almost to the end of the first section. The pattern is extremely well charted and is very easy to follow so even newbie lace shawl knitters will be able to keep their place. I've knit a ton of cdd's at this point and am ready to move on to the next stitch sequence :-) I didn't have that luxury when I was crazy tired of knitting on Kiri!

And the last group I jumped into in the Victorian Lace Today KAL. I'll be lurking there initially until I decide which project to knit 1st out of this amazing new book. Of course the EZasPi group is starting a gansey workshop, but there I'll be learning technique and history and knitting little things. I'm not planning on knitting a full-blown gansey sweater just yet. The way things are going, It won't be cold enough around here this year for me to wear it. Heck, I've got daffodils shooting up like rockets in my garden and the earliest bloomers already have buds. This is 3 weeks earlier than ever before! Daffodils in December... Sheesh!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

There's no place like home

It's good to be back home again after an extended absence. I'm talking about accessing the internet from my desktop computer at home of course, something I haven't been able to do since our wireless router died sometime last summer. I replaced the router and got the upstairs computer back up without a hitch but nothing I tried worked when it came to my own computer. I tried all the little things the online help said to do, but none of it worked and I was frustrated and just plain old grumpy about the whole thing. My previous experiences with tech support services over the phone have been awful, mostly because American companies keep outsourcing tech support to places like India where they speak a different kind of English language. You know, the kind that can't be understood and you spend and hour just repeating "I'm sorry, I can't understand what you're saying" and playing a-b-c-1-2-3 with every letter and number in the hopes they'll finally get it. Sheesh! But after 2 hours on the phone with tech support (still with foreign accents, but I think they may have at least been on American soil) I have finally managed to get everything together to successfully reconnect with the web "in my own little corner in my own little chair." Hallelujah!

It's pretty hard to blog from someone else's computer so I have some catching up to do. The up side is I spent a fairly good amount of the time I wasn't surfing either in my garden or knitting. I got lots of lace knit and my garden received Yard of the Month from the neighborhood. How cool is that? I was *so* surprised! Right now I'm madly working on Christmas presents so stay tuned!