21 December 2005

snow and knitting go together

I have pictures of what I've been up to since my last post. Knitting, knitting and more knitting.
I knitted some bath puffs out of cotton chenille for my girlfriends and was in such a hurry to send them off that I forgot to take a picture. They turned out really cute and just when I finished them, my yarn order finally arrived on Friday so I've been knitting my dad's scarf like crazy. Every spare moment I was knitting and I finally finished it last night. When I got up this morning my first thought was that I didn't have to knit that scarf today and I was thrilled! I have so many other Christmasy things I want to get done and now I can because the scarf is no longer consuming me. Part of the reason I was able to finish so quickly (really in 3 days because I didn't knit Monday because I went and saw U2 on their final show of the tour!!!) was that it snowed on Sunday! I got sent home 3 hours early from work and went in 2 hours late on Monday because it was icy so I had more time to knit. Portland doesn't usually get snow so the city kind of freaks out. My dog had never seen snow and he went nuts! He ran around like a crazy possessed dog and scooped up lots of snow in his mouth. Here's a picture of us in my snowy backyard. So my dad's scarf is knitted out of Knit Picks Andean Treasure. It's 100% baby alpaca in the color Granite and it's so soft! I love it. If it weren't such a boring, masculine color, I would be tempted to keep it for myself. I don't think any of my pictures captured the true color. It's a pretty medium shade of brown mixed with a little grey. I think my dad will like it. I knit three braided cable patterns with a seed stitch border. My original plan was to knit a complex celtic braid since my dad is Irish and loves all things Celtic but that was before the yarn took so long to arrive. Since I was running out of time to knit, I realized I needed a simpler pattern that wouldn't take so much brain work to knit. So this is what I settled on. Before I blocked it, the seed stitch edges curled in.But after blocking, it looks great. I woke up this morning and it was actually dry. I was hoping that it wouldn't take forever to dry as I only have a few days to get it in the mail but all it took was one night. I love this yarn!
I made Mike model it to see how long it turned out. Notice his cute grey hat knitted by me a few years ago. It's the only hat he wears. I'm such a good knitty wife. Did you notice his arm in the picture above? That's his flame sweater he's wearing! Here's one last picture of my dad's scarf. This shows the back, too. This pattern makes me think of the forest and I think the back looks like tree bark, althoughit's kind of hard to see in this picture. I hope all of you have a great Christmas and a happy new year! I don't know if I'll post again until the new year as I'm going to California to hand out some lovely knitted gifts to the family!

15 December 2005

Another finished gift!

I am on a roll. Christmas is almost here and my presents are almost all done! Well, except for the scarf I haven't started yet because the yarn is taking forever to get here. My most recent finished project is a scarf for Margitha, my stepmom. This is the scarf that started out as gloves and then briefly was the ruffles scarf from Scarf Style but now it's a lace pattern with beads. The beads are little pale pink leaves. I finished sewing them on earlier this week and I just wrapped it all up today.
The yarn I used was Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino. I used exactly 2 skeins and the finished size after blocking is just over 6" wide and 4' 5" long. I don't remember what size needles I used. I took it off the needles a while ago. 6's maybe?
I didn't use any particular pattern. It's just a simple lace pattern. The two panels on the sides are slightly narrower than the middle panels to give it a little variation. I hope Margitha likes it!

Several people have commented on my little stocking Christmas ornament that has the dtar of David on it. It's for my friend David who is Christian but since his name is David, he likes the star of David a lot.

13 December 2005


I ordered some yarn from Knit Picks over a week ago and it's not here yet. It's yarn that I want to use to knit my dad a scarf for Christmas. My dad lives in LA so I have to mail it and I am starting to run out of time! I didn't really think about this when I ordered the yarn or I would have had it shipped the quicker (more expensive) way. Now I don't want to go out and buy yarn, start the scarf and then have my knit picks yarn arrive the next day so I'm in kind of a bind. So, yesterday, I decided to call knit picks and ask them for the tracking number for my package so I could see where it is and maybe gauge when it might get here. Here is my conversation:

Millie: Hi, this is Millie. I can answer your questions regarding blah blah, blah blah, or knit picks orders.
Me: I have a question about my knit picks order.
Millie: Do you have the order.
Me: No, but I have my order number. (I tell her the number and she verifies who I am.) I haven't received my order yet and I'm wondering if I could get a tracking number for the package so I can see where it is.
Millie: I know you're anxious to get it, dear. We say that it should arrive in 5-14 days so it's a little soon to be worried.
Me: I understand. I'm not worried but it's been over a week and I would just like a tracking number. I'm just curious where it is.
Millie: Dear, I know things never come as quickly as we would like them to but you just need to be patient. It will get to you. I could track it but it would just say "in route" and that wouldn't tell you anything. We say it takes 5-14 days so give it some more time, dear.

At this point, I give up because I'm at work and am really not supposed to be on the phone so I can't take any more time to squeeze the tracking number out of Millie. The damn woman has it but won't give it to me!

Today, I asked my husband to call again on my behalf. Hey, my name is gender neutral, he could be Casey. I came home and he said that his conversation went something like this:

Mike: I'm wondering if I could get the tracking number so I could find out where the package is.
Someone other than Millie: Sure, I can look that up for you. . . . It is in Kent, WA but it hasn't reached the post office yet so it probably won't leave Kent until tomorrow.
Mike: Could you tell me the number so I could look it up on my own?
Someone other than Millie: Sure, it's blah, blah, blah.

Why do companies employ super UNhelpful people like Millie? It seems like I always get the Millies of the world. It was nice to find out where my package is and getting the number would be nice if it worked for anything. I can't actually use it to track my package, but giving it to me was a nice gesture, I guess. Hopefully it won't take another week to get here from WA and I hope your holiday odering is going well!

09 December 2005

I am a Christmas elf

Really, I am. All I need now are little slippers with the toes curled up. I have been a busy Christmas knitter and it's been fun. I started knitting tiny sweaters and stockings for Christmas ornaments and I think I'm addicted. After all my bigger projects, it's really great to knit something that I can finish in an hour. They're really fun to decorate and personalize, too. The books Weekend Knitting and Last-Minute Knitted Gifts both have mini sweater patterns but since I don't have either of those books, I just made up my own. If anyone is interested in knowing how I made them, let me know. Here are what I've made so far.

I'm going to use them as decorations on my Christmas packages and I think my family will be impressed. This way, everyone will get something knitted. It is going to be a knitted Christmas for my family. Here are my mother-in-law's socks all wrapped up and pretty.

I also made a label for my mom's gyrid top. (This is the last picture you'll see of this top. Well . . . unless I get a picture of my mom wearing it) I used iron-on transfer paper and ironed it onto a ribbon. It turned out really professional looking, if I do say so myself. I even tried it on and I couldn't feel it at all. No scratchy label for my mama.

07 December 2005

Flames are done and the tree is up

We got our Christmas tree on Monday! It was muddy and cold but I loved getting the tree. This is our first Christmas in our own home and that is really exciting. We have big windows in the front of our house and the tree is going in front of them so we had to find a tree that looked good from all sides. This year, there is no wall to put the "ugly side" against. We found a really good tree and Mike cut it down. After all his hard work, I thought he deserved nothing less than a nice, warm sweater. Before I show you the sweater, though, here's a cute dog shot. This is Bradley supervising the placement of the tree on the roof rack. Here is it! I thought I would never finish, but I did and Mike loves it (as he should). The tree only has light on it because I was getting tired but I wanted to finish the sweater so we didn't decorate the tree. Hopefully it'll get some ornaments on it tonight. I don't think Mike will usually wear a nice collared shirt under this sweater (they don't quite go together) but I made him try it on over his work clothes. Here are the specs:

Pattern: Jesse's Flames from Stitch 'N Bitch Nation
Yarn: Lions Brand Wool-ease. Not my favorite yarn but the sweater is soft and arm and Mike likes it. What more do I need?
Changes I made: A lot. My guage was really different than the pattern. Luckily I like math so it all worked out. I made it a little longer because Mike wanted it that way and left out the red stripes around the cuffs and neckband because, again, Mike wanted it that way. He really wanted the yellow edging around the flames that the sweater had but when I started duplicate stitching it on, we both agreed that it looked really sloppy. It wasnt my fault (really!), it's just that the yellow didn't cover the black very well so it didn't look crisp and nice at all. Looking closely at the picture in the book, you can tell it looks kind of sloppy there, too. That's not a good sign. Mike was disappointed about not having the yellow but I think he's over it now. If you're thinking of making this, I recommend knitting the yellow in intarsia even though it's only one stitch wide. You'll appreciate it when it's done.
What I learned: How to do intarsia! And that it's not hard! Although I think that more colors would challenge my coordination. I also have come to the conclusion that neckbands suck. I have never knitted one right the first time and this was no exception. Maybe someday I'll get one right on the first try. I also learned that knitting something as complicated as a sweater for a man is really interesting. I loved knitting for Mike but the next thing he's getting is a smaller project.

04 December 2005

knitting for men

I was seaming my (Mike's) flame sweater lastnight and feeling unappreciated. Since I've started seaming it, I've made Mike try it on several times to make sure it's fitting right, the sleeves are long enough, etc. When I ask him to try it on he kind of grumbles and then once it's on, while I'm marveling at it's great fit and my amazing knitting skills, he jokes about it being in tatters and talkes about all the strings hanging off it. I was starting to feel unappreciated because he hasn't said anything like "it looks great" or "it seems to fit really well".

Then I realized I am being stupid. It's not that he doesn't appreciate all my work, he just has never had any doubt that it's going to be great. He figures that if I'm knitting it for him, it's going to fit him and look awesome. I really should just shut up and be flattered that he thinks my knitting is that great. He has none of the paranoia that I, the knitter, have that it's not going to turn out well. And, to top that off, he constantly says that he wants me to finish it so he can wear it on Halloween/Thanksgiving/to church/to the party this weekend, blah, blah, blah. You would think the fact that he is so eager to wear it and really wants me to finish it would be all I needed to feel appreciated.

So, as of now I am going to stop coaxing the "yes, Casey, I really like it" comments out of him and let him show me that he likes it in his own way. Why do I sometimes make things more complicated than they need to be? I am going to finish the sweater tonight. I'm close, really. Just seaming the sleeves and knitting the neckband. Stay tuned for the picture . . .