Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Knitting New Year

In 2008, I knit:

1 sweater (Ravelry link)
8 pair of socks
8 scarves
1 major lace piece
1 pair of mittens
1 hat

Production really took a dive this year. I blame it on the major sweater, employment, and general laziness. Time spent on Ravelry had nothing to do with it. (uh huh)

My 2009 knitting resolutions (goals):
2 sweaters
12 pair of socks
1 major lace piece
assorted other stuff as the whim strikes

The one things I really achieved in 2008 was widening my circle of knitting friends to include more local friends. I'm really happy I've gotten to know Janice, Diane, Sandra, and many others.

I enjoy knitting things for others and I've got a few things up my sleeve for that, but I want to make sure this year I do some selfish knitting, meaning keep a few things. (Don't worry Tracy, there'll be plenty for you to claim). I've got a major knit brewing for Grace, and I'm due to start a sweater for myself soon (hurry Priority Mail!!).

Here's hoping the new year will be a productive one, full of projects, yarn, and lots of friends. Happy New Year!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Filling in the Blanks

I got the idea for the sweater I knit Mom for Christmas way back when I saw the Spring/Summer issue of Vogue Knitting. A Kaffe Fassett floral cardigan, fitted with 3/4 length sleeves. It was made from Rowan Pure Wool DK.

I started to look around for the yarn. Not available in Fresno at the time, so I looked around on the internet, and found some of the 8 colors at one place, some at another. I ordered what I could, but I couldn't find the background color, shamrock, and two of the others. Article Pract in Oakland would order it for me, but then I'd have to ship it here. I didn't want to switch yarns, because part of the appeal was the interplay of the colors, and I didn't want to mess that up.

Then Swatches opened, and Fran carried Rowan! I quickly made my way there and she had black in stock that I could use as the blackground (better than Shamrock's goofy green anyway) and she could order the other colors. She initially forgot to place the order, but after two weeks it was placed, and took another week or so to arrive.

That took me to October. Still plenty of time, right? Meanwhile, I was looking at the pattern, and decided that a wool cardigan that clearly was outerwear should not have 3/4 length sleeves. Oh, I can do that, no sweat. And didn't really want it fitted, looser fit better. Okay, no problem. The rest would be easy. Just follow the pattern.

Then the yarn came and I started to swatch. I've done color work before, mittens, socks, no problem. Flat colorwork, with color changes every row, sometimes with more than two colors a row? Purling with two colors was complicated, and you couldn't see if you were going according to the pattern. Hmm, what if I knit it in the round, and steeked the front? Never done that before, but it might be easier....

So I did all the math and wrapped my brain around connecting the pieces and knit it as a single tube. I looked up and read all the steek info I could find on ravelry and the internet, and plunged ahead. It went fine, until the armholes, when I had to once again think it through, and the same with the neckline. Meg from Ancient Pathways gave her advice, and I was cheered on by Janice, Tracy, Diane, and several in-progress comments from Ravelry people, some I knew, and some I didn't.

I sewed and cut the steeks on December 15. That part was fun, kind of like daredevil knitting. I trust my sewing machine, so I really wasn't scared, and it was fun to see it start to resemble a sweater. I knit the bands on the fronts and neck, sewed up the hems, and meanwhile, had to figure out the sleeves.

Time was running out, and Janice suggested doing the sleeves solid black. Splendid idea, except I knew I didn't have enough black yarn for that. Quickly ordered more, priority mail (love priority mail-- 4 days from New Hampshire!) and decided to do a band of pattern at the cuffs, which I had to do more math to lengthen. A little marathon knitting, and on December 23, the sleeves were sewn in and it was done!!

A date with the steam iron, and we have a sweater folks!

Here's what I learned--
*steeks-front, armhole, neckline
*converting from flat to round (both body of sweater and sleeves)
*how to lengthen sleeves based on arm measurements (mine), row gauge, and a bunch of math
*pick up stitches and knit front bands
*Jingle Bell stitch markers are festive, but noisy in some emergency knitting places
*A pattern is only a suggestion
*Kaffe Fassett probably did not knit this sweater or he would have done it my way
*Start Christmas knitting earlier

Would I do it again? Maybe. It turned out nicely when all was said and done. It was dicey at times, but isn't all Christmas deadline knitting?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Quick note before the craziness of Christmas Morning starts (9 minutes from now):

Mom loved her gift-
Carey loved hers - a scarf but no photo yet

Hopefully Jean got hers too - I'll keep that quiet for a little longer.

I'll do a major post about the cardigan, I've been silent and it's been driving me crazy. It was my most wild "adventure in yarn" up to this point, so stay tuned.

Until then, Merry Christmas! May the peace of Christ be with you all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Computer Safety

Hello, it's me...the kinda-sorta tech girl of the blog. Emily's the name, in case you forgot.

Now normally I don't post on my mother's blog, except on occasion, like when I'm alerting you all of a new overhead banner. Which, by the way, looks rather festive, don't you think? I admit it's not my best work; it was a...rushed project. Yeah, that's it. Anyway, I stumbled across something interesting and I feel like I should share it with you. So I will.

Earlier this fine Tuesday, a major bug was found in Internet Explorer.
It affects all versions, even the shiny new IE8 (Internet Explorer 8). To generalize, this little hole in the system allows criminals to steal your passwords and take over your computer. Which is not peoples' idea of a fun time. Microsoft is working on fixing it, but basically, you're at risk. Internet Explorer is one of the biggest browsers used today. Even Microsoft admitted it!

If you do use Internet Explorer, switch to another browser. Even before this bug, IE has been a pretty sorry excuse for a browser. If you've ever had to sit through a dozen "Not Responding" windows, you know what I mean. Personally, I find IE to be a drag, but yet I've been using it for ages. I think everyone's just so accustomed to it that they're frightened of trying out another program. I can imagine you right now, sitting there, fretting. All your passwords! All your bookmarks! Your homepages! Yes, it is a tedious thing, changing browsers. BUT IT'S TOTALLY WORTH IT!

Right now I'm on Firefox. Firefox is great. End of story. Nah, not the end of story. I still have to rant on why it's so great! :)

  • This bug is not found on Firefox.
  • Firefox is compatible with just about anything and everything Internet Explorer is. This means you can still download your toolbars! Yay toolbars!
  • Automatic spell checking. This is right up there with sliced bread.
  • Built-in pop-up blocker
  • Most importantly, Firefox is SO. MUCH. FASTER.
Seriously, I think you could spend days waiting for Internet Explorer to boot up. And have you ever noticed that when you open several tabs in a window, it gets even slower? I certainly have. So please, for your computer's health and your own mental health, download Mozilla Firefox.

Download it here. It's free! (And no, I'm not secretly working for Mozilla. I'm just a supporter.) Thank you for reading my small but informational piece of writing.