Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's complicated alright

I wanted a knitting challenge when I selected Mr. Bluejeans as a project.  I also really, really wanted it to be for myself. Last week I got a little worried that it wouldn't fit me, after all.  I mean, after swatching twice, measuring often and a few prayers thrown in that I had it right, it seemed small.  Too small.  Even though it was a top down cardigan, and therefore could be tried on for size, it was at a point that I couldn't do it without risking loss of live stitches (well I could, but I was too lazy to put almost 300 stitches on waste yarn), so I tried it on Sara.

Praise be!  It was too big on her!  I secretly think she was a little saddened by this as rather than rip and start over, I always finish my mistakes in size anyway and give them to her.  I knew as she modeled for me that I was on the right track.  I forged ahead with the difficult parts.

Pay no attention to the woman in the mirror wearing monkey pajamas.  She's overjoyed the top down cardigan is to a point she can actually try it on herself and she forgot to dress for the occasion.
First came the short rows, and while they're not truly hard, doing them right is important so gaps and wraps don't show on the public side of the piece.  I was so happy this short row technique added length in the back. Mission accomplished with that part of the pattern, I started the directional edge of this cardigan:

Stop knitting with wrong side facing.

Provisionally cast on 54 stitches and find out when you pick them up and knit the first row, you actually need 55 cast on stitches to make it work.  Fudge that last stitch because who wants to do another crochet provisional cast on?

Think about the pattern for a minute or two (ok, really a couple of days) before forging ahead.  Realize it's not as crazy as it sounds because you've knit applied borders before.  Ruby gave me migraines!

Knit the first four rows of the edge and gloat because what looks hard as hell is so damned easy once you let it go and stop over-thinking things.

Read the pattern where it says repeat row 1 through 4 until all of the waiting stitches are gobbled up by the knit two togethers on the right side of the edging.

Read the pattern where it says the edging has 12 rows and the two cabled rows are decidedly different.

Oh, oh.  Pause.  Write the designer and ask which set of directions is correct.  Don't hear back and still itching to knit?

     Read all of the project notes available from the other 26 people who have knit this.
     Come across one reference that this was an issue for her, too.
     Pause again.  Take photos.  Think about it.
     Decide to do rows one through 4 until all the stitches are gobbled up and ignore the rest.

Wish me well.  I think I'm done dragging my feet and will throw knitting caution to the wind.

Monday, November 26, 2012


The dining room table has at last arrived!  It's much smaller than the Last Supper table we've had for decades.  It's also kind of rugged looking.  For the life of me though, I cannot decide on what I should do about a rug. The table is 4 feet in diameter and round, but with the addition of the leaf, which I see us using maybe only a handful of times in a year, it would be oval with dimensions of 6 X 4 feet.

I've been to several design sites that state a round table should have a round rug, roughly 2 feet larger than the size of the table.  I can manage a 6 foot round rug in the space.  I can't manage larger though, because while the wall space is relatively square, the placement of built in cabinetry makes the floor size different.  Some of those sites also state that the rug should be sized for the table when a leaf would be in use (hardly ever) so that all of the chairs fit on the rug.  For that I'd need a rectangular or oval rug that's 8 X 6 and is so hard to find in that size!

What do you think?  Round rug for the way that table will be used 360 days a year, or an 8 x 6 near impossible size to find?  Or square?  Square could work, too, though I do believe there is beauty in symmetry and for that I'd prefer round.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Miracles Happen

This  quilted runner is courtesy of my sister., Mareseatoats, who made this lovely addition to my Thanksgiving table.

Brace yourselves!

Contrary to popular belief, no drama holidays exist! I know this for a fact because we just celebrated one.  Nobody lost their temper and no one cried, though I almost did when I toppled an exquisite bottle of pinot noir that my brother had only just opened to allow it to breathe.  Red wine went everywhere except into my glass.  All was not lost as most of the--now well aerated--wine didn't spill.  What didn't stay in the bottle landed on the floor, walls and curtains.

We have snow in Detroit today.  It's not an enormous amount, but a reminder that it is wintery here now, despite the fact that it was 60 degrees just last Wednesday.  I first noticed what had happened overnight when I peeked out of my wine stained curtains and saw my car was white and not gray.  Leo must know it's snowed because, though it's nearly 10AM, he hasn't gotten out from under the covers yet.  I'm going to take a cue from the dog and make this a day of rest that's peppered with periods of knitting, though the knitting does promise to get dramatic.  I've finished the bodice on my Mr. Bluejeans sweater and will now start the short row shaping.  If I finish that part today, I'll turn the whole thing on it's side and begin knitting the applied cabled part of the sweater.  Knitting sideways...I love Amy Swenson and her patterns.  She has an extraordinary mind.

I hope that those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving had a drama free and relaxing day and weekend, too.  I'm now a believer that miracles do indeed happen.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Things to Come Yet

We're waiting for a few things to happen around here.  Today we'll get a delivery of a few pieces of furniture.  One is an entertainment cabinet for the television and its array of electronic gadgets that currently have no home.  We're both sick of the way it looks with wires and boxes hanging everywhere, so we went to Ikea for a solution.  I'm pretty certain that while they will be delivering, they don't set it up.  Screwdrivers and swearing are sure to be a part of what transpires in my home today.

Sometime soon, with really bad timing, we're expecting delivery and installation of the picture window in our living room. Could have definitely timed that one better!  I mean winter is upon us and the temperatures aren't really conducive to having a big gaping hole in the house for a day. What was I thinking?  It's my fault.  I balked and channeled my inner cheapskate when my husband wanted to do it sooner this year, and I made him caulk the window instead.  Then during the dregs of that hurricane that reached us all the way up here, despite the caulk, I could feel a breeze coming through the window that was strong enough to move my hair. We absolutely could not go another winter with this window providing free heat to the neighborhood.

It's a huge window and has sliders on each side that are back-breaking to open.  The new window will have a fixed center window with double hung windows (they slide up and down) on either side.  We really thought the windows in our home were newer, but it's come to light (with the help of our nosy and opinionated neighbor who does not believe in home improvement) what the problem was with the draftiness in this one window:  previous owners had removed it several times to move bulky furniture in and out.

What?  Who does that without properly resealing the window?  Instead of fixing something we don't like, we're replacing it with an energy saving solution.

In the time since I first started writing this, and the Ikea delivery... well, let's just say I've never seen so many small parts in one place.  What?  What was I thinking?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The case for bubble wrap and ear plugs

What a wretched work day here in sunny, but freezing cold Detroit.  If I'd listened to my inner voice, I never would have left the house.  I could have stayed home and worked on my sweater, which doesn't look like much yet, but is getting there.

The day began with my work cell ringing before my shift even started which is NEVER a good sign.  I was given a complicated mission to see a very angry client to fix mistakes made by others.  I hate being the messenger.  Before I left the house, I tripped on my husband's size 12 clodhopper shoes that were lying unseen in my path and nearly fell.  I was saved by the bookcase that hip checked me.  I knew immediately I'd wrenched my back, but hey, nothing was going to keep me from my mission of receiving a tongue lashing, again for something I didn't do.

Off to work I went with bruises forming.

As I walked from the parking deck of the hospital to the entry door, a big shot doctor with a lead foot was racing up the ramp in his screaming red Viper and nearly mowed me down where I stood with my fancy Danskos frozen in place and a stupid look on my face akin to a deer caught in the headlights.  He missed me by 1 foot.  I about shat my self.  He smirked.

Oh, yeah.  Great day it was shaping up to be...

I picked up the supplies I'd need to fix the problems that had me out so early and went off to spend a solid hour fielding complaints.  I forgot to take my earwax and had to listen to the litany of complaints with naked ears.  How many times can a nurse say she's sorry, especially when it wasn't even her mistake?  I ultimately fixed the problem, but my tales of woe do not end there.  I was almost hit again by a preoccupied driver on his cell phone who failed to stop while I was in the crosswalk at the hospital at the end of my day!


I never should have got out of bed in the first place.  Now that I'm all cozy at home with a dog by my side and my knitting in my lap, I'll be damned if I go back out into that hostile world again today.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It's been awhile

"Oh pleeze.  We begs more Chris Matthews, no matter how much my hair looks like his!"
With the anxieties of the past few months reaching fever pitch, it's with relief I note that "things" have finally settled down.  Despite my best efforts of avoidance, I was dragged into the entire 24 hour news cycle drama.  In the evenings, I watched what the left was saying while at night I tuned into the comics. For balance, I awakened early in the morning to listen to what the right had to say for themselves.   Between all of this, I was besieged by television & radio advertising, or by pollsters at my door, on my computer and about 4 times a day, on my phone.  While I love our democracy, I find that more and more, I abhor the ugly process.  It is with great joy that I note the political candidates who offended me most with their radical beliefs and expressions and whose quotes were featured in my sidebar for weeks, were voted out of their government positions.  Thank you, Missouri, Indiana and Illinois voters.  It would seem their beliefs mattered and offended all of you, too.  And Florida?  I'm so glad you showed Allen West the door.  I hope he doesn't let it hit him in the behind on the way out.   My hope now is that all of the children in the sandbox can finally learn to play nicely together.  I won't hold my breath for there is sure to be dramaz galore for the next several weeks.

My gmail account, which for months had at least 30 emails a day from politicians begging for money they didn't need, has gone down to a more normal one or two new messages a day, most of which are from knitting sites.

Squares on the Roll.  Separate squares from the same continuous ball of yarn.  Two down, 47 to go!
And speaking of knitting, I've been working on the Squares on the Roll afghan.  I'll be leading that workshop soon and I've been playing with the yarn, needles and various ways to make my decreases mirror one another.  It's been such a long while since I made my sample for the yarn store that I made many mistakes on my first square.  I misread the directions more than once, pulled double points out of my work (which liberated live stitches) twice and generally felt like a rookie knitter.  We'll blame it on the news, OK?  What should have been mindless knitting was anything but.  Today that's all changed.

I've been inspired by a visitor on the oncology unit at the hospital who has worn a different hand knit shawl every day this week.  Each one was more beautiful than the next and each was a work of art.  While I won't be knitting a shawl right now, just as soon as I'm done swatching, I will be casting on for Mr. Bluejeans today.  I'm using the Nashua Creative Focus in Blue Moor Heather.  What's better than knitting something blue in a free Amy Swenson pattern?

I think nothing.

It's good to be back to something that resembles normal.