I love Canadians

on 28 November 2016

Hi.  Miss me?  Not so much?  That's ok too.  I'm a mixed bag and not always miss-able. 

You should know, that I did reknit the back piece of Na Craga.  And then I put that sweater in Time Out for a while to think about it's actions and how we're going to proceed.  I feel like I've been working in circles lately, which is an awful feeling because I'm someone who derives a great deal of satisfaction from getting things DONE.

I really am going to continue the Long Tale of Last Year (it just gets longer and longer, though), but for today, there's a thing I think you should know about.

I have a long and complicated love affair with Canada and Canadians, it goes back to 9-11 when they took me in, an exile from my own country.  So it should come as little surprise that I want to tell you about this awesome and hilarious contest being held over at YarnCanada.ca

Basically, they want everyone to know the joy of Making their Own Stuff.  So they're holding a giveaway.  And the grand prize?  Sock Yarn for LIFE.  How awesome is THAT?  I've entered and I think you should too.  Don't knit?  That's sad.  Don't worry about it.  If you win, you can give it ALL to me! 

MwAH-HA-HA!  All the sock yarns for ME! 

To enter face to the North and click here:  http://www.yarncanada.ca/socksforlife

Don't believe me about how awesome hand knitted socks are?  Look what I made:

Custom fitted Tall Socks (as Lilu calls them, or knee highs as the rest of us would know them) for ME.  They're so lovely, y'all, warm and cozy and with the peculiar ability that hand knits have of making you feel strong and powerful because you MADE that.  

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.)