Don't mind me...

on 26 August 2016

Remember that lovely picture from Wednesday?  The one with 2/3 of the front of Na Craga finished and another 6 inches of the back? 

Well, I worked really hard this week and I got to where I should have been able to shape the back portion, I counted all of the cable repeats, I measured and measured and it wasn't long enough.  Not by a long shot.  I stared at it for an hour last night trying to figure out why it wasn't long enough.  And then I laid it side by side with the front and tried to match up the seam that will be.

That's when I looked at the cuff.  The CUFF.  And it wasn't long enough.  But I thought, "I know I would have counted that to make sure I have the right number of rows!"  So I counted again.   I was 2 rows short.  TWO.  In the CUFF.

So then I sat there (this was 11:15 at night) and wracked my brain trying to think about how to preserve all of those cables and still fix the cuff.  But here's the problem.  The cuff is a twisted rib.  So I could have unpicked the cast on edge and then picked up the stitches and knitted back down the 2 rows, but doing that in the reverse will reverse the twist of the rib and thus look backwards.  I could have cut the cuff off, reknitted it and then attempted to graft it back together, but that's going to throw off the row count on the cables.  There was no alternative, but to rip the whole thing out.13.5 inches of cables, GONE.

This morning, I am just trying not to cry.

The Present

on 24 August 2016

Excuse me while I take a momentary break from the past to, well, complain about something in the present.

So for the past, oh seven years (since I learned how to knit), Chris has been asking me for a sweater.  And not just a plain, basic, run-o-the-mill sweater.  An every day, who cares if it gets dirty sweater, but an intricately cabled sweater.  A fancy sweater, an HEIRLOOM sweater. 

When he started med school, I thought to myself, "Maybe I'll make him that intricate sweater and give myself 4 years to finish it.  It can my my Med School project."  And I gave him fair warning, that I would make him said sweater, but I would take as long as I wanted to finish it.  Because, and this is the material point.  I'm not very good at cabling.  I seem to have a natural affinity for color work, it comes quick and fast for me.  But cabling?  Cabling is HARD.  I have to really focus on what I'm doing and I can't ever zone out, I have to keep reminding myself which row I'm on and look at the stitches that I'm knitting because some of them change and some of them remain the same.  So at the time, I thought this was a reasonable plan.

And then I started it.

Back in early May, I found this beautiful pattern.  It's an Alice Starmore (she's an AMAZING designer from the Hebrides in Scotland) and I have most of her pattern books, but I've put off knitting anything from them because I just didn't feel like I was a good enough knitter to try them.  But I thought, I have four years to figure it out!  It'll be fine!  So I knitted up a gauge swatch (and got gauge for the first time EVER), so I cast on.  I worked the cuff and got the cables started and was feeling pretty good about it, so I thought I'll pack it to Utah with me, we'll be in the car a lot, it'll be nice to have something to work on.  So I did that.

And the yarn...the yarn is this pine, muddy green, but looking at it in the sunshine out in Utah, it just came alive with flecks of emerald and gold and orange and teal in it and it was so pretty that I really was completely surprised by it.  So I kept working on it.  (If you follow me in Instagram, you'll have seen pictures about it.)

I got about 5 inches done on the front, and then started the back because I knew if I finished the front and had to start all over on the back then I would just dissolve into a puddle of defeated tears.  So I finished about 5 inches of the back and then set it aside while I finished the winter sweaters for the kids for this year (don't worry, they got plain, boring, run-o-the-mill sweaters).  And I lost the momentum.  And worse than that, my anxiety about working so many cables came BACK.  So then it just sat there, in my knitting bag, intimidating me.

I finished the sweaters for the kids and was worrying about Na Craga, so I just left it alone and I asked Chris what kind of socks he wanted for Christmas.  And you can probably guess what his reply was, "I'd rather have the sweater, it'll be more useful to me on campus...please?"  So I confessed that I was feeling a little intimidated by the sweater at the moment, and then I did what any slightly overwhelmed mother-home schooler-knitter would do and I cast on another sweater for Lilu.  It was a simple little pullover, it took me 2 weeks.

But at that point, I could avoid it no longer, so I went back to Na Craga.  I pulled it out, I looked at how much I had knitted and how much I still had to go.  I thought about the skills that I was going to have to LEARN before Christmas, because there are all of these things that I'm required to do that I've never done before, and back in May when I gave myself four years to knit it, it all seemed do-able, but now, in August, when I'm trying to finish by Christmas, it seems really scary!  But I've been working on it...and here's proof.

The bigger piece is the front, it's about 2/3 of the way finished, and the smaller piece is the back, it's exactly where I left it in June.  I still have all of the neck shaping, 2 sleeves and a collar to knit, and then I have to figure out how to assemble the whole monstrosity.  Before Christmas.

Pray for us sinners.

(I told Christopher on Sunday that I may never knit him anything else EVER again.  And he promptly said, "I'll ask for something simple next time!"  Hah.  As if there's going to be a NEXT time.)

I am well protected from the monsters...

on 22 August 2016

So, my very sweet, shy and cautious boy has never wanted to dress up for Halloween.  He doesn't want to go Trick or Treating, he's very skeptical of Halloween generally.  But two years ago (this would be 2014 now) he wanted to go to the Trunk or Treat festivities at church, but he didn't want to dress up.  So Chris and I packed up Cameron and Lilu and they had fun going from trunk to trunk, but they skipped the scary ones.

Then last year (2015) he asked me (about 2 weeks before Halloween), "Mommy, I think I want to dress up this year."  And I fought the urge to lay my head down and CRY.  Seriously?  I've had 7 years of EASY Halloweens, and this year, THIS year that Daddy is in med school and Mommy is drowning, THIS year is the year you want to dress up?!  But I was very grown up about it, I said, "Really?  What do you want to dress up as?"  And he thought for a moment and said, "Percy Jackson." 

We had read the Percy Jackson books for bed time reading the year that we studied Ancient History because he was completely obsessed with Greek Mythology, and he especially enjoyed the stories about Poseidon.  So I thought, "Well, it could have been worse."  So I started to think about what we could do for a costume that would require minimal creativity and monetary expense.  And because Lilu MUST do everything that Cameron does, it immediately escalated into "I want to be ANNABETH!"

After a few hours of searching on the internet, I came up with a plan that I liked well enough.  I ordered Camp Half-Blood t-shirts from Etsy, and I bought the stuff to make them bead necklaces.  Chris watched a tutorial on how to make a wooden sword and we got to work.  I painted the beads to match the descriptions in the books, and once Chris had shaped and sanded the swords down, I painted them in the garage (in the aptly named Antique Bronze).  When the day of the Halloween Carnival arrived, I thought they looked pretty awesome (for a totally apathetic mother)!

They look pretty happy, right?  Let me tell you, tooling around with two kids armed with wooden swords makes you feel pretty safe...

Look at how ferocious they are!  I can't imagine where they could have learned THAT. 

But this picture is probably my favorite.  It totally sums up this child's role in our family:

She makes us all laugh.  When we're stressed out and overwhelmed, when everyone is tired and fractious and impatient, Lilu pulls a mug like this or says something odd and goofy and gets us all laughing again.  She does her fair share of crazy-making, but she does MORE than her fair share of happy-making too.