Anchorage Afghan 2.0
Monday December 09th 2019, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Scratching that itch again to get something finished and finally off the needles.

It had needed a dozen rows of seed stitch to top it off. That’s all.

I don’t love knitting seed stitch; I just like how it looks when I do.

There, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

(A detail I added this time: on the first round of pines, I started each tree one right-side row later than the one to its left in order to give a sense of the hilly topography. I liked how it came out a lot better than the original flat-across version.)

 

 



Such a simple pattern
Saturday December 07th 2019, 11:44 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

Sherry asked if my Christmas knitting is done and I wanted to put my hands over my ears and run away yelling, I can’t HEAR you…!

Yeah.

So.

I had this hat I started over a month ago, y’know, the little project stashed in the purse for whenever. Only, instead of the cookie-cutter plain-jane quick-knit stockinette Malabrigo Mecha hat, I thought I’d jazz it up a bit. Besides, I was a little bored with those.

Mistake number one: using, and continuing to use, two longer circular needles–and black ones at that!–to work it on because I couldn’t find my short size 7 bamboos.

Well, not really a mistake, but, two, the choice not to do a plain row every other row, which meant the constant needle switching with decreases and yarn overs running into the changes was a pain twice every single row, and helped make k5 k2tog yo forever and ever not a fun knit. Add in that it was a steep mountain switchback all the way through meant that knitting for an hour had the tape measure claiming I’d knit not one quarter inch at all–the thing was a Slinky that kept compressing downward.

There was only so much yarn in that single ball.

I had other hats I wanted to knit but they couldn’t start till that one was done, because I’m stubborn like that. It didn’t matter anyway because I had those baby afghans to do, right? They were my priority, and still are.

But come on. A month on a hat and it’s not even done? This was ridiculous.

So, and it’s all Sherry’s fault, today I knit a full 16-row repeat on that lavender afghan because I’d promised myself I would, and then I sat down with that hat AND I FINISHED IT. I thought I’d surely be done by nine pm and it took till a little after ten.

You have no idea how huge this feels. The relief, not the hat. I don’t have to do it anymore, it can’t guilt me anymore! (After I work the ends in.)

And then I went over to the mirror and for one last time, no four needle ends in my face this time, tried the little stinker on.

It looked nothing like the surly teenager it had been on my needles. It had gone to college and turned into a lovely adult and you could just see it riding its skateboard down those long, steep, curving lanes all the way down.

I really like it. I’m glad I made it. Believe me, it’s one of a kind.



It’s just a little thing, but it will grow
Tuesday December 03rd 2019, 11:19 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift

The afghan is finally in the fun to knit stage, but I wasn’t about to tote those two cones I’m working from to the baby shower tonight–one time of having everything tangle in the bag was enough.

Suddenly gauge swatches have a whole new meaning. That trip all the way through the laundry offered a realistic view of what the finished blanket will feel like and to a lesser extent how it will look.

The mom-to-be held up the swatch with a laugh and I held out my arms: “It’s this wide–and it’s going to be” as I swooped my hand down over my feet. “I figure every baby needs a blanket that keeps the mom’s toes warm on a cold night.”

There were a lot of young moms in that room and there was this resounding “YES!”

 



Lavender cachet
Monday December 02nd 2019, 11:10 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

After an inextricable (I tried!) tangle for reasons of utter stupidity the lavender afghan got ripped back to nothing this afternoon for the–I think third time. I don’t think that halfway time counts.

So that was fun.

Just. Let. Me. Get. Past. Two. Inches.

The originally planned bottom edging that I’d tossed after changing the stitch count (too wide the first time) and didn’t want to hassle with the math to work it back in is now back in the game and halfway finished.

And then, only then, did it at long last hit me: there is a lace pattern going into this project whose name includes the maiden name of the mom-to-be. THAT’S why my brain had been so insistent that it had to be in there.

I am marveling at just how slow I was on the uptake.

And typing that, I just pulled out the tape measure: 2.25″. Alright!!



Designed it mentally all the way home
Thursday November 28th 2019, 11:22 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift,Life

Over the river and through the woods and up to the top of the mountains.

Where we saw snow and ice as we turned onto their road and along the switchbacks coming down. Only at the last house, at the bottom of the hill, did it clear up. (Turns out they’d had hail earlier, too.) The redwoods towered over us. We pulled in.

His aunt was hosting.

I like to surprise people, but colors are things people have strong feelings about, so I showed his cousin who grew up in that house the photo I posted here yesterday.

Motherhood had been a long time coming for her and I’ve particularly wanted to celebrate with her and her husband.

She pointed out the lavender and said she really liked that one.

You like lavender?

I love lavender!

I told her I’d put all those others together in part because I only had that much of each–except for the lavender. Colourmart had had a closeout on it (in a different weight, but, same yarn.)

She didn’t quite want to hope out loud for plain lavender until I made it clear that that was totally what it was there for, and then Yes! Please the lavender!

Note that I had certainly not needed more yarn at the time Colourmart had put it on sale this past summer but that color and only that color had felt compelling–that someone was going to need it. It bossed me into it, and when it showed up here there was this unfathomable sense of joy and a certainty of purpose that mystified me because, I mean, it’s just yarn, really; I wanted to know what that purpose was, and why was I so excited about this? Ever since, it’s made me happy every time I see it.

Now I know why.

The mystery that she didn’t have any way to know anything about (and still doesn’t) has been solved for me.

Her baby’s due at the end of January. I need to get a move on.



This old house
Thursday November 07th 2019, 7:47 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift,Life
  1. The new keyboard came.
  2. The old keyboard decided to work again, with just a few keys needing to be typed a little more forcefully.
  3. The one total holdout is the arrow for moving the cursor to the right.
  4. My keyboard refuses to be a Republican. It won’t even curse.
  5. While, on the afghan, I hope to officially hit the halfway mark tonight. I want this one longer than the original so I’m putting in an extra few inches before starting the eagle.
  6. I ended the feather-and-fan part with a purl row this time to emphasize the break between the waves and the hillside rising above the bay.
  7. This is a better combination of needle size and yarn for making that moose.
  8. It finally occurred to me for the first time today that knitted moose are typically found in…Christmas sweaters.
  9. Tough.
  10. I pulled out the finished original afghan and was relieved at how the eagle and snow and mountains rescued it from any singleseasonativity.
  11. Thanks to, he said, the street tree the city planted three feet from the outtake out front, Bernie the plumber came today (this happens about once a year) and it is amazing to be able to run a full load of laundry and not have the sewer back up. Yay Bernie!
  12. And, 12, I have discovered a bug in the update here. If you see numbers 1-12 before each of these, tell me, because on the preview page I don’t but they should be there. And it keeps deleting my title. Let’s see what hitting publish does to it.


He did what I wanted
Monday November 04th 2019, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life

He’s bald and he’d recently had the flu and it’s been as low as 29F at night and he was freezing.

Last week I gave him all five hats and he immediately offered his friend next to him his choice of one. As I had hoped.

Yesterday he confessed that he was down to one, because various friends had liked this one or that one so much so of course they had to have something made with love like that. His eyes pleaded with me to understand, but believe me, I did. I told him, That’s what they’re for!

Not to mention, it’s not like I’m running out of yarn.

I could just picture randomly running into some stranger, recognizing what’s on their head, and going, Oh! You’re I.’s friend! Cool!

(And the potential, ??? Who are you???)



Moose Mountain
Wednesday October 30th 2019, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

I added a 16 stitch repeat to the width? I did? I have to adjust the pattern to match? Good thing I caught that in time. Barely. Here, let’s drop this and this and this stitch down two rows and flip the purls to knits and those knits to purls. Got it.

And on the very row of, I realized that oh wait, when I knitted that first moose I added two stitches’ width between front and back hooves because whoever designed the chart I’m working from clearly had a picture of a moose facing them, whereas I want a side view. Those two stitches (checking the original baby blanket vs the chart) change everything. Also, a muzzle that doesn’t make it look like a deer. Don’t forget that when you get up there.

After putting the second Alaskan afghan project (ie, a washable version) down for two weeks starting with Dad’s funeral, today was the day when I had to make myself sit down and work out exactly what the new layout of pine and moose was going to be across the bottom of the picture because I knew that once I got that done and out of my way the thing would start flying off the needles on its own momentum.

I came so close to merrily hashing it and having to rip out–days’ worth, surely. I caught myself just in time.

And now it’s gone from, why have I only barely started this thing when I’m running out of time if I want to deliver it in person, to, it’s coming along great now. It’s finally hard to put it down. I’ve been waiting for that and needing that and today, this thing’s finally got legs.



Florida native
Friday October 04th 2019, 9:19 pm
Filed under: Family,Food,Knitting a Gift,Life

And…38F again at 7:30 am.

After posting about the cold mornings last night, I finally got up the gumption to go email a friend who’s gone missing. This is someone we’ve had over while finishing up a batch of chocolate level of friend. I told him he had said I didn’t even remember what anymore but that it had left me thinking, This guy needs a hat.

So I’d gone through my small stash of Malabrigo Mecha and knitted him a simple beanie.

Didn’t see him at church the next Sunday, so I thought, good, because sometimes his friend comes too and I wouldn’t want to leave him out. If both come, they both get one, if not, then he gets to choose. Not that anyone’s really going to get excited about thick wool in the heat of the summer.

No sign of either.

I had a good laugh at myself as I went down to Fillory that Friday for my informal knitting group, and this time I went through the skeins, razzing myself that he didn’t come because he was avoiding having to tell me he didn’t like them. This time I was going to get the color right!

Mottled browns, this time in a pattern with more pizzazz.

No sign of him.

And then we went off to Alaska for the new baby and we sure didn’t see him there, either.

I wrote that quick post about our unseasonably cold mornings and then it nagged at me: so, at long last, I sat down and sent him a note. Tossed the idea of any kind of surprise and simply told him the story of the three hats.

I had no idea.

He wrote back that he’d spent the summer out of the country and that he’d just come back Saturday–with a knock-out case of the flu, while home was cold cold cold compared to where he’d been and he was freezing.

I read that and thought, and none of your friends knew to come help.

He ended it with his gratitude that God knew he needed that divine ‘hey you, I know you’re there’ just then.

On a side note but on second thought it was clear it was not, Richard happened to mention this evening the same thing I’d been thinking: we’re overdue to make another batch of chocolate.

I know who could use a bar of the good stuff.

—————-

(Edited to add: After he got home from his ham radio meeting we did indeed get that batch started tonight. For my records, it’s Madagascar 2018 Organic Trinatario-Sambriano Valley from Chocolate Alchemy. The kitchen smells divine.)



Honey, honey, baby
Wednesday October 02nd 2019, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Family,Knit,Knitting a Gift,Life
Lily on our last day in Anchorage

It was some peach baby alpaca spun loosely to keep it as soft as possible, with a bit of bamboo thrown in to keep it together. I saw it at Cottage Yarns in South San Francisco in August and my instant thought was, the Honeyladies owner recovering from being shot at the Gilroy Garlic Festival: she’s a redhead. Surely that would be a great color on her.

So I went home and sat right down and knit it into a cowl and didn’t take a picture yet and then forgot all about it in the drop-everything-and-run-to-Alaska-tomorrow thing after Lily arrived early.

I came home to a spoonful left at the bottom of the first bottle of Poison Oak Blossom.

Trying to avoid more fattening desserts, I’m again dipping a fresh fork in there several times a day. Skip the baklava and go straight to the heart of the thing. It’s less sweet than many types and darkly caramel and thick and lovely, but I’d only bought so many bottles at Andy’s Orchard.

The second one was going down fast. This called for reinforcements.

So after making sure I had the right place, today I went to the Honeyladies’ part-time store and bought a half gallon of the stuff because there is no honey like that honey.

I didn’t quite ask it right and the person who let me in didn’t quite understand why I would be asking so she didn’t get what I was asking and so maybe that was my answer. To, essentially: you guys rescue bees and property owners who suddenly find themselves with an uninvited swarm. Is the Poison Oak Blossom a one-time run and done with the bees now removed from there, or are there honeybees currently employed amongst such?

She answered in terms of seasonality.

That implies repetition from year to year, which is great! But I’ll ask more clearly later to be sure.

I waited till the woman had run my card through before saying I had a get-well card for Wendy.

In yarn. I pulled out the ziplock that had that cowl, said what I’d knitted it out of and wished them all my best.

I’d been a stranger and there’d been just a touch of wariness up till that moment, fully understood because a very different stranger had done them so much ongoing harm and pain.

But in that moment I saw it fall away from her as she looked forward to giving and making someone she cared about happy, just like I’d just gotten to do.

We are all in this life thing together.



Wait. Stop. Look, really look.
Tuesday August 27th 2019, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Family,Knitting a Gift

Here, let me give me a close-up.

Remember when I dug out a long-abandoned scarf project, turned it into the front of a baby dress, extolled the virtues of a stash of UFOs, yadda yadda, and knit the back to match?

Today I went to go put them together.

And suddenly realized why my subconscious had been dragging its feet on getting that done for so long.

Huh. How could…

Well, out of the original 100g skein of yarn on that front I had 54 g left, so, there was nothing for it but to cast on with it and have a do-over.

Maybe that other dress back will morph into something else in its own time, too. Who says hats can’t have seams, right?

Or a really, really full sleeve. (Nahhhh…)

Or something.

Oops.



I ran and did that
Thursday August 22nd 2019, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Friends,Knitting a Gift,Life,LYS

It wasn’t upside down when I took the picture. Nor when I sent it. Again. It’s doing what it wants to do. I think this was Queguay colorway, Malabrigo Mecha, anyway.

See, I knit someone a hat, and looked forward to giving it to him at church.

Didn’t see him. But he’s always there! Nope.

Knit another hat. In case his son visits him again, and you couldn’t leave him out, right?

Didn’t see them.

So last Friday, being at Fillory for the informal knitting group and always feeling like I should buy a skein to pay for my afternoon’s entertainment, I hunched down at the display of Mecha yarn and said a little prayer, a bit of a joke to G_d: See, when I picked out the color he didn’t want to disappoint me so he didn’t come, right? But if I pick out what he wants then he’ll be there, right? So which one should it be?

This skein leaped into my hand. I worked on the afghan while the staff wound it up for me.

Sunday’s coming. It needed to be finished.

I even got the ends run in, just to make sure I don’t get tripped up at the last minute by procrastinating that part.

To be continued.



Moose with dandelion
Wednesday August 21st 2019, 10:11 pm
Filed under: Knit,Knitting a Gift

Not blocked, no daylight for the photo to help the moose show better, and I cast off too loosely in my hurry to finish it tonight and need to go back and tighten that up.

But yes, basically, it’s done and a small part of me cannot comprehend how that could be possible.

It’s either snowing or it’s coming down with chicken pox but I think it’ll do quite nicely.



Climb every mountain
Friday August 16th 2019, 11:04 pm
Filed under: Family,Friends,Knitting a Gift,LYS

Went to Fillory to hang out and knit among friends for awhile and it suddenly hit me that wait–this thing is actually somehow almost done!

It’s taller than wide already. It’s certainly stretchy, but in its relaxed state it’s about 41″ wide, whereas I usually consider 45″ square to be the minimum for a receiving blanket.

I didn’t know when I started it small that I would be able to find more of not only that discontinued yarn but that dye lot–and I had no idea those little 50 gram balls would go as far as they have. But then, this is a much smaller blanket than the monster 1700g Rios one was. It’s for the baby to drag around behind her once she’s walking and to take everywhere she goes, and you don’t want big nor bulky for that.

It is 70/30 baby alpaca/mulberry silk. Super soft, not super practical, and yet it leaped onto my needles that first day and demanded to be for that granddaughter.

One friend held it today and swooned at the softness and totally made it feel like I’d gotten it just right–she had no way to know how much she was helping.

I debated out loud about adding an edging; the consensus was, it’s fine as is, especially for a drag-around lovie.

I’m still torn. Maybe add just at the sides rather than all the way around? Because small as it already is, it’s going to go through the hand wash cycle in their laundry.

Where the baby alpaca will want to shrink the fabric. Whereas the soft single-ply spinning means the 30% mulberry silk will make the yarn want to stretch out, most likely lengthwise. Plus there’s the lace parts, which will flatten out wider and who knows how that’ll come out.

The middle part is knitted mostly solid to give a sense of the immense height of the snowy Alaskan mountains above–but also for there to be no yarnover holes right where it’s most wrapped around that baby in that climate.

Really the only answer is to give it a quick rinse and blocking when the main part is done and see what size it is then and call it from there.

But I’m finally at the point where that is something I get to worry about now and it actually surprised me.

Somehow I am only at the start of the tenth ball and there were twenty-one. If disaster strikes and she needs a new lovie like the old lovie (good luck with that–this was seat-of-the-pants designing all the way) I’ll be able to make one. If I don’t add that edging.

Remind me if that does happen, that on that chart I (mostly) used for the moose, I added a stitch’s width to its muzzle because it looked too deer-like.

I’m pretty happy with this.



The Eagle has landed
Monday August 05th 2019, 10:34 pm
Filed under: Knitting a Gift

I wasn’t about to take a white afghan project to the garage while they worked on the car, so the languishing washable-wool purple baby dress got picked up again and the second side has gone from a few indecipherable rows to wow, that’s looking great.

The new mechanic was delighted at hearing it was for a whole new person about to come into the world and it just made his day. Which totally made mine.

With that sense of accomplishment in hand, after I got home I tackled what I’d been avoiding: I dislike doing exploratory knitting that is not usable for anything afterwards except as ripped-out yarn. I know that sometimes for all the sketching I might try I just have to do it but I fight the impatient sense of wasted knitting every stitch of the way.

I did six iterations of what my soaring eagle should/could look like. I didn’t want the classic simple gull-wing V, I had enough detail in the trees and moose that the eagle deserved the same. Not to mention eagles are big. Scale, we needed scale here.

I went from, that’s what I’d thought I was going to do but I really don’t like that, to, rip, I don’t even want to see it, to, okay, keep that to compare against while I try… To, at long last, as my strip added ever more inches, Oh! Of course! That’s what it needed!

I would not have thought of the final version if I hadn’t seen all the in-betweens.

Which I’ll rip out. Tomorrow. I don’t enjoy that part and I don’t have to yet.