Oh, the delights of a peaceful holiday season...
Sleeping late. Reading silly books. Watching fun movies. Knitting so much the fingers are protesting.
Eating whatever seems appealing at the moment (yes, Virginia, you can have leftover turkey and stuffing for
breakfast!). Knitting some more. Napping whenever it feels right.
Repeat as needed.
With such a "schedule" for four consecutive days, I had a lot of time to ponder the ways people celebrate the winter
holidays. Most of my life, the holidays (especially Christmas) were spent with my dear mother, just the two of us, nibbling
when we wished, playing Scrabble or Cribbage, watching strange combinations of television programs, and doing some kind of
needlework. All in all, those holidays were relaxing and enjoyable. Since Mom passed away early in
2006, I've found myself mostly wanting to spend the holidays alone at home. Some of my associates find this
incomprehensible, occasionally to the extent of telling me that I "can't" spend the time by myself. My usual reply
to that is, "Says who?" or "Try and stop me!"
There are certain advantages in having a reputation for being part hermit crab, and one of these is that people become
accustomed to hearing you say "No, thanks" to invitations. Yes, it takes a bit of internal strength to give that
response the first few times, but it does get easier. Nowadays, the few invitations that I do accept usually come from
close friends (The Splinters, plus a few others), and the rest are turned down almost automatically.
So, what does the rest of the world do? Like lemmings, millions of people flock to the malls and airports at this
time of year, spending money they can't afford to spend, traveling to visit people they really don't like very much.
What I find fascinating is how many of them do this out of a sense of obligation, not because they enjoy the
shopping and traveling. They put themselves through these hoops year after year, whining and complaining about
it, but doing nothing to change the situation.
For the folks who don't really want to rush around to "festivities" that they find tedious, I'd like to offer a somewhat
radical suggestion for next year: Just say no. Don't offer explanations or excuses, just a simple "No, thanks,"
when the invitations come. It's amazing how liberating it can be to turn down invitations to events that you don't
want to attend.
Oh, and if you can't find the intestinal fortitude to say no, don't expect me to have any sympathy for your plight.
You've brought it on yourselves.
Me, I'll be cozily curled up in my jammies with my knitting and a cup of steaming hot cocoa, enjoying every minute
of my holidays.
I had intended to launch into my annual "Call Me Grinchina" rant today, but decided that last December's version of it
was more than adequate. My hermitish tendencies not having diminished one iota, once again I'm planning to batten
down the hatches and enjoy two gloriously decadent four-day weekends later this month. Prime knitting time shall
not be tainted with tedious "festivities" one bit.
On the knitting scene, the Celtic Icon cardigan progresses apace, with the right-side front completed and the second
sleeve begun. At present, I'm taking no bets on whether I manage to knit a left-side front when the sleeve
is complete, considering that I'm totally capable of knitting a second right front instead, or at least part of one, until
I notice that I've been an idiot again. Given the way the pieces are coiling around themselves, they're going to
need a fairly firm blocking before being sewn together.
Other projects have all been idle, alas, as the cable obsession seems to have me firmly in its grip. The
only other knitting that has happened is a few rows on the SeaSick socks and a couple of 4" squares of leftover sock yarns,
which will one day be part of a baby blanket (or something). The contrary Faroese roosts atop the knitting stand, waiting
for a decision on how to deal with the wonkiness of the one misaligned pattern repeat.
To those of you who enjoy making yourselves frantic over preparations for the holidays, have fun! The atmosphere
at AuntyNin's will be serene, with undertones of Screech'n'Coke.
Ever have one of those projects? I've got one now. Last post, I mentioned starting a Faroese style shawl
as my New Beginnings project at the KR Retreat. I'm loving it, but it's not loving me.
Lemme 'splain. Despite using eighty-seven bazillion stitch markers and counting rather more obsessively than I
usually do, I still had the wrong number of stitches on the first pattern row. Okay, we can fudge too many... much easier
to manipulate than too few.
Now, about 20 rows into the lace pattern, I've discovered that in spite of all that care, stitch markers, counting and
all, one of the pattern repeats (and only one of them!) has a section that's misaligned by one stitch.
One. Lousy. Stitch.
Because of the way the lines of yarnovers intertwine, the misalignment has to have happened about 10 rows back, in spite
of all my obsessive counting and stitch markers. What to do, what to do?
One of my former colleagues would answer this by saying, "When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout."
Somehow, this doesn't seem helpful to me. It certainly won't change any of the stitches on this shawl.
To frog or not to frog, that is the question. Somehow, the thought of frogging four inches of alpaca/silk
laceweight and then having to cast on 479 stitches again just makes me shudder, and there's no guarantee
I wouldn't mess it up worse by starting over. Okay, so we eliminate the froggy pond as an option this time around.
The options that remain include (a) laddering down a section about 10 stitches wide (including yarnovers, ssks and k2togs),
and working it back up in proper alignment, or (b) applying the fudge factor of one fewer decrease on one side of the
wonky area and one extra decrease on the other side, or (c) leaving it alone and letting that one bit be a little peculiar.
I'm torn. The perfectionist in me wants (a), the devil-may-care side demands (c), and the rest of me favors the
fudge factor (preferably accompanied by large amounts of actual fudge).
Thus, the Faroese shawl is in the timeout corner for the moment, awaiting a decision.
Actually, the past few weeks have been overloaded with careless knitting errors, making me very irritated with myself. The
Celtic Icon cardigan seemed to be progressing nicely, until I woke up Saturday morning at 3:30 wondering if I had remembered
to knit the set-up rows on the front section just begun. (Don't ask me where these notions come from, they drop into
my alleged brain at the darnedest times.) At a rather more realistic hour of the day, examination of the front revealed
that I had, in fact, not knit the two row set-up on that piece. Drat! Ohwell, it's only 4 inches of complex cables,
pull it out and do it right.
So, after ripping back and getting the front started properly, the evil twin in the back of my head whispered, "What
about that sleeve?" Oh, foo. Yep. The raglan sleeve didn't have the setup rows either. The completed
raglan sleeve. All 25 inches or so of it. Much unladylike language ensued, followed by even more intense
So, the realist won out over the perfectionist this time, and I merely made a note on my project record to leave out
the set-up rows on the second sleeve when I knit it. Any bets on whether I'll actually pay attention to the project
notes and remember to make the two sleeves match? Not something I'd make bets on, knowing my propensity for making mistakes.
Someday I'll learn to pay attention to the directions, really I will... and the Angel Gabriel will blow his
horn shortly thereafter.