Sunday, December 25, 2005

Season's Greetings! Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

To one and all, of all faiths, I give you my greetings and wishes of a wonderful day!

Now, down to the needles.

First. My mother loved the shawl she got. She wrapped it about herself as soon as it was out of the box. The first pic is of a close up of the pattern, UNdressed. That means, for those uninitiated with lace work, this is what it looked like when I put in on the floor to take a picture. The second is the full thing out on my floor. I choose a quick cat-free moment. I moved so quick that the bottom edge to the left is hiked up. Anyway.

Here we have the blocked/or dressed shawl close up. What this means is that I got it all wet, spun out the excess water so it was *just* damp, like a wrung out sponge damp, and then used long thin metal wires and pins to pull and stretch and shape the shawl. Lots of wires. Lots of pins. Lots of fun getting cats OFF shawl, away from wires and pins and closing door. Pattern name is Barbara from Stahman's book Scarves and Shawls. Oohh, aaahhh. :)

Next picture is the dressed shawl. What do you do when you don't have an extra mattress to block on to, and no carpeting and no foam board? Why, you take home lots and lots of cardboard boxes from work, make sure they are at least double thickness, and pile on all the extra towels you have in the house, reserving just one for the morning shower. And then realize you still don't have enough boxes or towels for some spots. I didn't realize I had so many different colored towels. Anyway, you can sorta see the shape here of the shawl -- a Faroeses shape, greater than a half circle with lovely shoulder shaping so the thing with stay ON.

Neeexxttt. . . My father's sock -- on his foot! I know some people who saw me working on this at work couldn't believe it was for a man. Hey, dad picked this out! He loves colors. Also for those who felt them -- yes, they got a lot softer after I washed them. For the sock knitters out there -- it's Opal, Brazil (I think. I don't think it's Lollipop) (can't remember #, sorry!), knit on a 0 and something like 8-9 sts/inch I've got it noted down somewhere! I used one long 60" Addi Turbo employing the magic loop method, worked both socks at once, from the toe up. The "pattern" is from Crazy Toes and Heels by Queen Kahuna ;) Great sock book in my opinion. I've got little tabs on it so I can flip about it. Dad has a wide duck foot with a tiny (comparative) ankle. By measuring his foot using the Crazy Toes and Heels method I've got a sock that fits him.

For those who saw the "family" socks in the works, here ya go in order of Mother, Father, Son (and then son socks ontop of father's socks --just for comparison sake). They were make at 4.5sts/1in, on a size 4, 60" Addi Turbo, each pair made at the same time, top down. Because I didn't have their feet to measure. Jeeze. :) I used Plymouth's Encore, worsted weight, 75% Acrylic, 25% wool, completely machine washable, dryable and abusable.

Now -- here is a close up of ONE curtain that I finally just put up on blocking wires in my dining room window. Yes, you guessed it -- Old Shale aka Feather and Fan. In garter stitch. Dead simple. In cotton, a kind of natural ecru color. I figure with bright yellow living room walls, burgandy and pale, pale burgandy dining room walls and green kitchen I needed something . . . quiet. :)

And here it is looking from the inside out. I have to keep the shutters closed so my lovely cats don't demolish it. I have the second half on the needles and am working on it today as I watch my presents -- the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, special edition. Here's to finishing the second curtain before Christmass 2006!

And to paraphase Tiny Tim (from Charles Dicken's Christmas Carol) "Bless us, Everyone!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The BIG day is almost here. . .

And no, I'm not done with gifts. Ok. The ones that need mailing got mailed -- and arrived safe. And actually only ONE gift is not yet done. It is close. It is very close. It was much closer the week before last when I thought all I needed to do was cast off -- and then found I had forgotten the lace border for the shawl. Now, I am close. Honest. Just another 4 more repeats plus the side border stitches -- about 86 (no, I'm not counting . . . do you believe me? ) stitches to knit a border onto and cast off. I'm getting there.

So. Pics to follow shortly.

I did need to start other things. I'm only human. I started a pair of socks for me! In greens. I love them. I got the toe increases all done on Sat. so I could knit them during the Nutcracker performed by the Northern California Ballet in Paradise on Sunday. Which I did. I got about 2 inches done. I dropped a stitch once, but happily it was close to the end of the first Act and by the grace of the Knitting Muses somehow managed to ratchet up the dropped stitch the 5 rows it had slid. Without a crochet hook, frustratingly. I really MUST remember to restock my B hook for my knitting bag. I donated it to the shop. It ran away from home Sat. but I hope it will find its way back again. I think it stow-awayed in an unsuspecting knitting bag or eloped with a tape measure -- or worse! A knitting needle!

My Fenna shawl in the Lorna's Lace's Helen's Lace in Happy Valley colorway did not want to be a Fenna shawl. I think it wants to be an Elizabeth shawl. These names mean something if you have Stahman's Shawls and Scarves book. Honest. I also suspect it wants a different gauge. I forsee tinkering soon.

I also started a sock in crochet. However my late night furious stitching on the gift-to-be-completed must have caused some strain somehow in my left arm because it HURT when I crocheted a measly 5 rows. No, I am not left handed and no I do not knit or crochet with the left hand. It's a mystery.

I also have an Annoucement. Chrisanne has finished . . . a back to a sweater! Yeah!!! It's in seed stitch, the entire blessed thing. So will be the sleeves and the majority of the front. She is already threatening to dump the sleeves on me to finish (or just do). And -- hold onto your hats -- she followed the pattern!! I'm in shock still.

So, I should be asleep in bed now -- I'm transposing letters all over the place, so Good Night. And if I don't post beforehand (probable) Happy Holidays (don't get mad at me. I'm including New Years and whatever other holidays anyone reading may celebrate or imagine.)


Thursday, December 08, 2005

I *know* I'm not posting much

But I've gotten a few comments about the paucity of posts. Well, folks, I'm hitting the needles for gifts. Any free moment, I'm knitting on gifts. I should be now. However, I think the end may, just may, be in sight. I'll try not to jinx it.

Plus, we're open until 7pm until the end of holiday season. No, no one is coming in that late. I can't imagine why someone thought it was a good idea for the shops to stay open later. I can't think why I thought I'd go along with the idea. The cats are NOT happy. They ate the last pencil I had in the house last week. I bought a pack of automatic pencils Monday since I thought they just liked eating wood ones. Well, they're not that picky. I have ONE, count it, ONE pencil left again. I think it may need to come off the grocery list nailed on the kitchen wall and have to hide INSIDE a CLOSED drawer. They broke the entire lower teer on my artifical, fiber optic Christmas Tree too. It looks like there's a wreath around the bottom of a very small, long stemmed tree. I wasn't stupid enough to put breakable ornaments on it. I'm not happy, but then neither are my critters. We match.

Anyhow, I got incredibly bored of knitting for others. My selfish nature kicked in and I knew that if I knit just one more round on a certain gift I would grow to HATE the recipient AND the gift. So . . I started a sweater for myself in Plymouth's Alpaca Boucle -- its a dark gray color. Top down, raglan. I've actually started it about four times. I had, ahem, problems. First, the neck was too tight, and incidently I had put markers in the wrong places. So, second time, I started I realized I had somehow picked up the wrong needle size. Third time, with correct needles, I realized I had needed a larger neck opening -- because I had supposedly learned from the first starting. So -- I'm on start number 4. I'm almost back to where I was with start number 1. The really good part? Gauge is 2.5 sts to the inch. Yahooooo!!! AND I'm on 10.5 US needles!! Wahooo!

Second, I started a sock. For me, me, me, ME. I've made several socks lately, all for others, with larger feet than mine. It's time for me -- and smaller feet. :) These are on size 0. When I go up to 1's the gauge gets a sloppy feeling 7 sts/inch.

So, no pics. Besides Chrisanne has the camera.

Back to holiday gift knitting.
~Briony -- owned by five cats, one dog, two goldfish.