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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Veni, Vidi, Steeki.

My friends, I hope you had a wonderful holiday.  Are you still recuperating?  I feel like I am!

We had a blast, ate dinner at my sister's house, and it was my parents first Christmas in Chapel Hill, and my daughter's first Christmas, too.  A couple of very nice firsts. 

Another first?  A knitting first for me? 

I steeked.

Having a moment of cold feet here....

Those knitting writers weren't kidding when they talked about having a stiff one or lying down after cutting your knitting.  I didn't exactly have a lie down, but I definitely experienced an adrenaline buzz akin to how you feel directly after riding a roller coaster.  I may have terminal dorkiness, since I would get that systemically affected by yarn. 

It was really nice to steek for the first time at Yarns Etc.  There were several knitters sitting there, it felt somewhat like group therapy.  "We're all going to get through this together, Erin."  "Deep breaths, honey, almost there."  But you know what?  The cut knitting behaved exactly as I'd been promised it would.  It didn't ravel, thanks to some hand stitching I'd done around the basting/cutting line.  The whole thing did not frog itself, and I ended up with a really pretty nice sweater (if I do say so myself).

Elizabeth Zimmermann's Ski Pattern Sampler Sweater.  The wool is Lopi.  My husband is a lucky man.
While I was at the yarn store, I noticed many pretty items that weren't necessarily yarn, but were great when used in conjunction with yarn and knitting (or crocheting).  Have you seen the great selection of buttons? 

Or the ribbons?  Ribbon can look so beautiful laced through evenly spaced holes in a knit, along the hem, at the waist, even at the wrists or laced through a set of arm warmers, perhaps, reminiscent of the lacing on old-time clothing?

These gorgeous colors on the silk ribbon look especially fine.
Sometimes a little something extra can just bring out a hand knit, take it to the next level, as it were. 
And sometimes the something extra is just a gorgeous little runner like this:

Or you could try something like this fantastically unique yarn here:

This is made by Prism, and I believe the yarn is called "Stuff". 

And I fell completely in love with these adorable little measuring tapes. 

Lookit!  A ducky!

I saw a few nice husbands walk into the store back on Thursday, asking for yarn for their spouses for Christmas.  If you received such a gift, lucky you (I made sure my present was yarn!  Lucky me!), and you can come on in to get the little extras you need to make your hand knit shine.  

Monday, December 19, 2011

I'm Not Running The Show

It seems that this week has been one where I learn (repeatedly) that I am not the captain of my destiny...well, not as much as I would like.  Maybe I'm the assistant key grip or something. 

My first clue?  That would have been in the middle of my knitting crunch time.  I had five days to make two pairs of arm warmers for my son's preschool teachers.  They are fabulous ladies, and I was knitting them the uber-stylish Lovisa Arm Warmers, and I even had alllll the yarn I needed from my own stash.  I had oceans of time in which to knit these.  The first one was done by the evening, and I cast on the second one right away.  I was using two different brands of yarn, but they were both the same weight (their differing behavior when they got washed alarmed me briefly).  They also had what appeared to be the amount of wool required to knit the pattern.  I was going to rock this challenge.  But it was not to be so.  Oh no. 

The first arm warmer was fine, and then I had that lovely sinking sensation as I went through the second one.  You know what I mean?  At first you're like, "hmmm, seems like less than half a ball of yarn here.  Oh well, I'm sure I'll have enough."  and you knit on.  Then, you look again and say to yourself "Um, I think it's looking really thin there on that ball..." and you begin to worry, but you keep knitting.  Then you get to the point where it is SO obvious you were in knitting denial, there wasn't a snowflake's chance of making it through without cannibalizing the first arm warmer to finish the second one.  I also set about making some modifications to make the yarn stretch, as I only had one ball of this particular yarn (Jo Sharp DK Merino, in the shade "teal", partnered with Debbie Bliss Merino in a cream color). 

I finished the pair, and went to wash them.  The second they hit the water and I saw them side by side, the urge to whack my forehead repeatedly with the palm of my hand was almost more than I could bear.   My friends, since I had "modified" the second one, it was decidedly....well, look:

Waaah waaaah waaaaaaaaaaaah.

Note to self:  When you modify one, you must modify the other one.  It does not make me feel too good about my brain power that I was as surprised as I was when I looked at them side by side in the soapy sink water.  And guess what?  I still ran out of blue yarn!!!  More modifications to come, obviously.   

I did have some measure of success with the Lovisa Arm Warmer pattern, however:

This was made with some Berroco merino/silk blend I had laying around, and I found a fantastic couple of buttons to finish it out.

I love these so much I think it will be painful to part with them come Christmas. 

Another sign I was not running the universe came about two days ago:

It's sort of hard to see what's going on there, so I took a better shot.  Here:

That is a bajillion gallons of water streaming up from under the road near our home, creating a lot of scrambling for pots and buckets to fill up before all the water was shut off.  In my house, and everyone else in the neighborhood.  For almost 36 hours.  With two kids.  Oh yeah, definitely was not feeling in control there.  But look, here is another finished project:

This is the Hurricane Hat, which made me be able to hold my own at a party where there was some serious Secret Santa action going on.  Made from gorgeous Malabrigo in the much-loved color Azul Profundo. 

I'm cranking out the knits, still psyching myself up for the Steek-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, not to mention a shawl or two, a scarf or two, and another hurricane hat as well as yet another two batches of arm warmers. 

I (most likely) am not going to get everything done on my to-do list in time for Christmas, but I am sure going to enjoy it, especially since I have lots of knits to work on, running water, and this:

Have a very merry!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, or Solstice, or winter, or that you need another excuse to hit up the knitting store.  In which case I am happy to oblige you!

A Pretty Picture Window at Great Yarns....
It's a few short days until the gift giving season is unleashed upon us, knitters, crocheters, weavers, and appreciators alike.  How are you holding up?  Are you trying to think up one last gift?  Or perhaps, twelve?  Fear not, here are some possible ideas....

Perhaps a fun little scarflette in a snazzy yarn?

A snuggly cowl made with nubby yarn on big needles? 

Everyone loves hats, you know.  Tams, cloches, berets, beanies, yarmulkes, whatever!

A wee cape to warm the shoulders of a loved one?

If you crochet, you'd be amazed how quickly you can crank out a gorgeous scarf like this one....

And Yarns Etc and Great Yarns also have thoughtfully put together kits for fantastic fingerless mitts.

You can't go wrong here, folks.  I bet you need at least one more thing from your friendly neighborhood local yarn store.  

Including having a bit of fun with your fellow knitters/crocheters!

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