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November 2004
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January 2005

Good 2B Home

I know that Carolina house I lived in for 13 years straight is as much home as this one I've inhabited for a decade, but I'm still glad to be back, with a kitty in my lap, a newly-refilled fridge, and a computer that works (albeit slowly, over dial-up). We had a good five days in the Green City. Brotherman liked his scarf; I did manage to crank out one more scarf for the sweet hostess, which she immediately donned; Sarah's mittens fit perfectly (and I'll post the now-finished Nakiska to match tomorrow, which may or may not fit).

I also finished my mother's shawl (but forgot to take my camera along to document, darn it). Her comments were typically priceless. On the scarf as it sat piled, nearing completion: It looks like a poodle. On the lacy blocked scarf: Even will all these holes, I think it will be warm.  I made one mistake I didn't see until the blocking, a dropped stitch that creates an even bigger hole, but it will be against her back, so she won't be able to dwell on it. For the record, I knit one reverse stst row to keep the top edge from rolling, then bound off in knit, keeping the US10s loosey goosey. I rinsed it with a bit of  baby shampoo then stretched it out atop a cotton sheet on the carpet in a spare bedroom. I had niether wires nor pins, and fared fine without. Indeed, it did grow, but I think it's lovely. I told her to think of it as a hug from me ~

And then I started Clapotis. More fine alpaca, this to wrap around me. I'll share a progress shot when I get to drop that first stitch!


Two years late

Last night I finished stitching another gift, but not one for Christmas. Nor is it for one party's approaching birthday. Two years and seven weeks late, this is Lanier and Jamie's wedding pillow:

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I received word of their engagement via email when I was in China becoming a mother: my gal Lanier had her own major life change in store ~ set for noon on the day after my work's annual conference and gala, five months later. I spent those months learning to juggle parenthood and career, taking Wee C on her first weekend getaway, saying good-bye to a cherished pet ~ and unable to properly acknowledge this significant event in my oldest girlfriend's life by hosting a party, attending a luncheon, writing a poem or even making a toast. I was relieved that I made it to the church on time, given my particular circumstances, but the lack of appropriate gesture continued to bother me. A few months back I finally got her to hand over some fabric scraps that I could combine with the transfers I'd already made; a few weeks back I added the braid and fringe to the supplies, and got started. The vintage pix are an odd sampling, but I didn't want to feature myself, and most of my stock shows us as equals. Here, in the upper right, you can't really tell that I'm the witch in costume (nor even see Brotherman as ghost); I cut myself out of the caroling shot at top left. Too, I may have been avoiding commiting 1970s fashions to fabric! Here's a close-up if you'd like to see the bit o'bead embellishment.

It's just occurred to me that I need to knit something for the lovely hostess who invited us to Thanksgiving dinner and whose home we'll visit again on Christmas night, for the third year running. Must be the Harlot's influence; I'm sure there's plenty of time. I know already that will be a moment when I'll really miss my dad. I often disdained his cultivation of friendships with folks much younger than he (in this couple, the husband is my brother's classmate and friend; the wife worked at some point in my dad's office), but at his death I saw how much these people really loved him. Never mind that I haven't yet completed Mom's shawl, and am knitting Nakiska at my office desk. There's stash a-plenty ~ I'll let you know what I come up with. Meanwhile, joyous holidays to all, as we're off to Carolina in the morning!


Mittens, done

Skimits These are not the mittens I knit for Sarah, nor do they look precisely like this any longer. I was all thrilled to have these classic Scandinavian babies, and wore them last week for the annual holiday light-viewing walk. Alas, I left them right there on the table beneath our little tree, only to come home and find them well -gnawed last night. Thanks a lot, Frances (the likely suspect, although now I'm not so sure why I indict her over brother Hondo . . . ). So where are the finished gift mitts? Click the pic, if you're not Sah, and see.

I used Ann Budd's Handy Book of Knitting Patterns, and a double strand of Horstia Tweed, a wool/acrylic/viscose blend. I hope they fit, and I still aspire to cranking out a matching headband. We shall see!


Brrrrr!

Wow, you folks in the northern climes don't have it easy, not that I thought you did. I'm wearing my silk long underwear under my heaviest jeans, ragg socks (the handknits were dirty), and a big-ole rollneck men's wool sweater over a long sleeve T. The Blundstones are warming up on the radiator now that I've scraped the car, delivered the Wee C and arrived at work. It's 15 degrees F. Was nine when we woke. I told Caroline that was the coldest weather she's encountered in her life. Good thing it's clear, because I think I left the scraper at the JCC with C. I'm not complaining, mind you, really I'm not, because it finally feels like Christmas. Which is in five days. And I'm still knitting the shawl and the second mitten.

The latter's close to done, but I am hoping to knit a matching Nakiska if there's time. Am I crazy? I think I have until the 26th, when we gals are lunching, to gift it to best babe Sarah.  And I may end up blocking the shawl at my mom's house, where the kittens will not be joining us this time. I am trying to gauge when to stop knitting in order to have ample yarn for edging, and which edging to use . . .


Good News/Bad News

The good: I don't have pneumonia, walking or otherwise. The bad: I have bronchitis! Spent most of yesterday waiting to see the doc and get my Z-pak; I don't feel better yet, but I'm hopeful.

Marks The weekend arrival of these sure eased my pain. Susan made them for me in thanks for my sending her two cones of Bartlett wool. She traded her sock patterns, which I can't wait to try, and even threw in some yarn to start my first pair of Almost Argyles. And there was chocolate (which I hid from others and now must find!), and some bathtub treats that Wee C has already enjoyed twice. These, though, are my prettiest stitch markers, and I can't wait to put them to use. Once I finish Mom's shawl -- which I gave a lot of attention in yesterday's waiting rooms -- I think I'd best return to the Must-Have cardigan, which definitely calls for markers!


The Last One

Really, I'm not making any more scarves for gifts this season. Two's my limit, and here's the second:

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The yarn is Filatura di Crosa Mimosa, knitted on 10.5US needles. I started out trying to make this a multidirectional diagonal scarf, as mentioned in a previous post, but with only two 60m skeins, that wasn't going to work. So I ripped, cast on 30 stitches, knit a coupla rows then k2tog across for a ruffly edge. The openwork pattern is three rows, with the first being k1 *yo k2tog* and the next two just knit, which switches the k1edge from side to side. I really like this scarf, and sure hope Wendi does, too. I never see her accesorize, but if I spent the day with a passel of wee ones, I might adorn sparsely, too. I also don't see her in these colors, but it's what jumped from the stash, and, if nothing else, it will look good with her car!


We Stitched Tuesday

Apologies for the delay in these promised S&B pix. Let's see, Wednesday was TV night, Thursday I went out Christmas shopping, and all weekend long I slept whenever Wee C did, as the cold she'd coughed at me for weeks finally knocked me down. We were seven, all told, not counting two kiddos, but I missed photographing Pam and Alice this month. Let's begin with the prolific MaryB, shall we?

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Here's her vibrant ponchofied Charlotte's Web. I'm happy to have traded some KPPPM for the cause, and pleased to see her crochet edging, which I may copy when I finally finish my shawl. But Mary's show & tell doesn't end there; check out these cuties (yes, I mean mine as well as the garments):

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The first two ponchos are a surprise Christmas gift for Mary's friend, Dan, priest-in-progress (like a WIP; he's a PIP. Gladys?) They are ultimately for his beloved nieces Catherine, 4, and Holly, 1. Mary writes, "I have gleefully conspired behind his back with his sister-in-law, Carrie, which has made it even more fun!" The teeniest one she's holding is for Zoƫ, Mary and husband Richard's niece Audra's baby girl, who is not yet one. Isn't our Mary a resourceful knitter of every last yard?

But speaking of crochet (as I was a coupla sentences ago), here's newcomer Cathy with her checked afghan-in-progress: it's crocheted in strips that, when sewn together, create a checkerboard look. Reminds me of strip piecing in quilting, which Cathy may herself have tried, since she is quite the prolific crafter.

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Sbdec040003 Then there was Lisa, finishing a holiday sweater for her youngest family member, and pondering creative options as she ran out of yarn, while Heather calmly knitted on a scarf ~ Sbdec040004 and brought us a picture of the triplets she'd made the blankets for earlier this year. The kitties were havoc personified, having at everyone's yarn, not to mention the tabletop Christmas tree. I finally took someone's suggestion that I weight it down, and it hasn't tipped since. Now that it's been up for a week, we may be ready to chance actually decorating it!


Hazel's a cutie ~

and this is her Cutie Patootie cardigan:

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This was my second time knitting this sweater, roughly a year later. Last time I knit the body in one piece, but this time I went ahead and made three separate pieces, which indeed made setting in the sleeves a bit easier. While I made a slight effort to find a contrasting yarn for the crocheted trim, with the variegation going on, it seemed perfectly appropriate to use the body yarn for the edgings as well. (You can see the earlier, two-tone version in the gallery here. Its recipient's mom called recently and said Coco still wears it!)

I have still more Cotton Twist in the stash, so it's possible you'll see a third CP some day, but I definitely like to have a year or more between them. There are so many great patterns out there for the babes ~

Seven came for S&B tonight, including a new, crocheting attendee. Pix tomorrow!


Scarfing Again

Brosca A quickie scarf spent way too much time in the WIP list this fall, but I finished it last week, making it the second completed Christmas gift. It will coordinate nicely with the fingerless gloves I knit for my brother this time last year. The yarn is superwash wool, called Tundra; I forget the maker. Its one wrapped ply gets all fat & funky on occasion, as well as more white than gray. The label (or Elann) suggested randomly purling those stretches, but I chose instead to knit a seed-stitch-bordered stockinette, throwing in a reversed row in a Fibonacci sequence (I only went up to 21, then back down again to one, and repeated; tracking the alt-rows kept me from getting bored with the st st). I kinda hope this will temper his desire for an entire sweater ~ while I'm so pleased that he respects my craft enough to want one, he's a big guy, so I'm rather daunted by the time and yardage such an undertaking may require . . .

Yesterday I started another (my second) multi-directional diagonal scarf, too, as a gift for Wee C's favorite teacher. Over the course of her preschool/childcare day, she encounters seven, but Wendi clearly has her love, a fact I'd like to honor with some hand-knit appreciation. (I'm not going to bother posting it on the WIP list, since I'll hope to finish it at S&B Tuesday.)


Twentysomething

I forgot to mention where I was exactly one week ago: high school reunion. Three classes combined to note the quarter-century mark, since our little alma mater isn't too well organized when it comes to such affairs. Here are the representatives from my class, constituting about 40 percent:

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We look pretty good for a bunch of fortysomethings, don't we? We were 16 boys and 16 girls at graduation, and I find it remarkable that four of the men are already deceased. Hey, I don't like that word. My classmates are dead, dammit, from diverse causes: drugs, auto accident*, cancer and a grisly murder. Not what one expects. If you want to calculate some more statistics (I don't ), six of those pictured are married to their original spouses,  four have been divorced, two have never married. We have more than a dozen children between us. A fourth reside in our home town; two have been in rehab. Most importantly, two are best buds who have lived and laughed and loved and learned with me for about three decades. Bless their gracefully aging bones!

*I haven't posted a poem in a while; I think I missed the window of opportunity for an autumnal one I mentioned. This post reminds me of another I'll put in the Poetic Stitches sidebar, an elegy for one of my friends.