Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Cross to Bear

I don't know if anyone looked very closely in my last post at the picture of the back of my "Peace in the Hood" cardigan. On the last cable on the left, very close to the top in that photo, there was a mis-crossed cable. Here's a cropped closeup of the disaster.

I was about to start the shoulder shaping. I had lay the peice on my measuring boards and determined that in two more rows, I would begin the cast offs on the shoulder. Almost there! Another few rows and I could plop the back peice into the "done" bucket and move on to the frount.

But, to my horror, I saw my error! And I was another 20 rows further along than I was in the picture I posted, so it was not nearly so close to the top of the work. My mouth went dry...panic rose. I have never, ever had to redo cables. I'm usually so careful, and I'm not a big time cable knitter. It had just never came up, and I was at a total loss as to what to do.

I came and got on the computer immediately. I went to Ravelry, went to forums and typed in crossed cables (or something like I said...I was panicing). Up came all the discussions on the subject. The first that caught my eye was all about cutting one strand and sort of fake grafting the cable in the right direction. I immediately ruled that out! It's ok if you have that kind of that..but not for me. I'd rather frog back to the error and reknit it all.

But I kept reading, and I finally came up with the goods. The Yarn Harlot (for those from another planet, that is Stephanie Pearl-McPhee) had a solution that suited ME in her blog.It required securing all the other stitches, besides the 6 in the cable, and dropping the stitches back to where the mistake was, and then using three DPN's to "reknit" them back in the proper order.

So I held my breath and dropped (or rather, picked out row by row)the stitches and cable:

Then I lay it aside. This was yesterday, at about noon, and I simply was so sleepy and so tired and so nerve-wracked I couldn't face it. I knew I was off tonight, so figured waiting another day would be my best option.

In the meantime, I cast on stitches for the front of the peice and began working on the ribbing. This is what I took to work with me last night, and I did get a couple inches done, although not as much as I had hoped.

This morning, while I was still fresh (fresh being relative, I AM a night shift worker, so my fresh and your fresh might differ), I finally managed to finish the repair job. It took me a couple of hours, but I think I achieved fairly decent results:

My stitches are a bit whacky, gauge is all over the place, and I'm praying I can pick, block and otherwise force the stitches back into shape. The Yarn Harlot assures me I can, so I believe!

On a more happy note, I recieved anothing lovely gift from fellow Raveler Neekie. She sent me a bag of hot chocolate and two balls of Grignasco Bambi Extra fine Merino wool. From her account, it makes "squishy, comfy socks". I'm stoked. I really didn't think these dang presents would make an old jaded bird like me so happy, but they really, really do! THANKS NEEKIE!

Oh, and before I go, I just wanted to post "Mom's Rose" for her. It was blooming when she was here in Australia three years ago, and when I saw it blooming the other day, I just had to get a picture and post it here. Here's your rose mom. I love you!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Beautiful June

I don't mean the month. Here in South Australia, June is rather a bleary, bleak month compared to most of the other times of the year. It's been cloudy, drizzly, foggy...well, just about anything but beautiful.

No, I'm speaking of my lovely MIL June. We celebrated her birthday Saturday a week ago, and she was, as usual, a kind and gracious hostess. I presented her with the Sudden Storm jumper, and she was quite pleased with it. It fit her well, even her "oragatang arms" (her words, certainly not mine). Apparently, while June does not knit, her mother did, and used to complain about her long arms. From my perspective, I find that quite lucky, as I tend to knit arms too long as a rule, so in this case, I actually, if accidentally, got it right.

(Pardon the blurry photo. My FIL took the photo, and hasn't quite gotten used to his camera yet. MIL hates to have her picture taken, obviously).

She was pleased with it, but it was my FIL, who was almost in tears (how much wine did he have anyway?) and thanked me profusely, telling me how much it meant to June, and how grateful he was that I'd made her so happy, and well, it's every knitter's dream to have their work so appreciated, but I was left more or less speechless by his reaction, which was entirely unexpected.

I did finish the "Copper Topper" hat in no time flat. In fact, I finished it in about 24 hours all together, but I was home sick at the time, with DH waiting on me hand and foot, so I had plenty of time. The only trouble is, it doesn't cover my ears. It ends about halfway down them, with the earlobe sticking out, and I can't bear for a hat to not cover my ears. I even added a cable repeat, because as I was making it, I could already see there was going to be a length problem, but even that didn't quite fix it. I reckon I'll wind up making myself another one, with perhaps an extra inch to inch and a half of ribbing for the bottom border. That should fix the problem. Meanwhile, someone with a smaller head than mine will likely get this one.

I also picked up Chris' vest, and finished the neckline trim. It was so frustrating working with that fuzzy, messy yarn again, and I don't even like the way it wound up looking after all that. Disgusted, I put it right back down again...and didn't even take a picture of what "progress" I made. I have half a mind to chuck it out (no, not frog it, I don't ever plan to touch that yarn again) and start a new vest for him using REAL yarn.

I'm not exactly on a yarn diet, but I have cut back quite a bit from my regular yarn and accessory purchasing habits. The Sheep and Wool show in Bendigo is just a few short weeks from now, and I must have a bankroll to take there. I did however do a tiny wee bit of shopping this fortnight, and picked up a couple of balls of Grignasco Strong Print. As IF I needed more sock yarn! Still, I liked the colors, and I got it for a good price. I also picked up some Addi's, 4mm this time, because I'm not trusting the 4mm size in my Denise set, which doesn't agree with my gauge at all.

Also, at DH's suggestion, I got some new storage bins for my yarn on sale at Kmart. It's a neat little plastic job that rolls around easily, so I can move it here and there. Right now it's here with me in the study, where it fits neatly between the filing cabinets and the computer (when fitting in yarn, you have to be creative).

On the Ravelry front, Handmadam, a fellow Raveler who is from South Australia but now lives in Canada, sent me a pair of clear plastic shoes she found on sale. They are perfect for showing off handknit socks, and should be a hoot to wear when it warms up a bit. I love them dearly, although DH looks at them as if he's not quite sure I (or my Ravelry friend) are exactly what one might call sane.

But I suppose the big news of the past couple of weeks is that I finally got started on my "Peace in the Hood" jumper. It's about time! I just couldn't wait another day, and got it off the ground on June 13th. I'm almost done with the back now, and it's looking great. I love the way the Peace Fleece Zarya Fog colors look knit up, and the cables form an interesting pattern without being overly complicated, so I can still knit on it "on the go". The only drawback is needing to keep accurate count of my rows, pattern rows, etc. But between my "Peg it" knitting counter and a small notebook, I've kept on top of it very well. It's beautiful knitting, and I love the feel of the Peace Fleece. Fair is a bit scratchy, but it's nice none the less, and not "delicate" like the Noro was. I'm loving it!

However, my spinning is going NOWHERE. I do plan on getting out the wheel soon, and promise that I will. I do have time, as nothing very pressing is going on. I'll have to start mom's jumper soon, and I would like to get more spinning done to see if any of the stuff I spin up might be suitable for her jumper.

Till next time!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Detours and Roadblocks

For the last few days, since finishing my MIL's jumper, I have been working on the "Hirohito's Revenge" scarf. I'm so glad to be finished with that blasted Noro. I will NEVER buy that stuff again. Maybe I'm a bit heavy handed, but still, one wouldn't expect the stuff to fall apart quite as easily as it does, and I've never had that problem with other yarns. I can only imagine the stuff was made for delicate little Asian ladies, certainly not a roughneck like me.

But I'm reasonably pleased with the results of the scarf. I think it looks pretty good, considering I mixed the two colorways, and types, of Noro. I'm hoping it will soften up after a good soak in some wool wash.

One would think, at this point, I would have dived into the "Central Park Hoodie" project, as eager as I have been to start, but I haven't. I ran into a bit of a detour, deciding instead to start on a hat for myself to wear to Bendigo. I decided this for two reasons. I need a decent (ok, fancy) looking hat to wear to a 8AM breakfast in the park where a bunch of us Ravelers are going to meet and greet, and I thought it might be great to get a feel for knitting with the Peace Fleece before committing to the larger project.

So I have started the hat, which I found on Ravelry under the title of "Cabled Force", but I have retitled my version to "Copper Topper". I'm using the Sheplova Mushroom colorway of the Peace Fleece I ordered thru the co-op. This colorway is absolutely smashing when knit up, and I'm thinking it would make a great color for a jumper or cardi, or even a jacket. I'm loving it so far. It's definately knitting I have to concentrate on, but fun nonetheless, and the pattern is so fun to watch grow. I'm thinking I'll have this baby finished in no time flat.

I must pick up Chris' vest as well, and I promised I would before I started the hoodie, so I'll likely get to that very soon, and work on the Fringe jumper in the meantime.

I'm sort of placing some roadblocks in my way, I know, but in a fashion I'm trying to use my impatience to start on the Central Park Hoodie to inspire me to finish some projects that are well overdue for completion. Like dangling a carrot, so to speak.

I also recieved a lovely package in the mail this week. Awhile back, I sent one of my Ravelry buddies some Koolaid to try out, and she in turn sent me some silk caps that she had died with it, in pretty pinks and blues, for later spinning (if I ever get around to spinning agian!!). It may inspire me to get to my spinning, as I'm incredibly curious to see how these colors will spin up.

Well, that's it for now. Until next time...

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Better than the Airlines

At least I can make deadlines! Ok, I'm not exactly there, but I'm calling the jumper for my mother in law, June, complete. I still need to do a bit of blocking, and a bit of work on the sewn in ends, but otherwise, it is finished, and 5 days ahead of schedule, which gives me time to block it properly. I'm quite happy with it overall, although the sleeves look a bit tighter, particularly around the armpits and wrists, than I had anticipated, but proper blocking will fix that right up I reckon, and all in all I'm massively pleased with the results of my rushed efforts. It's quite a decent looking jumper already, even without the refinement of blocking.

Now for the difficult thing. Where do I go from here? I still have two projects actively on the needles right now. My Fringe jumper and my Short row scarf. I want to at least finish the scarf before I begin the project that my fingers are so itching to begin. I'm trying to show some discipline here, I really am.

Add to that, Chris has been not so subtely asking me what ever happened to that vest I was knitting for him. It's been in hibernation now for excuse being it wasn't the proper season to be wearing it anyway. Alas, the short, cold days of winter are here, and I would be proud for him to wear it to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show next month, so on one or another of my days off in the near future, I plan to drag it out and begin the mindnumbing process of picking up the hundreds of stitches it requires to do the trim for the neck and arms. That's all it likes, and being it is novelty, fluffy yarn, I don't even have to be exacting and "perfect" about it, but I hate picking up all those stitches. Still, I will do it, and do it soon.

But soon, very soon now, I will begin the Central Park Hoodie (fondly referred to henceforth as CPH). I have ordered the pattern. I have made several copies of the pattern. I have highlighted one of the copies in the proper places for the proper size I have intended to make.

I have wound several balls of the Peace Fleece Zarya fog on my beloved ball winder, and plan to wind even more in the next day or two. I plan to wind all but three, as I'm almost certain I will use that many, but I always seem to use less than a pattern calls for, and in case I want to resell or trade the leftovers later, I want to keep them in their proper "new" condition.

In short, I'm almost prepared to start knitting. But, as I said, I'm showing some restraint here, and determined to knock at least 1 of my 2 WIP's off the list before I do. BUT there's nothing wrong with doing a gauge swatch or two, now is there? Nope, nothing at all. Maybe that will take some of the itch out of my fingers.

The problem with the Short row scarf is that it demands excessive amounts of counting, and I'm prone to losing my place, particularly at 3 in the morning when I usually have an hour or so at work to knit...but constantly get interrupted. So I will, most likely, take the Fringe jumper with me outside the house, and finish the scarf here, when I have more liberty to count uninterrupted. Not bad, as it means I will get some progress made on the jumper, but it does mean it will slow me down as far as finishing the scarf.

I'm also keen to get a nice, small, easy portable project on the needles, most likely another pair of socks. I have sooo much sock yarn, I'm not sure where to start, but most likely either with the sock yarn I bought from Moseley Park (a pretty blue/green solid color, or the white Patonyle I splotch dyed with red Koolaid, the "boat socks" I've been wanting to make.

I always look in the Australian "Destash" thread on Ravelry, and the other day I saw a gal who was wanting to get rid of some Peace Fleece. Frankly, I would have been willing to buy it all off of her, but I'm trying to be conservative money wise these days, so I only bought two skeins. One was in Peristroika Pink and the other is called Mir Atalantis Periwinkle. In other words, bright pink and purple. I'm thinking of perhaps making a hat from these, perhaps for Jessica. I haven't really decided.

See, these decisions never seem to end. Sigh.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sad Days

My little grandson, Michael Ralph Hooten, passed away in his sleep sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning. I mentioned his birth with great joy in a recent post, and feel I need to mention his passing here as well. It has been a tragedy for the entire family, and we are all indebted to friends and aquaintences who have been so kind during this time. The cause of death is being attributed to SIDS.

We are also indebted to Shelton-Hunt Funeral home in Humboldt, Tennessee, who performed the services and donated the casket free of charge, a service they frequently provide for young families faced with such a loss, so that during their grief they are not also faced with financial hardship as well.

The person who sold my son the grave plot for a fraction of what it was worth should also be mentioned, although I'm not sure of this persons name. All Occasion Florist of Humboldt provided a discount on the flowers and help with the service as well.

While tragic, this experience has reminded me of how truly kind, generous and loving human kind can be, and I thank everyone for their comfort and support.

The booties I was making this darling child will be wrapped up and kept as they are, as a rememberance. I will soon resume writing more about my knitting, but today I felt it best to leave this post to the rememberance of little Michael, and the lives he touched.