Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 - A Whole Lotta Life, A Little Bit of Knitting

I'm starting to see these 2005 knitting re-caps popping up on blogs, and so I sat down to do a little re-cap of my own. And honestly...I wasn't impressed.

Completed in 2005:

*Making Waves Socks

*Stashbuster Spirals Socks

*Primary Children's Hospital Afghan #2 (squares made by my knitting group, project started like three years ago...)

*Black Forest Naturwolle Scarf

*Snakey Socks

And that's it. Not very much. To make myself feel a little better about my output, I surveyed projects that are all literally on the brink of completion. They are:


*Fuzzy Pull-Off Lace Cowl

*Lovers Braid Pattern Lace-Edged Pillowcase

*Flower Basket Shawl

This is sad, really. Evidently I developed an aversion to finishing in 2005. Rogue needs only blocking, sewing on two sleeves, and sewing up the hems to the sleeves and bottom. The lace cowl needs only blocking and weaving in two yarn tails. The pillowcase lace may need up to one measly lace repeat, then all the tedious cutting and hemming and ironing of the pillowcase and the binding off and sewing the lace onto the pillowcase. And the FBS needs blocking and two ends woven in as well. Obviously, I need a finishing attitude adjustment.

My excuse for all this? Well, 2005 really did bring me a whole lotta life. I moved twice. I started two new positions at work, the last one a promotion. I traveled more than usual for my job, as faithful blog readers may remember. I sold a home. I lived in and occasionally helped out with a house being remodeled. I got engaged. I started to plan a wedding. I ended said engagement, and planned wedding turned into big family reunion. I completely blew out my knee, underwent major recontructive knee surgery, and spent many many hours in physical therapy for knee rehabilitation (which is still not totally complete). I also had a couple family members in poor health, including my grandma in the hospital a couple times, though she is doing much better now. And while knitting came along with me through many of these events, sometimes in a most comforting way, it also often got the shaft when, at times, my brain just couldn't contain it all.

My goal for 2006? Well, perhaps besides having quite so many major life changes all in one year? I was going to quote Elvis and say, "A little less conversation, a little more action," at least when it comes to my knitting. But that's not quite right, really. I don't want to stop talking and blogging about knitting, I just want to have a little bit more to show for myself when the next year of my life winds down. Because there's all that beautiful stash to be knit (in Kim's Stashalong!), and I can hear it calling my name.

And, yes, this is my second post in one day. What can have come over me?

The Tell-Tale Compression of Pages

"[M]y readers...will see in the tell-tale compression of the pages before them, that we are all hastening together to perfect felicity." - Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Tell-Tale Compression

Jane may have presaged an ending of perfect felicity in her tell-tale compression of pages, but a week ago, at about 3:00 PM on Christmas Eve, I realized that the tell-tale compression of KPPPM showed that the yarn and I were hastening together towards our unhappy doom.

Seven rows into what I had intended as my last ten-row full-pattern repeat, I thought to myself, "Self, this doesn't look so good. You know, the wise woman would have put in a life-line seven rows ago. The semi-wise woman might put one in now."

After carefully pulling a very long piece of dental floss through my very long row seven, the Voice of Reason kicked in, and admonished me, "There is NO WAY you are going to have enough yarn to complete this pattern repeat and the edging. NO WAY. Turn back now, daylight is burning!!" (Please, you don't need to point out to me that it wasn't a good sign to start hearing multiple voices at this point. Serious chocolate and coffee reserves were already required.)

This calls for emergency back-up

And so, I tinked seven incredibly long rows of lace, people. It took me hours and hours. I don't want to say how many; it was highly embarrassing. I tinked all evening at my parents' house, sitting near my grandma, for whom the shawl was intended. She'd seen me knitting on it months before, too. "What are you knitting, Andrea?" "Oh, just some lace..." "What kind of lace?" "Oh, just a little shawl..."

And so it was done. Well. Almost.

When everyone went home and went to bed, I came home and knit until around 3 AM. The knitting was complete, though I saved the binding off for the next morning - incidentally, binding off a shawl knit on size 7s using a size 11 needle worked marvelously. And so I bound the shawl off at about 10 AM on Christmas morning, and wrapped it up. So, sadly, I did not meet my goal and I had to give it to my grandma unblocked, and then take it back for blocking, which I will complete this weekend. But I think she liked the shawl, and hopefully she'll like it even more when it's really finished... I would have met my goal of being completely done, I think, were it not for my reckless disregard of the tell-tale compression of skein. So, let this be a lesson to you, my friends. LIFE LINES. I'm just sayin... At least when operating under such an ominous deadline. Ha ha -- a deadline calls for a life-line!! Now that's catchy (and cheesy).

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Quite some time ago, I formed my own special theory about knitting in relation to gift-giving deadlines. It went something like this: I'm not going to do it anymore. I think I may have blown just about every knitted gift deadline I ever tried to impose on myself, with the exception of a few hats.

Oddly, I very often start knitted projects without any particular recipient in mind, and as I knit, I decide that it would be just perfect for so-and-so. And that actually works quite well - knit exactly what you want to knit, and if it happens to suit someone you love, then give it to them. So that was one of my first knitted gift theories, and it has proven fairly sound over time.

But back to this deadline thing. I think the first major project I decided to give as a gift was for my mom. I was working on a checkerboard pattern afghan, and because her college graduation was coming up, I decided it would be a great gift for that. And it was a great gift for that purpose -- it's just that it was also at least a month late. (She got back at me eventually for that one -- she decided it wasn't long enough and requested another row of blocks, which I added -- good thing it was checkerboard!) My parents have received the late anniversary gift of a hat for my dad and a scarf for my mom. I once gave my mom a hat and scarf set for her birthday with the scarf wrapped up still on the needles and finished who knows how much later. And probably the worst incidence of late gift knitting was the afghan that I made for my grandma for her 80th birthday. It wasn't a year late, was close.

That was when I made the big decision -- you can knit for other people, in fact, it's a great idea, but just don't tell them (or anyone else) you're knitting them something for their birthday/Christmas/Mother's Day/whatever. No, instead, work on that project at your very own pace, because you know sometimes life will intervene. You may have a gift giving occasion in mind for your gift, but if nobody but you knows anything about it, and you blow the deadline, well, and here's the brilliant part -- you can just give it to them for the next major gift-giving occasion that comes up! (A sub-set of this theory involves the intended-recipient switcheroo -- didn't finish that baby blanket reasonably on time? That's okay -- another baby will come along!)

So what's this, you ask?

Well. I'm breaking my rule. This is a not-yet finished Flower Basket Shawl, made from a very springy colourway of KPPPM -- I think of it as the Easter Basket Shawl. I started this sucker back in August, on one of those famous business trips (actually, it is a sort of an infamous business trip, what with that pub crawl in Atlanta...) A lot has happened since mid-August, most of which seems to have directly interfered with any knitting time. But I've snuck a little knitting in here and there, and at some point, I decided this shawl would make a great gift for my grandma for Christmas. It's been a rough fall for us -- Grandma was in the hospital in September, and then again in October, and spent all of November and into December in a nursing home. There were times in there when everyone was afraid she wasn't going to make it. But she hung in there, and is doing much better, and about a week ago, she and my grandpa moved into an assisted living home and are doing pretty well. Still, this is a special Christmas to me, and this IS my grandma's Christmas gift -- I even broke the rule of knitting silence and announced it as such to others. And, you can sort of see in the photo's not done. Panic regarding this fact struck me around last Monday.

And so, it is 6:50 AM on Saturday, December 24th. This shawl will be finished and washed and blocked and dry by tomorrow morning, at, say 10:00 AM at the latest. I'm not really sure how much I have left, as I am making the shawl bigger than the pattern, with three skeins of KPPPM, just adding pattern repeats until the yarn runs out. Less than one skein to go, though, I can say that with certainty. Take me to your Coffee...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


If you google "Andrea needs," my blog is now the number 2 google result out of like 1400 that you get. I find this very amusing. All thanks to that "Andrea needs" meme. As you may guess, I'm adding this entry to aim for number 1. Ha. Silliness.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Totally Gratuitous Picture of My Latest Haircut

Friday, December 09, 2005


Just got the latest issue of Interweave Knits in the mail today, and I am completely enamored of the Belted Wrap Jacket designed by Shirley Paden. (See it here.) I think I may need to add this to the very long to-be-knitted list. Which doesn't get a lot of airtime in my life lately, but I can dream...