Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Enough of Christmas!

There has been plenty of knitting throughout the past week. The cardigan is making good progress. The back is finished and I’m past the armhole shaping and into the collar and v-neck shaping on the left side.

Drops 123_1.2 I was a little worried, when wrapping it around myself, that it might just be a little too small, but it shouldn’t be. I’d hate to put all this work into it and discover that it doesn’t fit as I expected it to. When I hold the sides and hold it to myself, it does fit just fine. I should stop worrying, right?

Yesterday, I went through my unfinished projects and came across this one, Western Seas, an Alice Starmore pattern that I started a long time ago. It was 3/4 finished, but I had no idea where I was in the pattern, so I frogged it. And, obviously, restarted it. The one thing I do know is that it was the smallest size in the pattern. This time, I’m making the 4-5 year size, guaranteeing it will fit one or more of the grandsons for quite some time. I know I’ve been ignoring the cardigan, but I’m very much enjoying the knitting of this little sweater. I’m now thinking of making a few more of these and, eventually, sending them out to the grandkids.


The sweater is a simple gansey, worked in the traditional style, from the bottom up, with a split welt (waistband). I’m working it in a sock yarn on 3.0 mm needles and it’s working up very quickly, considering that I’ve had nothing but time on my hands this week. Even now, I’m inches further than the picture show; I’m now up to the start of the underarm gusset shaping.

I’ve also been playing some more with double knitting. I bought a pattern online for a pair of double knitting mittens, and have started them… twice so far.

001 002

As pretty as it is, I’m afraid I’ll have to frog it. As a matter of fact, I’ll have to turn my back on this technique. Because I’m using 2.0 mm needles (I could and may try using slightly larger needles) and using both hands, holding one strand in each hand, it has been really hard on my thumb. It’s been so hard on my thumb that I’ve had to use a tensor bandage (I use the brace, too, but this time the tensor felt better) and Naproxen. Proving to myself that I can do this technique effectively is not worth the pain. For that reason alone, I’ll be frogging this mitten and putting it away for now.

Luckily, knitting English style (throwing vs picking) is much less painful so I can still knit. And, as you can see, I have plenty to work on. One less project will not be missed. :)

Christmas Reflections

After I’d posted yesterday’s post, I read it aloud to John and he asked me, “Why isn’t Christmas your favourite time of the year?” We chatted a bit about that and I came to the realization that it isn’t so much the fact that it’s become so commercialized, although that has a lot to do with it.

It comes down to “hafta” and “wanna”. There are so many expectations on people at this time of year: you have to get together with family, you have to go to church on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas morning, you have to buy presents, you have to send cards, you have to plan a dinner, you have to… fill in your own “haftas”. That’s what makes me crazy and makes me want to say, “No, I don’t have to!”

This Christmas was about “wanna”. I wanted to bake buns and treats to give to my neighbours and co-workers. I wanted to send cards; I wanted to MAKE those cards. I wanted to have a nice quiet day with my husband. I didn’t want to visit friends, make a lot of phone calls (I did call my mother) or do anything out of obligation.

Yes, it would have been nice to have family around, but that brings along with it a lot of “haftas” of it’s own. If there are grandchildren around, I’d feel obligated to buy gifts. If there was family coming over, we’d be obligated to spend a lot more time in the kitchen and less time with our guests. All of a sudden, you’re caught up in the “haftas” and you’ve lost the “wannas”.

Christmas should never make you feel obligated to do something you don’t really want to do. It should be a time of “Peace on Earth, goodwill towards all people”; how can you have that kind of sentiment when you’re feeling pressured with the “haftas” and resenting every moment of it?

I’ve just now realized that my gift to myself this year was the best one I could have given… the gift of “want to”, not “have to”. For the first time in a very long time, I’m coming out of the Christmas season feeling much more relaxed and peaceful than I have in a very long time. Isn’t that what it’s all about?


Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas is over for another year; there’s just New Year’s Eve to get through now. That makes it sound like it’s something to be endured, doesn’t it? I don’t mean it that way, but I’ll be honest, this isn’t my favourite time of the year.

That said, this Christmas has been a quiet one, relaxing and peaceful. Allow me to share a few images from Christmas here, Chez Skae.

bunsI baked on Christmas Eve. The buns were shared with our neighbours; we kept a half dozen and each of the other three tenants received a half dozen. One neighbour, on hearing that I’d made them, commented that they even looked like “real dinner buns”! Another neighbour simply salivated!

xmas walk The weather was gorgeous, hovering around freezing, but sunny. it was perfect for a nice, long walk while the turkey was cooking. We walked for about an hour and a half. By the time we were headed back home, this is sort of how we felt…

snowmen…A little tired, but happy.

xmas dinnerAnd then, we feasted. Amazingly, even after that long walk and working up an appetite, neither of us could eat even half of what was on our plates. We’ll be eating turkey for weeks to come!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Milestone Reached!

The cardigan is moving along very nicely, thank you for asking! This weekend, I reached a milestone in the knitting of this cardi. I’m past the armholes! That’s exciting. Well, it’s exciting to ME! It means that I’m about halfway through this project.

002 I’m really enjoying this yarn. To refresh your memory, it’s KnitPicks Gloss, a combination of wool and silk. You can see some of the sheen of the silk in the picture above. And, the yarn is as nice to touch as it sounds. I think I’ll get plenty of wear out of this cardigan.

Incidentally, now that I’m at this stage and the stitches for the left and right fronts are on cables, I can tell that it will fit comfortably. I always worry about that.

With Christmas being just a few days away, and the neighbourhood decorated as most neighbourhoods are, I decided to mount my camera on a tripod last night and head outdoors to experiment. Keep in mind, this is just a little camera, a point & shoot.

This is what my street looked like last night…

If I don’t blog before the big day, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas (or whatever it is you celebrate) and a prosperous and happy 2011, filled with friends, family and all the good things life has to offer.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

One More FO… just a little one

The snowy weather we’ve had over the last couple of weeks have definitely inspired me to knit cold weather accessories. Last Sunday, I cast on for another hat, for myself. It was finished on Tuesday; it could have been finished on Monday, but my thumb has been acting up again.

001The pattern is “A Better Bucket” by Amy Swenson (available here). I used the Cascade 220 wool that I’d bought for the Harmonia Rings cowl that I made a few weeks ago. It’s a cute hat. It just doesn’t look cute on me. I had hoped that the brim would flare out a little more than it does. Oh well, it will look good on someone, I’m sure, so it will be going into the giveaway box.

I did see on Ravelry that many knitters have knit this hat using modifications designed by a specific knitter (Solaris, mods here). Apparently, she’s redesigned the brim to be more flared. I might just try knitting the hat again using the modifications, if I can decide on a yarn.

In the meantime, I’m going to try working on my cardigan this weekend. With all of the moving things around at work this week, my thumb and wrist have been annoyingly painful, so the only knitting I’ve been working on has been small projects. Or reading.

Speaking of work, we’re going through some major changes at the print shop. Almost all of the production (presses, cutter, stuff like that) has been moved to our other location. We’ve dramatically downsized the storefront, keeping only the customer service, graphics, copying and some bindery (my department). It has meant a lot of moving things around, a lot of accumulated dust (they’ve been in that location for almost 25 years!) and still trying to get work done. It’s no wonder my hand has been hurting!

Sunday, December 05, 2010

It’s All About the Little Things


There are just some things that give you pleasure far beyond the effort they take to get done. That door handle is one of them. A couple of weeks ago, our bedroom door handle came apart; we’ve not had a door handle since. Earlier this week, we came across a spare door handle at work and my boss was about to throw it out but gave it to me instead after I told him we needed one.

The type used in the directions was a little too small for John to read comfortably so he didn’t even try to tackle the installation. I was going to do it yesterday, but the hole in the door was too short. I told John late yesterday that he had to enlarge the hole and I’d install the handle. He had until 10 a.m. this morning. A few minutes later, it was installed and I’m feeling very proud of myself!

There’s another little thing that gave me a lot of pleasure and will continue to give me pleasure, hopefully, for many winters to come.


The gloves are the Knotty gloves I made last winter. Last week, while perusing patterns on Ravelry, I re-discovered this hat pattern, the Knotty But Nice hat, available through Knitty. You can find it here. I picked up the yarn earlier this week; it’s Cascade 220. I cast on yesterday and just finished it within the last half hour.

Some of the comments on Ravelry stated that the cabled section should be worked on larger needles than called for. Some said the hat was too small or too tight to be comfortable. I was a little concerned but knitted the hat pretty much as written. The only very small change I made was to use a smaller needle (4.0 mm) for the first inch of ribbing, then switched to the called-for 4.5 mm needle for the remainder of the hat. I also made sure I worked the cabled section loosely. The hat fits perfectly, even slightly loose. I love it. And I love the fact that it matches the gloves perfectly.

007  And… just to show you that there truly is progress being made on my cardigan. I’m into the waist shaping now and it’s mostly stocking stitch now rather than the never-ending ribbing.

John’s outside putting out some Christmas lights and I’m planning to bake some cookies… after I put the dishes away. Then, I might even address some Christmas cards. Maybe.