25 December, 2012

Christmas Knitting 2012

My family has always opened our gifts on Christmas Eve, which is just a smidgen of extra pressure for me when it comes to handknit gifts.  I didn't go too crazy this year, which I believe demonstrates an amount of self-restraint and an ever-growing grasp on reality which is to be commended.

The only person who received a knitted gift this year was my sister-in-law.  And actually, it happened because of a complete lack of self-restraint, as documented in the previous post, so maybe never mind what I just said.  However, showing that my grasp on reality is still somewhat in evidence, the pattern I chose for the two-tone two-ply was fast and simple, and would have been finished in time for the opening of gifts if fate had not intervened.  So, I handed my SIL a gift bag with the admonition "Don't drop the needles!", and a promise to finish it up ASAP.

All I had left to do was bind off the second mitt, sew down the three remaining hems, and knit the thumbs.  I finished both mitts this morning before she and my brother left for her family's more traditional Christmas-day opening of gifts.  She was quite happy with them, and put them on immediately.  It's nice to have something be appreciated by a clearly delighted recipient.

I think my gauge was a bit tighter than called for, and am planning to knit a pair for myself in the same size, but going up a needle size.  I think the yarn would benefit from not being knit quite so tightly.  My SIL's hands are slightly smaller than mine, so I think if I go up a needle size I will get mitts that fit me just fine.  Hers being knit so tightly is good, because hers needed to be super dense and warm for the Ukrainian winter she'll be heading back to in just a few weeks.

This is a super-boring post, and I'm sorry, I'm not feeling especially brilliant or witty today.  The thing about opening presents on Christmas Eve is, Christmas Day is very slow and sleepy.  Nice way to finish off all the madcap preparations, and (since we observe Advent), a great lead-in to the 12 days of Christmas that follow.

More details on the mitts on their Ravelry page, here.

08 December, 2012

Yarn Fumes

Today was dreary, wet, chilly, and really all-around rather miserable.  That is to say, it was the perfect day for curling up in front of a fire with some knitting and a hot beverage of choice.  Please take note of that, because it has a direct bearing on what happens next.

A dreary, miserable day.  Come on New England; this is Winter, not Mud Season!!  Get your act together!
 I needed a new set of dpns for a hat.  That's another post, but the bottom line is, my dpns are too short to hold all the stitches, and I don't like knitting on 16" circulars.  Makes my hands hurt.  So off to the the LYS I went, never dreaming what that would precipitate.  I am, after all, a knitter with some experience in resisting the allure of new yarn.  (My husband is snorting over that and muttering "Have you LOOKED at your stash lately?", but I maintain it is a reasonably-sized stash to have collected over the course of the eleven years we've been married.)  I am quite capable of heading off to my LYS and walking out with nothing at all, or precisely the item I went in for, and nothing else.  I do it on a regular basis.  Today, however, was different.

Right inside the door I browsed through the pattern books, glanced briefly at the needles (that was why I went, remember?), and then turned around to look at the yarn.  And there it was:  A Baby Surprise Jacket knitted in the softest merino imaginable, colors set off beautifully by the garter-stitch texture.  My 8-month-old was on my back, and I suddenly realized that he had to have this sweater in this yarn.  It was perfect.  The shop model was clearly too small (my son is rather...erm...large, for his age - he wears a size 18 months), so after determining that it had used up one entire skein, I bought two:

Indulgence 6-ply Distrato in color 021 - be still my heart!
 Noticing the rack of buttons just around the side of the display case, I decided to choose some for the sweater then and there:

They're perfect!
I kept walking, and the next yarn that caught my eye was a plump two-ply tonal yarn in a variety of colors that, frankly, just looked like fun.  What could I do with that?  I wasn't sure, so I kept going.  Then...have I mentioned that I'm a sucker for color?  Beautiful colors cry out to come home with me.  They whisper sweet nothings and tell me how beautiful I will look in them and...well, it may have been then that the yarn fumes really began to get to me.

Nordlys superwash by Viking of Norway, color 949
I have no idea what I'm going to do with it, but I knew I had to bring it home.  I got two skeins, just in case.  Then I remembered the two-ply, and also that my sister-in-law gets very cold, and is currently living in Ukraine, which is a miserable place for someone with bad circulation.  I went back for the two-ply:

Ewetopia (how could I resist?!) by Frog Tree , color 1226
I wandered about a bit more, grabbed a few packages of coilless safety pins in pretty colors (one for me, one for Christmas), got a needle gauge since I never seem to have one when I need it, and finally found the needles I came in for.

Total take.  I don't know what to say.
For the benefit of knitters everywhere, I would like to provide this warning:  Be very careful when entering an unfamiliar yarn store on a wet, cold day.  Further research is needed to determine whether the cold and the rain combine to produce the elevation of potency in yarn fumes, or whether one or the other, or both, will produce this effect when operating alone.  Further research also needs to be conducted in a variety of stores to investigate if an immunity to the potency of the fumes can be developed by way of multiple visits to the same store.  I will be happy to continue research in this important area, but not tonight.

I have a stash to update, and some new projects to cast on.  :-)