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Especially me, cuz I finished it all! Hooraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

The Swallowtail shawl was finished (knitting) Thursday night. I did almost run out of yarn. I was sweating bullets those last few rows, as I would look at the ball about every ten stitches or so. As I was doing the last chart, I realized that the last 6 rows were exactly the same–so I only did the first two, which left me with the right stitch count to do the bind off rows. Whew! Good thing, too. This is how much yarn I had left:

the remaining yarn

Holy crapola, batman! I think I might have squeezed two more rows out of that, but I dunno. Better to be safe than sorry I guess. I’m really glad I didn’t have to dye any more yarn. It would have been hard to match the original color.

So here it is in all its glory:

shawl on rock

The Swallowtail shawl

Pattern: Interweave Knits, Fall 06, written by Evelyn Clark
Yarn: JaggerSpun Zephyr DK Weight, procured from Sarah’s Yarns. Dyed steely blue by me.
Begun: I suppose I should start keeping track of these things
Finished: 1:07 am (EST) December 21, 2006
Gifted to: my MIL

Gratuitous close ups:

shawl on rock point

shawl on rock edge

I was a bit worried that deleting those last four rows would make the edges look not-so-pretty, but I think they look a-okay! I’m pretty pleased with the dye job, too. The slight variations in color give the shawl added depth, don’t you think? Oh, those really dark bits, esp the ones on the left, are shadows, not pooling. I’m not so great at dyeing yet, but I’m not that bad.

Anyway, she loved it.

nancy in shawl

Looks nice on her too, eh?

I finished hypotenuse, too, almost sadly. I really loved knitting it. I even got to like getting up early in the morning and knitting before work. I might actually continue to do that. It’s a great way to start your day.

I don’t have good pictures of it, though. Here’s a crappy blocking pic:

hypotenuse blocking

Crappy as in the blocking job, I mean, not the picture. I did the blocking at the blub’s parents’ house, as to not tip him off. I thought it might look suspicious if I tried to sneak out of my house with my blocking wires shoved under my coat. Ya think? So I just did an initial block with pins. Yucky scalloped edges! I did a re-block yesterday, and it looks fine now. I’ll get a nice picture as soon as the sun comes out again. I did get a bad one of Senor Blub on Christmas Eve, which is when we open presents (his family is German).

the apprehensive man

It looks like he thinks I’m about to shove the camera up his ass, doesn’t it? Sorry for the darkness of the pictures. It was a wee bit shady in there, but for good reason:

fuzzy Christmas tree

Real candles! Pretty.

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Sorry. Having just spent three days with my niece and nephew, I have to post cutsie pictures of them and talk about how adorable they are. So if you don’t want to read about that kind of sappy crap, I suggest that you skip to the end.

Still here? Well, first things first. Nels and I drove to Florida to see my family. Since we’ve grown somewhat, we all won’t fit in anybody’s house anymore, so we rented a big house on the beach to spend our early Christmas in.

Here’s the view from porch (one of three):

porch

Does it go without saying that it was nice?

Okay, now cute kid pictures.

John with blankie

The log cabin blanket with its recipient. Being only two months old, he didn’t have much of an opinion on it. His mom sure loved it, though. My mom, a new knitter, even picked up the edge and said, “Wow! Look at those corners!”

I have taught you well, grasshopper.

The socks, eh. They went over quite well, but damn it, they didn’t fit. Arrugh! It seems that everything that I make for Hanna ends up too small. Maybe she’s just growing too fast. She’s certainly moving a lot faster these days. I had a hard time getting pictures that weren’t just a blur…

HGK and doorHGK and door 2

HGK and vaccuum

That toy vacuum, by the way, actually works. Is that not genius? She loves that thing. I told my sister-in-law that she should send Hanna over to my house. My floors could sure use the help…

Okay, if you’ve skipped, start reading here again!

The ride home was uneventful. I didn’t really get very far on the Swallowtail shawl, unfortunately. I finished the budding lace pattern, or whatever it’s called, and moved on to nupp chart #1. I must admit I like the nupps, but they are taking forever. I think I knitted for about three hours yesterday and didn’t finish the first chart! The nupps involve knitting 5 stitches onto one, then purling 5 together on the next row. I’m having to do this with a crochet hook, since the yarn I’m using is somewhat thick (DK weight). Feh. I’m going to have to do some furious knitting to finish this thing by Christmas Eve. I have two whole charts left! And I’m starting to worry that I’m going to run out of yarn. Yarn I dyed. (shudder) Oh jeez, I don’t even want to think about that.

La la la la! I’m not listening! La la la!

At least I’m near to finished with hypotenuse. I’ve finished all the called for 14 repeats. I kept going on it though, because I’ve still got some yarn left and the blub likes long scarves. Yeah, he’s got big feet too.

It’s cold here. Not like Florida. See?

frozen creek

The water! It’s frozen! Brrrrrrr…

I’m off to Florida tomorrow! Let’s see, I’ve got my shawl knitting, I’ve a stray sock, and I’ve got 3 skeins of new sock yarn that I want to play with. I think I’m set.

Be back next week!

..cuz it’s done. Yes! One log cabin baby blanket

log cabin baby blanket

….finished.

Log cabin baby blanket
Date started: April 15, 1976
Date finished: December 10, 2006

Only 30 years in the making! That’s right, I started knitting this at the tender age of 8 months. Well, it sure feels like that. I really don’t remember when I started this thing. I think in July. Anyway…

Pattern: adapted from Mason-Dixon Knitting

Yarn: KnitPicks Swish Superwash, 9 balls (approx.)
Measurements: before blocking–26.5 x 27.5″
after blocking–31 x 38.5″

Man I really blocked that pretty hard, didn’t I? It was unintentional. It wanted to be that size. Really! I wasn’t just yanking on it to make it look bigger. Not me. The picture above is before blocking, by the way. Here’s a pic of it blocking:

blanket blocking

To credit this yarn, instead of washing it by hand, I threw it in the washer on the delicate cycle before blocking. Worked like a champ! I was a bit afraid that I would lose stitch definition, but I think it looks better now than when it went in. Softer, too. Yarn diagnosis: KnitPicks Swish gets two needles up from me! I’ll use this stuff again. Maybe for a sweater…

The back of the blanket (before blocking):

log cabin baby blanket flip side

Ugh. There were a lot of ends. I lost count at about 30. I did weave them all in in one sittting. I must admit, liquor was involved. I wanted to block it before I wove in the ends because some of them are pretty short, and I was worried that they would just pop out again. In the beginning, I was actually weaving the ends in as I went, but that stopped for some reason.Then I got to do it all at once! What fun!

Overall, I’m pretty pleased with the way that this turned out. I especially am proud of my miters. To do the border, I just picked up stitches all the way around and knit in circles. To make the edges look like edges, I put a marker at each corner, and then knit into the front and back of the stitch right before and right after the marker. It made a mitered edge! Woot! Quite attractive, in my humble opinion.

mitered corner

My husband said that this belongs on display somewhere. My husband says some strange things sometimes.

So my early Christmas knitting is done. Wahoo! We leave Thursday for Florida, to celebrate with my side of the family. Now I just have to focus on the regular Christmas knitting, hypotenuse and the Swallowtail shawl. The shawl has been reserved for car knitting. Did I mention this? We are driving from southern Indiana to the Florida panhandle. Eleven hours. That’s each way. Scads of knitting time. I’ll probably make a big dent in the shawl during the car trip, since the blub won’t let me drive. I’m on repeat nine of fourteen in the Budding Lace pattern. There are two more charts after that. We’ll see how far I get. As for hypotenuse, this morning I finished repeat 11 of 14. Speeding along!

You know, I might actually finish the Christmas knitting on time!

But don’t quote me on that.

Well, maybe not cheated. Took a shortcut, more like. Or, like water flowing down a gradient, simply took the shortest path to the lowest level to achieve knitting oneness with the universe.

Yeah, I didn’t cheat! I’m Zen!

Ah, who am I kidding? I cheated.

Remember when I said I was making Reid for my three year old niece for Christmas? Was, being the operative word here. Past tense. Not present. I screwed it up enough times that I was about to chuck the entire thing, yarn, pattern, and gauge swatches into the creek and let Nature deliver it from my sight. So I decided that maybe it wasn’t the right project for her right now, and didn’t I really think she would rather have something else? Yes, I think she would. Something very small and quick to make. She just loves quick to make gifts. What three year old doesn’t?

So I made her socks.

Hanna's socks

Tee hee! These are so little and cute! They were made with less than one ball of KnitPicks Dancing, in ballet. They took me about four hours total, I think. Gotta love small feet. Actually, I think she will really love these. I made her a pair of socks over the summer in Lorna’s Laces Sherbet (so cute! But alas, no picture). I had been under the impression that, like every member of my family, she has really narrow feet. In actuality, she inherited her mother’s normal feet, not my brother’s weird skinny ones. Those socks just baaaarely fit her. It’s too bad because she really liked them–she kept staring at her feet and walking around and around and around in circles. I’m positive that she’s grown out of them by now, so she needs a new pair. Needs! Socks! Not sweater! See, I’m just thinking of her here. Tis the season for giving…

Speaking of giving, let’s discuss last year’s Christmas folly, shall we? For some reason that is unclear to me now, I decided that I wanted to knit the blub a sweater for his present. But, knowing that he is somewhat conservative about garments (but not about socks or hats, which baffles me), I decided that it would be best if I let him pick both the yarn and the pattern before I would take the herculean effort of making the damn thing, just in case he might not wear/like what I picked out. Sounds like a good idea, yes? Yes. I am so smart. However, what I did not foresee was that he would pick the most godawful boring pattern on the face of the earth to knit. Drop sleeve sweater, all in plain stockinette, rolled collar and cuffs. Hmm. I’m not so smart. At least he picked nice yarn though, Jo Sharp Aran Tweed. Mmm, silk and cashmere goodness. Unfortunately, silk and cashmere goodness can only take you so far….

In a year, I’ve gotten about 3/4 of the way through the back.

So now that Christmas is getting near, the guilt factor is kicking in. I needed something to give me a kick in the ass about this sweater. Something that would make it go faster. Something…automated.

Enter the Ultimate Sweater Machine!

Okay, I don’t know what your feelings about knitting machines may be. Me, I kinda think they’re lame. But this one was free. My mom, a (then) non-knitter bought this a few years ago. She never really got around to taking it out of the box, so she gave it to me. I’ve used it once, last year, to make my brothers plain and dull scarves for Christmas. It’s great for really lame things that you want to finish quickly. Like sweaters for picky and boring husbands!

sweater on knitting machine

Can I just say that in an afternoon, I’ve almost finished the front? I think I have about 10 rows to go. It’s even knitting at the same gauge that I did, so I can use the back I already did! So I need to do the sleeves, sew the thing up, and block it. I think it’ll be done by Wednesday.

Wednesday! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Out of my hair and off my needles! Woot!

So I’m thinking maybe these things are okay…

In other news, KnitPicks is replacing the broken needles for me. I guess a lot of people have had the cable pop off, too, so it wasn’t just the knitting gods peeing in my Cheerios that day. The replacements are winging their way toward me as I type, and I should have them in 5-10 days (quoth the customer service representative, bless her heart).

Both hypotenuse and the blanket are coming along fine, just slowly. No more major screw-ups on the scarf. They look about like they did the last time I took pictures, so they don’t make for very exciting blogging material. The blanket is about 19.5 x 24.5″ now. So I have about 272 square inches to go. I have 478 done.

Oooh, I better go knit…

Contact me

thechemgrrl AT gmail DOT com (you know what to do with the extras)
December 2006
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