Wednesday, January 31, 2007

On Perfection

or the lack thereof

This morning, My Old Man gave Little Buddha his usual breakfast - a banana and Cheerios. But the banana had broken into two pieces. "Oh no!" Little Buddha said, when he saw it. Then he burst into tears. (We gave in and got him another one). I get it, little man, I really do. I have OCD, too. I know what it's like to want things to be just so, and I know how devastating it is when they are not that way. Perfection is so elusive in real life - who can fault us for wanting it in small doses, wherever we can find it? Like an unbroken banana.

Or a piece of knitting.

One of the things I love about knitting, as opposed to the rest of life, is that you can go back and correct your mistakes. You get a Do Over as many times as you need.

This is also one of the things I hate about knitting. I don't like to do things over. I like to do them once and have them done. Which leaves me in a quandary when confronted with a mistake. Leave it and live with it (i.e., let it drive me crazy)? Or, go back and fix it (i.e., lose all the time I've already put into it)?

Exhibit A.

I wish I knew how to draw on my pictures, like people with PhotoShop do. I have iPhoto and have no idea how to draw on pictures, so I can't put the little arrows or circles in to show you what the problem here is. This is Sock #1 of the pair I'm making for my KH Sock Pal ("Fancy Silk Socks" from Knitting Vintage Socks). If you look at the lace pattern near the gusset, you can see - there is supposed to be a small stretch of stockinette - 3 sts - and then the lace pattern. But I have two small sets of stockinette - 3 sts, then a purl line, then 3 more sts.

This lace pattern is on a 12-round repeat. Once you get to the instep, you end up not doing a full repeat at the very end, but instead only doing 5 sts (instead of 8). For every round, the first 5 sts are: p1, k3, p1. Well, for every round except for one. On the 9th round, it's p1, yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo, p1. Only I didn't do that. I just kept doing p1, k3, p1 for those last 5 sts, including on round 9. Which means the edges of the sock are mismatched - on the right side of the sock, the pattern continues down the instep, but on the left side I just have this blank little stretch of stockinette.

I can't give these to another knitter with this mistake in it (especially since I cannot let myself keep making this mistake down the rest of the foot, and I certainly can't make myself make this same mistake with the next sock). I'm trying to figure out if there's some way to repair without ripping back 24 rounds, by just dropping the 3 sts where the mistakes are, and letting them drop out 24 rounds down. But I'm not sure I can make that work, especially since I don't have a crochet hook small enough for this fingering weight yarn. I suppose I can try it and if it doesn't work, then I can rip. Gah. I'm really aggravated. I hate ripping fingering weight yarn and then trying to get it back on size 1 needles (did this once with this sock already, when I discovered I had not decreased the gusset sts down far enough). And I'm irritated that I made such a stupid and completely avoidable mistake. In my defense, I am home sick, with the double whammy of bronchitis and sinusitis, and in my weakened state probably shouldn't be allowed to hold needles or decipher patterns.

Sickness cannot be my defense in this next bit of imperfection.

This is the Men's Zippered Raglan from LMKG. Originally this was to be a Christmas gift for My Old Man, but too many other projects got in the way. Then it was going to be an anniversary gift, but I don't think that'll work either, because of a certain other project that is taking more time than it should (see above). This knit is going fine, except for the variegation of the yarn. You know how when you're knitting with variegated yarn, some people advise you to alternate balls every row or so, since there are no dyelots and each skein can vary from the other? That seemed like too much fuss for me, so I didn't bother. Now I've discovered that the beautiful jewel blue shade of this Malabrigo is streaked with major amounts of white in some of the skeins. So the bottom several inches of the sweater are exactly the color I wanted. Then you can see the field of white, where I started a new and very different skein (even my mom, a non-knitter, noticed and asked "How did you get the white stripe in there?"). After several rows, I got disgusted and put that skein away and tried a different one. It had less white but not as much blue as the first. Finished that skein and am now back to the one that has tons o' white (perhaps you can see the white beginning at the point where I am in the sleeve now).

I know with variegated yarn you can't have perfectionist expectations, at least not with how the color blips come out. Theoretically, I suppose I should've ripped and started varying the yarn once I realized how drastically different certain parts would look. But I'm just going to try to live with it. Maybe once the whole thing is done, I won't notice?

Ha. Fat chance. To quote Little Buddha: "Oh no! Waaaaaah!"

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Weird stuff. And pie.

But first I want to say something about gauge and speed. As I edited to add Tuesday, Melinda's question really prompted me to think about my technique. Even though I knit continental, I guess it slows me down that I am relying on my left hand to do the main work of knitting (given the fact that I am not left-handed). My style is pretty quirky, I admit, and now I guess I have to decide: stick with what feels good and right (no matter how technically "wrong" - though I agree with EZ, Annie Modesitt, and others that there is no wrong way to knit), or try to retrain myself to use my right hand more and get faster.

The fact is, I really like my rhythm, even if it isn't as fast as I could possibly go. It feels good, and meditative, and relaxing. I really like what Dave had to say on the subject: Re speed: I liken it to a rocking chair. Yes, I can rock faster if I really want to, but there's that one mid-ground rhythym that's so relaxing -- I go for the zone. Excellent thought, Dave, and I concur. That will be my new metaphor whenever I get aggravated that I'm not cranking through my queue more quickly.

And one more thing on the subject. As I've reflected, I've realized that part of the reason I am "Miss Approximate" is that I have always preferred to get things done fast more than to get them done right. I realize this is a character flaw, or can be. I mean, there are times when fast is better than accurate. But maybe my knitting is teaching me that sometimes accurate is worth the time. When it comes to knitting, it definitely is.

Okay. On to weird stuff. You've seen the ubiquitous meme. You've probably posted it yourself. I decided not to play along, believing that you had already read enough weird stuff about me in my 100 Things. But alas. I cannot resist the siren call of yet another meme. I have so enjoyed every single one of the weird things I have read on other people's blogs. So. Here are six weird things about me. I know you've been anxious to know.
  1. It really depresses me to have blinds closed during the day, to the point that I can hardly stand being in someone's house or office if they had the blinds down during daylight. In my own house, it's the first thing I do in the morning after bathroom/brush teeth/make coffee. I like the blinds closed at night, of course, but not until the sun has completely set - I don't want to miss one second of the sunlight.
  2. At night, every door in my bedroom, especially the closet doors, must be shut when I go to bed. I cannot go to sleep if a closet door is open, even a crack. Daytime = all blinds open. Nighttime = all bedroom doors shut. I don't think that's too much to ask.
  3. My side of the bed is whichever one is furthest from the main door. This was not a conscious decision. I didn't even realize I did this until My Old Man pointed it out. Whenever we are in a hotel or someone else's home, I automatically choose the side of the bed that is furthest from the door. When we bought the house we live in now, I immediately picked the right side of the bed (furthest from the door) even though for the previous two years of our marriage, I had been sleeping on the left. Fortunately, My Old Man doesn't mind switching sides whenever we travel. Or move.
  4. I slept with a teddy bear until I was 23. Then I got a Rottweiler, and there wasn't enough room for her and the bear in the bed; the Rottie won. I still have the bear, though. His name is Teddy, and I got him for my first Christmas.
  5. I do not step on cracks. This is not because of any fears for my mother's wellbeing. It just bothers me to step on them, and I avoid it.
  6. I have an aversion to tasting things I've cooked before I actually serve them. Which means I sometimes put things on the table that are not adequately seasoned, or are not hot enough. I don't know what my problem is, though I think it has to do with not wanting to taste something out of the pot/pan/dish that everyone else will be served out of (though I know I don't have to put the spoon back in after I taste it). I think it also has to do with a fear of burning my mouth. After a few too many dishes ended up on the table without enough salt or heat, My Old Man asked me to start tasting things before calling everyone to the table. I still couldn't bring myself to do it. So now he is my taster.*
Speaking of tasting, did you know that Tuesday was National Pie Day? Thanks to Ashley, I found out in time to make some pie-baking plans. Yes, I know, I am highly suggestible. A marketer's dream, really. But I love to bake, and My Old Man loves pie, so it wasn't too hard of a sell.

Blueberry Sour Cream Pie

Not a great picture, but it was a great pie, and I prefer a so-so picture in a blog post to no pic at all, so there ya go. I have to say, I love epicurious. Some of my favorite recipes are ones I have found there, and that includes a new favorite, which I made for dinner the night we had this pie: Turkey Sausage-Spinach Lasagna with Spicy Tomato Sauce. It is crazy good - believe the four fork rating. Usually, I am at least a little disappointed with most things I cook (just as with knitting - the process is always more fulfilling than the product). But with this lasagna, man, as soon as I tasted it, I thought, "This is the best thing I've ever made." Okay, I'll admit, I'm prone to hyperbole. But it was really good. If you like rich stuff, and you've got few hours to put into a great dinner, try it. You won't be sorry.

*Technically, the rules of the Six Weird Things Meme stipulate that you are to tag 6 other people with this Meme. But the funny thing is, every one that I've read has declined to tag 6 people, and instead has said do it if you want to. So, I'll be lemming-like one more time and say the same thing. Consider yourselves tagged.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

On gauge, speed, and a little voodoo

It's no secret that I'm not the most precise person in the world, which is why one of My Old Man's nicknames for me is "Miss Approximate." I suppose that many of my mistakes (in knitting and in life) could be traced to my tendency towards approximation rather than precision.

So it is something of an exercise in growth and self-discipline every time I make myself do a gauge swatch for a project. I have to overcome every natural tendency I have in order to do it. And I certainly don't always do one. But for a big project, like a sweater, I'm pretty diligent about making myself make a swatch. Nine times out of ten, I discover that I have to go up a size in needles in order to get gauge.

It was a surprise then, when I got gauge spot on, with the suggested needle size, when I first swatched for my Easy V-Neck Raglan. So I went full steam ahead, on size 9s, and I never looked back. Only yesterday, when someone on a Knitting Help forum asked a question about the gauge of this sweater, I decided to double-check what mine was. Surprise, surprise, my gauge on the sweater was actually somewhat different than the gauge I got when I swatched. Pattern gauge is 14 sts/4 inches. My sweater gauge? 16 sts/4 inches. Perhaps this explains why everyone else got a lovely loose, almost sweatshirt-like effect, while mine is somewhat fitted? Hmmmmm, maybe my problem is this: perhaps when I measured my gauge swatch I only approximated 14 sts/4 inches?

note to self: Maybe you should start doing gauge swatches for socks. Especially if you want your KH Sockintine Socks to actually fit your sock pal. Just sayin'.

I don't understand why I can't knit any faster. Seriously. I used to type 96 words a minute (don't know what my rate is now, though I'm guessing upper 70s to low 80s). I've played the piano since I was 7 and the guitar since I was 19. Manual dexterity is kind of my thing. I have long, slim fingers, and I always thought they were fast. So why isn't my knit speed any higher? I timed myself on the Easy V-Neck at one point. 28 stitches per minute. Of course, knowing me, that was approximate. Maybe it was 26. Maybe it was 30. At any rate, not especially speedy. When I read that SpiderWoman called the Easy V a weekend knit, I was stoked, thinking I'd be done with it by the time I got back from vacation. If I hadn't ripped a sleeve 3 times, it probably would've been a two-week knit for me (one week of which involved lots of knitting hours on the road). Not two days. Two weeks. Eunny Jang knits 75-80 stitches per minute. EZ knit between 70 and 80. Amy from KnittingHelp can knit around 50 stitches per minute. How do they do it? What about you? Ever timed yourself? Anyone got suggestions for getting faster?

edited to add: I should've mentioned this already (Melinda, thanks for your question on this). I knit continental. But I do it kind of weird, I guess because I'm self-taught from books, which don't actually show how the hands and fingers move between pictures. It wasn't till I watched the videos at KnittingHelp that I realized my idiosyncracies. I do most of the work of knitting with my left hand fingers, though I'm right-handed. I guess it's kind of like throwing instead of picking, because I use my left thumb and middle finger to wrap the yarn around the needle in my right hand (instead of actually "picking" the yarn with my right hand needle). I don't put the needle down the way I've seen some English knitters do. I just lift my left thumb, index finger, and middle finger off the needle to do the wrap (the index finger keeps the yarn taut while the thumb and the middle finger do the work, my ring finger and pinky, along with my palm, keep the needle stable). All I use my right hand for is to insert the needle into the stitches on the left needle, and then pull the new stitch out. Same when I purl, except my left thumb does basically all the work there. Pretty weird, eh? And probably slowing me down. Perhaps I should take the time to learn to do it right....

I know that knitting's not about speed. Fact is, I actually miss working on my Easy V now that it's done. It's just that there are so many things in my queue, it would be really nice to be able to zip through some of them. I have a couple of deadlines looming large that are starting to stress me out a bit. Knitting should not be about deadlines and stress, but there ya go.

A little voodoo
These really are a quick knit. Though I still managed to give them to CJ nearly a month late for Christmas.

pattern: Voodoo Wristwarmers, size small
yarn: Malabrigo, Brown Berries, less than 1 skein
needles: size 4 dpns
dates: January 17-20
modifications: none
verdict: love the yarn (duh), love the pattern, made these to go with this scarf
The only thing is that my own Voodoo Wristwarmers are seriously starting to pill. Malabrigo looks so lovely when first knit. But WOW. I feel like I need to give away a sweater shaver with any Malabrigo gift I make.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Handknit Street Style

So Lolly has started a flicker group called Handknit Street Style for people to show how they wear their handknits with other wardrobe pieces. Here's how I'll be wearing my newest FO (the first of 2007).

With a skirt I made!!

With my leather boots from Italy!

Can you tell I'm excited?!? I can't believe I actually made a whole outfit (okay, the sweater and the skirt - it's not like I knit the tights or suddenly learned leathercraft). I'm equally excited that I finally have something to wear that will show off the boots I bought in Italy. When it comes to skirts, I usually wear long slim ones - so this knee-length A-line is something of a departure for me.

What could be better for a snowy winter day, then a grey wool sweater, a black corduroy skirt, and leather boots?

The specs:
pattern: glampyreknits Easy V-Neck Raglan
yarn: Ironstone Harmony, in charcoal grey (11026)
needles: size 9s for the body, the sleeves, and the sleeve ribbing, size 7s for the body ribbing
dates: started December 26, 2006, finished January 18, 2007
modifications: The pattern calls for the ribbing to be done with 7s, but after seeing Amylovie's version and asking her how she did her sleeves, I decided to stick with the 9s (which is what she did). I wish I had done that with the body ribbing too (more on that in a minute.
I also did not decrease the sleeves as much as the pattern called for, because when I did, they were way tighter than I wanted. I did the sleeves four different times to get them the way I wanted (and they are still a wee bit tighter than I might want).
challenges: In addition to having to try four times before I got the sleeves to fit the way I wanted, I had trouble with my bind-off being too tight on the body. The ribbing is done on 7s and at first I bound on with 7s. Not stretchy enough. So I ripped and then bound off with 9s. Still too tight. So I ripped and bound off with 11s. Better, but still I wish it were stretchier. In fact, I wish I had done the body ribbing with 9s so that it would be a little looser overall. Everyone else's easy v-neck seems to hang looser than mine (perhaps I should've gone up a size? but I did the one that went right with my measurements). But the fact is, I don't think I could've managed to do it in 9s, because of this:

That is how much yarn I had left after binding off!
I don't think there's any way I could've had enough yarn to do the ribbing on 9s.

verdict: I love this sweater and I love this pattern. It is a super-fun knit, and pretty quick (though not nearly as quick as SpiderWoman was able to do! A weekend, really? No way I could manage that.) I love the rustic look of this sweater, especially the neckline. I love this yarn. I love that this sweater could equally well with jeans or a skirt. Unlike any other sweaters I've made, I think I will be wearing this one a lot.

The specs:
pattern: Basic A-line skirt from Sew U.
fabric: Black corduroy on clearance at JoAnn's, $2.99/yard, 1 5/8 yards. Black lining from Joann's, $4.99/yard, 1 5/8 yards.
notions: Black zipper (my first zipper!). And, of course, black thread.
dates: January 18-20. Dude. Sewing is so much quicker than knitting.
modifications: I hacked off about 4 inches from the bottom of the basic pattern. And, it turned out that I made the thing too big and had to take it in. I went by the sizing suggestions based on my measurements, but that was tricky because my waist measurement puts me as a large and my hip measurements put me as a small! I thought it would be better to make it too big and have to take it in than to make it too small and have to start all over again. Turns out I could've gone even smaller than I did, so I'm perplexed about which size to make next time (and there will definitely be a next time!). In retrospect, I could've bought a lot less fabric since I ended up with a much smaller skirt than the original pattern I used.
verdict: I couldn't be happier. This is a great, straightforward pattern for a beginner, and the book offers lots of options for variations. With this book and this pattern, I learned how to install a zipper and how to make darts. With the help of the folks at Sewing Mamas, I learned how to take it in. I've discovered that I get very excited by sewing projects, but the energy is totally different from what's involved in knitting. I find it tires me more than knitting, and it's more exciting and less relaxing. I can't wait to make more skirts. And other stuff.

I'm really, really happy with this.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

FO revisited: Baby Layette

I know what you're really here for - to find out who won the Malabrigo. Patience, grasshopper, it's coming.

But first, you simply must look at this:

That's Baby J! In the layette I made him!
(for those new to this blog, J is My Old Man's grandson)
For Christmas, My Old Man's daughter gave me a framed picture of J in the whole ensemble.
And I asked for a digital copy to put on my blog.
(you may remember that I took pics this summer but was hesitant to post them without permission and too embarrassed to ask for that permission)

Squishy little baby.
Squishy little knits.

Here he is at 2 weeks, in the hat.

Dude. I so need another one, don't I?

Like I've said before, this was probably the knit I was most proud of in 2006. I still can't believe I planned well enough to get the whole thing done in time for his birth (which was 6 months ago tomorrow).

Okay, okay, thanks for indulging me. Now, without further ado, the blogiversary giveaway winner is:
(HamaLee from KnittingHelp)

Congrats, Lauren! I'll send you a PM at KH to get your mailing address.

Besides being a shameless ploy to get more traffic over here on my blog, this giveaway has been really fun. I might have to do it again sometime!

Coming very soon: an FO, for real. And maybe more than just a knitting FO. We'll see....

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What I Love :: Grey

A few months ago, Amanda did a series of posts about what she loves. It was a sweet little series, and inspiring. Sometimes I still find myself thinking about some of the photos (particularly the one of her grandmother's hands and the one of her 3 year-old son's foot climbing a tree).

Here's something I love: grey.

winter finally came this week

there's nothing quite like the quiet, cold beauty of an ice storm's aftermath

I love grey.

Easy V-Neck Raglan.
So close to done I can hardly stand it.
Actually, the knitting has been done for a few days now.
There's just a little finishing left, plus I need to re-do the bind-off of the body (again)
to make it a bit stretchier.

This raglan is in a duel with another knit to become my first FO of 2007. I don't know which will win yet, but stay tuned. One day very soon, there will be an actual FO on here.

And stay tuned, also, for the results of the Malabrigo blogiversary drawing. It's not too late to leave a comment and be entered!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Blogiversary - and a giveaway

So it was a year ago tonight that I first started doing this blog thing (I know my archives go back to August 2005, but that was because I went back and added in posts and FOs to try to sort of track my knitting obsession from the beginning). I date the beginning of my knitting obsession with my discovering of the online knitting world, and knitting blogs were certainly a part of it. Since starting my own blog, my interest has expanded into other craft blogs as well (especially sewing blogs, but also general craftiness and kid-focused crafts as well). I love the online craft community, and have gained so much knowledge and inspiration from my visits to the many wonderful blogs out there.

I started this blog partly because I wanted to be a part of that amazing community, and partly because I wanted to track my own projects, dreams, wonderings, and learnings in someplace other than the jumbled space that is my mind. It has been such a great experience for me to be able to go back and read old posts, look at pics of old FOs and get both a sense of accomplishment at what I have done and a sense of my own growth as a knitter, a seamstress, a mother, a person. Greater still has been to get encouragement, advice, and general wittiness from those of you who are kind enough to visit my blog. I treasure every comment that has been left.

Now's my turn to give something back, humble though it may be. Just a small little something.

1 skein
#195, Black

This sweet little bundle is looking for a home. I bought this with a specific project in mind and then went a different direction (both in terms of color and yarn). I'm certain I could find a use for it someday [1 skein is the perfect amount for any number of quick projects: a hat, a scarf, some wristwarmers, some thick bedroom socks, or even as the upper color in some felted clogs], but I'm also trying to be disciplined with myself about stash management right now. I thought Malabrigo would make a nice little giveaway for one of my readers. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post. On Thursday, January 18th (because 18 is my favorite number), I'll draw a name at random [hey, given my normal amount of blog traffic, you have roughly a 25% chance of winning!]. If I pick your name, the skein is yours. [fair warning: Rachel has a real talent for winning this kind of random name-drawing competition. Exhibit A. Exhibit B. edited to add: Dude, seriously, it's uncanny. She did it again. Exhibit C.] Check back sometime late Thursday or early Friday for the results of the drawing.

Thank you, blogland, for everything you've given me. Mwah!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Y is for Yarn

The letter Y.
Brought to you by the Melissa and Doug Alphabet Train Puzzle.

What I love when my boys play with this puzzle - though they can't remember how to pronounce "octopus" or that I is for "igloo," and though they call the violin a guitar (okay, actually "too-tar") and the xylophone a piano, they know one thing for sure. Y is for yarn.

I've got plenty of yarn already on the needles, and some that ought to be on the needles right now (or, to be more accurate, should've already been on the needles and then off again and given as a present). Still, my mind is on my next deadline: the Knitting Help Sockintine Swap (deadline: Valentine's Day). So of course, that meant more yarn.

Mmmmm. Blackberry goodness.
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, #4ns, blackberry
from Angelika's Yarn Store
(I love Angelika's: super-quick shipping, great customer service)

The power of suggestion.
Yes, that's the exact same colorway shown in the book.
I'll be doing Fancy Silk Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks.

One of these days, I'm going to do a post showing all the FOs I've done that are in the exact same color as the sample in the pattern. I'm a marketer's dream. But I don't mind. I love this yarn, and I love this color.

Meanwhile, I'm working on a different kind of yarn project: stash management, organization, and downsizing. I emptied my craft closet of all my yarn and am trying to sort through it now. I'm a bit overwhelmed.

Yes, boys, you and Melissa and Doug are right: Y is for yarn.

Monday, January 08, 2007

2006: A Knitty Review

I know we are well into the new year now, but I haven't had time till right about this moment to step back and take a little stock of the year that just passed. So. A review. This meme is from A Mingled Yarn

Year's End Knit-analysis

1. What is your absolute favorite project you've ever knit (one that fulfilled both process and product)?
Probably Cozy. I loved knitting it - the pattern was just enough of a challenge to keep me engaged. I just never got tired of it, even though it was the same eight rows, over and over again. Also, I loved the feel (and the smell!) of the yarn, so it was always a joy to pick up. And I was perfectly thrilled with how it came out.

2. Which of your handknits do you wear the most often?
It's a tie, actually, between three things. The first is Cozy, which I put on almost every morning as soon as I get up. The other two are the two pairs of socks I've made for myself - Simply Lovely Lace Socks, and my Toe-Up Tuscaknit Socks, both of which I wear to bed rather frequently. The funny thing is, with all three of these, even though I wear them quite often, I almost never wear them out in public. I prefer plain black socks or black-and-grey tights for work, and I don't typically have a reason to wear a shawl out (I wore it once to church and once to a wedding rehearsal).

3. Which of your handknits are you most proud of?
I suppose it would be repetitive for me to say Cozy again. So I'll mix things up and say this baby layette, which I knit for My Old Man's new grandson, born this past July. I love squishy cotton baby knits, and I felt such a sense of accomplishment at completing this sweet little set.

4. What was your favorite gift to knit?
Hmmm, maybe these felted clogs, because they were so fun and quick. I also really enjoyed making My Old Man a sweater, and I get all warm inside every time I see him wearing it.

5. Which of your handknits are gathering dust your closet?
To Dye For
single brown child's sock
single ugly orange child's sock
London Beanie
the too-big, too-little hat
the boys' felted clogs
and the never-before-seen Anthropologie-Inspired Disaster
I put it down halfway into the project, and when I picked it back up, I forgot how I was doing the selvage. More than once. So there are multiple mistakes in the edging, and it turns out the way I chose to do the selvage originally (a chain selvage) ended up making the edge roll.

6. Which of your handknits have you gotten rid of?
None. Though I do intend to frog the capelet (above) and my first scarf in order to re-use the yarn (the lovely but discontinued Rowan Polar, in both cases)

7. If you've knit socks, what is your favorite pattern?
I LOVE Simply Lovely Lace Socks from IK Spring 2006

8. What would you like to make in 2007?
My list already is ridiculously long:
CJ's voodoo wristwarmers
Men's Zippered Raglan for My Old Man
several more pairs of felted clogs (for recipients who will actually wear them!)
glampyre's easy v-neck raglan for me
Tubey for me
socks, socks, and socks
a couple of Tomtens for the boys
Bea Ellis hat for me
a ribbed watchcap for me
knit-and-tonic's dreamswatch headband in bamboo
a couple of log cabin blankets for the boys
another lace shawl for me (you know, because I have so many places to wear a shawl)
and so on, and so on, and so on
[yeah, I know there's a lot of stuff on there just for me. I'm like that.]

9. What have you learned about your craft in 2006?
A whole lot. This year I did my first sweater, my first socks, my first lace, my first baby layette, and there were a whole lot of other firsts in there, I'm sure.

10. What events/sites have you particularly enjoyed in the blogosphere in 2006?
I really enjoyed The Amazing Lace, the event that got me knitting Cozy, which as you can see from this meme, was a pretty major knit in my life this year.

Wow. I can't believe how long it took me to compile this list. It was fun, though, to go back and look at old posts and see things I've knit over the last year. I feel like I've accomplished a lot. Here's to more in 2007!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I Made. I Gave. I Got.

(yeah, I know that's not the meaning of Christmas; it's just what I'm writing about today)

A review.

What I made:
Sock monkeys? No.
My Old Man's Zippered Raglan Sweater? No.
Dove garland I insanely started 2 nights before Christmas? No.

The middle one I knit for MIL. Don't ask about the pointy toe. It's a design feature. ;)
The ones on either side of it are the ones I sewed for the boys. I'm quite proud of them.
(I didn't make the two outer ones.)

Christmas gift for CJ?
Sort of.
I did finish a Scrunchable Scarf for her, in Malabrigo Brown Berries.
But it was also going to have a pair of matching Voodoo Wrist Warmers.
Soon, CJ, I promise!

Yummy Christmas candy? Yes.
A ridiculously huge Christmas Eve meal for only three adults and two toddlers? Yes.
An utter mess of my house? Oh yes.

What I got:

Here's the yummy undyed Shetland Wool (dk weight) My Old Man's son, C, brought me from England. It came from sheep raised not far from where C lives. How cool is that? I don't yet know what I'll make with it, but I love this yarn, and I love that it is the exact same colors as the sheep it came from. When I hold this yarn, I'm transported to the rolling green hills of the English countryside. Love it.

Yarn for Tubey!

And a new lens!
(the kitty was not a Christmas gift - she's just posing for me to show off the lens features)
After drooling over the shots Grumperina was taking with this same lens, I put it on my Amazon wish list immediately, and my folks got it for me.

Aside from giving and getting, the holidays were both great and draining. An eight-day trip (six days of which included driving anywhere from 3 hours to 8 hours), 2500 miles on the car, two sick boys, and two sick parents doesn't make for the most relaxing "break." But now it's January. I love January. I love a fresh start. Hope your year is happy!