January 31, 2007
Snap a Dozen Days - January
9:57 am est
January's a time of reassessment at AuntyNin's, a time for looking back over the events of the previous year and setting
goals for the coming year. Notice that nowhere in that statement is the word "resolutions." We don't
do them here. Why? Resolutions tend to be ephemeral things, embraced heartily for a week or two and then conveniently
forgotten so that life can go on as usual.
As is common in January, we're blanketed in snow, with early sunshine for once as I waited for the bus.
The morning trek from bus stop to office; the upper photo is what's behind me, the lower is my home away from home.
Not a bad place, most of the people are delightful, and the w*rk is interesting. Could be worse, though it does rather
eat into my knitting time.
On the home front, January is a time to make plans for the coming year, and this year is no exception. I've posted
earlier about some of the more anticipated events scheduled for the year, such as the SeaSocks cruise and the impending arrival
of two of my dearest friends to live just across town. Being able to spend more time with them is going to be
Some knitting projects are planned, but I've noticed that my knitting plans tend to be . . . um . . . flexible,
to say the least. A good example is the bagful of Dale Falk lurking in the back room. Originally, it was intended
to become a kimono-style sweater from Shadow Knitting, but I became convinced that this was not a good idea.
The sheer size of the thing became horribly unwieldy, with nearly 400 stitches on a long circular needle, and a great
honkin' huge sleeve hanging off the bottom.
So, I frogged it, thought about it a lot, and cast on a different pattern from the same book. After about 4 inches,
I realized that I was extremely reluctant to pick it up and work on it, because the DK weight yarn on a US2 needle was just
way too tight (though it made the pattern's specified gauge). The whole thing was exiled to the timeout corner almost
a year ago.
Just a few days ago, that bag of yarn told me what it wants to be; the 'Celtic Icon' pattern from Fiona Ellis's Inspired
Cable Knitting. Mostly. Sort of. With some slight tweaking to account for the fact that I don't think
there's enough yarn to make the hood. And I'm not sure that I like the exact cable she's used, might substitute something
different that's the same width. Or not.
Other knitterly goals include finishing up a couple of current WIPs, weeding the stash somewhat, and knitting from that
stash as much as possible this year. The planned splurge will come during SeaSocks, because quite frankly, I know that
I can't visit two fabulous yarn shops in five days without buying something fibery.
January 29, 2007
First FO finally
10:07 am est
Yes, the first finished object is now on display:
the Basic Boring Sock in Socks that Rock's "Scottish Highlands" colorway. They're warming my toes even as I type.
On a more long-term front, the Sorbetto cardigan is now midway up the second sleeve, so it was time to think about what
kind of front and closure to use. Here's a look at the sleeve in progress:
Yesterday, a friend and I got loose at a local fabric store, and I found exactly the right hook-and-eye type clasp to
use for this sweater. What was even more pleasing was that they had enough sets for what I wanted to do, and
the store's price was about 40% less than what I'd seen online for the same clasp. Success!
Of course, I then promptly forgot to grab the bag out of her car when I got home . . . some days I feel like such
a "maroon" (in Bugs Bunny's terms).
Even with all the projects active, it felt seriously wrong not to have a sock in progress, so last night the
skein of Austermann "Step" yarn emerged from the depths of the back room and is knitting up nicely. It's been designated
as "bus knitting" for the time being, as the larger projects are quite unwieldy to transport.
January 26, 2007
10:51 am est
asked to see people's wallpaper, so here's what's on my screen:
It's an early-morning view looking south from my aunt's front porch in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland.
The Sorbetto cardigan is midway through its second sleeve, which means the time is rapidly approaching when I must decide
what kind of front closure to use, as well as whether it'll be a round neck or V-neck. Perhaps I'll go looking for possible
closures, and decide based on what most appeals among what's available. To quote Indiana Jones, "I'm making it up as
I go along."
January 17, 2007
Nothing to see here, move along, move along . . .
12:16 pm est
When you're one of the world's slowest knitters, and almost all your current projects are large ones, the blogging of
knitting progress can get rather, um, repetitive.
No finished objects yet (first sock of a pair does not count!),
and a cranky Infernal DigiCam means photos will be delayed temporarily. So, what's actually been happening at AuntyNin's?
- The STR "Scottish Highlands" socks are at the heel of the second sock, just pleading to have their gusset stitches picked
up (tonight, barring catastrophe). Love the way this yarn is making a spiral pattern around the sock.
- Rose of England has gotten a few more rows added to it, a very tedious proposition when there are more than 800 stitches
- The first Endpaper Mitt has been frogged and restarted about four times, trying to achieve both gauge and something that
will fit over my hand. This time it's looking good, just starting to increase for the thumb gusset.
- Hanging Garden is just hanging around, no recent progress, partially because I managed to lose track of which row I'm
on and haven't had the patience (or the peace and quiet) to figure it out.
- The Sorbetto cardigan is midway between armhole shaping and shoulder on the back. Nice, mindless stockinette, showing
off the yarn quite well.
The first couple of weeks of any new year tend to be a time for me to think about what I'd like to accomplish over the
coming twelve months. Much of the knitting "I wanna" list appeared in the January 2 post, but there is one major
household goal that does (at least in part) relate to knittery as well.
Guilty confession time: I'm an accumulator (translation: pack rat). My apartment currently holds a mumblety
year accumulation of books (nearly 3000), craft supplies, fabrics, photographs, and assorted other ... um ... stuff.
Much of it is in boxes that haven't been unpacked since my last move - in 1998. This is the year of the purge, getting
rid of stuff that really isn't relevant to my life as it exists today. Considering some of the truly horrendous
UFOs that have already come to light, this is a process that is waaaaaaay overdue. Wish me luck, I'm going
to need it!
The end result of the purge will be (I hope) a spare bedroom that is actually a knitter's haven, with yarns and patterns
and supplies safely stored yet easily found. In a perfect world, this room would also include a place for a guest
to sleep, instead of having to nest on the living room floor. Time will tell.
January 11, 2007
11:08 am est
Once again, Mother Nature has proven her peculiar sense of humor by sending us temperatures in the 60 degree Fahrenheit
range and twelve inches of snow less than a week apart. We do have a saying here that if you don't like the weather,
wait five minutes. Never before has this been more true.
One of my friends calls this "Yo-yo weather" - temperatures go up and down and up and down, sometimes within hours.
Survival is a matter of wearing layers, keeping hats and gloves and boots handy even when the temp is in the 50s, and making
sure there's an adequate supply of hot tea when the wind chill goes below 10F.
Fortunately for me, my boss is very understanding about my reluctance to slog through blizzards and risk falling on slippery
walkways. Plus, having been with the same employer for 37 years, I've got a fair bit of vacation time that needs to
be used up by the end of June, some of which is as yet unscheduled. Thus, when I looked out the window yesterday and
couldn't see the other buildings around mine through the blowing snow and the 7-inch deep drift on the windowsill, I
was able to call boss-man and tell him I was taking an unexpected vacation day.
There's something delightfully decadent about sitting around drinking cinnamon-flavored coffee and knitting while the
snow swirls outside the window, especially on a day when you should be in the office, slaving away. So, instead of dutifully
working on the Sorbetto cardigan or the "Scottish Highlands" STR socks, I dug out some Dale Baby Ull and Eunny's "Endpaper
Mitts" pattern and cast on. One of my goals for this year is to get better at colorwork, and this pattern looked like
a good way to ease into it.
Well. Sort of.
It wasn't long before I realized that using the needle sizes specified in the pattern (even for the largest size) was
going to produce a mitt that wouldn't go over a child's hand, much less mine. Rip!
Restart with larger needles. Working with two colors is getting more familiar now, but the result is still too
small. Yes, it's supposed to fit snugly, but in order to do that, it has to be able to go over the hand.
Rip again, resisting the urge to fling it out the window.
Thoroughly disgusted with myself, I switched to another project, the Sorbetto cardigan. Nice, simple stockinette,
gorgeous soft turquoise-ish cotton yarn, just the ticket. Progress ensued, giving me hope that I'll manage to finish
it sometime before setting off for SeaSocks.
Don't think I've given up on the mitts; in a few days they will be restarted with still larger needles. The
pattern is simple, easy to follow, and I'm loving the color combination of bright teal and pale baby yellow. These will
get done eventually, no matter how many times I have to rip and restart.
Meanwhile, outside the window, the drift on the windowsill got deeper, and the snow kept falling and blowing, making
me more and more happy to be at home.
Spring will come. Really it will. Eventually.
January 2, 2007
Another year begins
10:53 am est
New Year's weekend proved to be a repeat of the previous one, following the Read - Sleep - Eat - Knit - Repeat formula.
Lots of napping, lots of knitting, a little reading, and some rather indulgent eating. Thus endeth December, and
we move on to January.
January is named for Janus, the two-faced god, who looked both forward and backward at the same time. Thus,
the beginning of the new year is a good time to review what has gone before and plan for changes to be made in the future.
Looking back at my "completed items" list for 2006, I'm mildly surprised at how many pieces actually got done.
Mind you, the list of what got done bears little resemblance to the list of planned projects from last January. Yes,
I'm easily distracted.
In the coming year, I'd like to get some of the works in progress completed, plus whittle down the size of the stash,
one way or another. This stash reduction may take the form of donation of "what was I thinking?" skeins, but at least
some of it will be actually using stash yarns to make things. Radical concept, I know, but sometimes a knitter's gotta
do what a knitter's gotta do.
Some of the projects I'd like to get done this year:
- Finish the Rose of England shawl
- Finish the cotton V-neck tunic **
- Finish the Hanging Garden stole **
- Make a cotton cardigan for summer **
- Make bunches of socks
- Improve my colorwork (fair isle knitting)
- Make a pair of Eunny's "Endpaper Mitts"
- Gather the courage to actually try steeking
- Do something with the half-finished Shadow Knitting project (finish or frog, one or t'other).
- Resist the impulse to buy large amounts of yarn just because it's on sale.
The items marked with the ** are things I'd like to have done before leaving for SeaSocks at the end of April. However,
I'm not taking bets on whether any of them actually make that deadline.
2006 was a difficult year on a number of levels, so I'm hoping that 2007 will be less so. One of the positive items
on the agenda is the SeaSocks cruise, which promises to be an amazing experience. Certainly the cruise planner who's
putting it all together has worked very hard to organize an enjoyable trip.
Another item scheduled for 2007 is the relocation of two of my best friends to a residence across town from me,
as opposed to their current location an hour and a half's drive away. The prospect of being able to get together with
them much more frequently makes me smile.
Onward into the future - let's hope that we all have a new year that's better than the old.