Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Very, Very, Very Rewarding

Christmas was everything the commercials say it should be! Family flew in from Chicago, GKs couldn’t wait to open gifts (had to be subdued with an opening on Christmas Eve), GD#2 watched with me as GD#3 sang and danced across the stage in Chronicles of Narnia, and everyone laughed, talked and ate too much. All fourteen of us took up a row in Church on Christmas Eve for the candlelight service. I love that!! It has become a tradition for all of us to go together. Then we come back to the tree and gifts and resume the eating, laughing and talking, before falling into bed for a long winter’s nap. Probably not too different from thousands of people across the country. It’s the American way.

The photo is of Irish dancer, GD#2 (No. 5 in world competition) in my new Le Slouch. The pattern is by Wendy Bernard. It’s free, and can be found here on Wendy’s blog, Knit and Tonic. She liked the hat so much that I had to knit her one while she was here. Since she is from Chicago, and is a diehard Bears fan, I had to knit the hat in navy and orange, and add a Bears patch from the NFL store.

The Christmas knitting was a success. I’ll post a picture in the next few days of all the men in their Jayne Cobb hats—the hit of the century.

I hope all of you had as wonderful a Christmas as we did! It went by fast, and the New Year is approaching the same way. Soon we will be writing 2007, and the rest will be history. Life is good!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Do You See What I See

I never thought I would see it! When my grandson asked me if I could do illusion knitting, while we were watching Knitty Gritty together one day, I said, “Sure, I can do that—how hard can it be?” Then he told me he would like to have an illusion lizard scarf for Christmas.

I joined the illusion knitting group and asked if anyone knew of a lizard chart. Bless Crystal, who sent me one immediately. However, I found the knitting tedious, due to the small chart. I was going blind counting stitches on the teeny-tiny chart until DH sat down over the weekend and converted it to written instructions. He put everything on an Excel spreadsheet, increased the font to 16 pts, and presented all 14 pages of written pattern to me with a kiss. I love that man! The rest is lizard….
This is what the scarf looks like just hanging around—black and olive stripes. I think it will be a hit with the young man. It was not, however, a knitting hit with me! As I said, I found it mind-numbingly tedious, and when the pattern is finished, straight-stripe knitting is not my idea of scarf knitting. Give me lace, give me seed stitch, or k1, p1 ribs, but straight knitting for 60 inches is worse than ho-hum! I am having to switch knitting sessions with an interesting lacey, skinny scarf for DIL in a chocolate wool with a copper thread running through. I also took time to cast on for the last Jayne Cobb hat in the middle of a l-o-n-g straight-stripe knitting session last night.

I’m beginning to believe that I will finish the Christmas knitting a week early this year. It’s going to happen! Life is good—and Christmas is magic.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Just Sayin....

I received a nice complement on another blog a few days ago. Someone wrote that my bind off on the “Fetching” mitts was very “neat.” I looked at the picture again and considered why it looks so neat. And so ensues yet another of my off-the-wall theories, and even more off-the-wall advice.

When the pattern says, “Bind off in pattern,” as this pattern does, I mostly ignore those instructions—across the board! I did try to bind off in the rib pattern, and it didn’t look right to me. Due to the comment about the bind off being “neat,” I realized that there are two ways to look at this subject:

Whenever I want the pattern carried all the way to the end of the knitting so it is decorative, I bind off in pattern. But when I want a nice clean line that doesn’t wave, curl, or generally get in the way, I bind off straight as I did with “Fetching.”

Another tip I might share is always use a size larger needle to bind off. Then there is no tight edge to your mitts, or hat, or whatever. I also cast on with a size larger needle to give stretch to the edge. Just sayin….

I can’t stop without sharing my latest FO’s which are, or course, TA-DA—hats. Am I in a rut, or what? These are legal though—I said I wasn’t going to make any more hats for me. These are Christmas gifts, so they don’t count among the umpteen thousand I have made for my finally-growing-hair head.

I made the green hat using the old standard Jayne Cobb pattern. I am also making four in the original orange-beige-burgundy Jayne hat colors. I will package them with a card bearing the quote from Wash in Firefly, “A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he’s not afraid of anything.” Can’t wait to see the reactions on Christmas morning!

And, so goes the knitting. I plan to make more frequent postings a New Year’s resolution. I hope it goes better than most of my resolutions go!