Sunday, December 30, 2007

Glove Love

I started my first Selbuvotter glove...heck, it is even my first glove ever! There was something so inherently pleasing in working this pattern that I just couldn't put the darn thing down since Christmas Day. Here it is up to the division for fingers:

The pattern is Annemor #8 and it is simply lovely in Louet Gems Merino. I had to stop last night, nearly in tears, 'cause I just couldn't make sense of the directions going forward dividing for the fingers. It just didn't seem to make sense and I tried it a couple of different ways - adding to my general confusion was that the instructions were different in the two places referencing the finger division. I joined the Selbuvotter group on Ravelry and posted my questions. It is moderated by the author, so I'm hoping she'll be able to shed some light on the matter!

I hope someone responds soon.

It's been about 12 hours.

Yes, I'm watching the clock. I do have a sweater project in the works but my heart really wants to get back to my glove.

We had a great snow on Friday that started at 9 am and went until about 6 pm, falling gently but steadily the whole time. Not too cold, no wind, just beautiful, wet snow...some 6" or so. It clung to everything, and with no wind overnight, it was still there Saturday morning. Here's the view from our living room (DH's first real pictures! Not bad, eh?)

Even this morning, the snow was still perched on branches and telephone wires.

Monday, December 24, 2007

God jul

that is, "Merry Christmas" in Norwegian.

That reminds me, I have a new goal or two this year. Now, I'm totally anti-New Year's Resolutions - I firmly believe that if you want to change something, there's no need to wait until New Year's. Plus, I think they are jinxed and doomed to failure. I've never known anyone's New Year's Resolutions that were kept, not to mention seen through for over a month. When I quit smoking, it was actually on January 6th (the anniversary of my Dad's birthday. Not sure why I picked that date...he didn't ever smoke, but I'm sure he didn't like that I did. I guess it was my own little way of making him proud of me, even though he had passed away many years before.) I've been smoke-free ever since. It was actually a gloomy March day that I made the decision to put down the meatball sandwich with sides of cheetos and mashed potatoes that I was having for lunch and to get in shape. As I've gotten to know myself, I've figured out that when I decide to change something in my life, the date on the calendar means very little. So, today, Christmas Eve, I'm making some new goals:

1. Learn Norwegian - this should be great fun, given my academic background in German and various Germanic languages, both currently spoken and those preserved only in writing some 1,200 years ago.

There are some others, but they aren't exactly bloggable. (bloggable? is that a word? yikes...I hope I'm not slipping down the Troy Aikman-slippery-slope-of-language-misuse.)

I've wanted to learn Norwegian for a number of years, and there is no time like the present. I've regretted that, during all my various trips to Europe, I never once went to Norway. I wish, in fact I did this very morning, that I could just pack up and go live in Bergen or Trondheim. When I was 7 or 8, I left a note on my parents' bed that I wanted to runaway and live in Norway. It's about time I learn the language, and definitely time that I set myself to visiting there. Wouldn't it be wonderful to bike through mountains overlooking the fjords?

As a little Christmas gift to myself, I bought Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition by Terri Shea.
One search through Ravelry's pattern and project library for mittens and this gem shows up everywhere. The mitten and glove designs are inspired by actual pieces knit in the 19th century in the Selbu region of Norway. Sounds divine. The patterning is exquisite and will be a great way to hone my stranded knitting skills. In fact, now that my pre-Christmas chores and last present is wrapped, I think I'll go wind up some yarn and dive right in.

Speaking of diving right in, here's my darling Maddie-girl, knowing just what to do on a chilly winter's afternoon:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

FO Parade

Yesterday, amid the wonderful surprise of an additional 7 inches of snow, was spent listening to some of my favorite Christmas CDs while sitting next to the tree, with an assorted cat or two coming to snuggle up next to me, and finishing a few projects.

First, was last week's early a.m. knitting project, the Gansey Watch Cap from Charlene Schurch's Hat's On! I used some Cascade 220 purchased at Lakeside Fibers several years ago...good to dip into the stash archive that far back plus the color matches the trim on my new coat/Christmas present perfectly.

A little wonky with the math on the body and crown charts, but I tried not to worry about it too much. It is, afterall, my "everyday" hat and it is quite warm and fits just fine. I'm particularly fond of the brim design.

I think Charlene Schurch is brilliant and I hope to make a few more hats from this book. Her sock books, Sensational Socks and More Sensational Socks are - in my opinion - the best sock books...heck, some of the best knitting books on the planet.

Next up, the High Neck Cable sweater knit in Blue Sky's Suri Merino. Here it is, on the blocking table:

I'm still fudging with the placement of the buttons and have a few little ends to weave in. I ended up not doing actual buttonholes since I'll never be wearing it any other way but completely buttoned up. So, I simply tacked down the front plackets and simply sewed the buttons in place.
Love the buttons!

I tried it on yesterday over a very large turtleneck and without blocking and was, sadly, a little underwhelmed. I hope that once it is done on the table and after finalizing the buttons/placket, all will be well. This is intended to be my Christmas sweater this year.

Speaking of Christmas, I just wanted to share some of my most treasured decorations/heirlooms. This is the stocking my mom made for me the year I was born:

And the ceramic ornament she made, also during the year I appeared:

This funny Humpty Dumpty ornament was purchased by my parents shortly after they were married. I figure it is about 40 years old!
It just wouldn't be Christmas without seeing these.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

What did you just say?

Sorry, but I just have to get this off my chest. This offends me not so much as an ex-linguist, but as a reasonably intelligent and literate human being.

I'm minding my own business, knitting blissfully away on the High Neck Cable and watching the Giants/Bears game. Troy Aikman is commentating. He has the annoying habit of not being able to pronounce a participle or gerund -ing ending if his life depended on it, e.g. saying "kickin'", "puntin'", "runnin'", etc. Additionally, he'll consistently use the very informal shoulda, woulda, coulda triumvirate.

Just a few minutes ago, he said something that I could hardly believe. These actual words were issued by someone who - having played quarterback masterfully - must have some functioning gray matter:

"Archuleta actually probably shoulda been satten down a while ago."

Doesn't he realize that his voice and gross language misuse is being broadcast nationally, perhaps even internationally? Doesn't he realize how downright stupid that makes him seem? Reminds of me someone I know who will pronounce pumpkin as punkin and picture as pitcher. She's not trying to sound informal or cute...this is actually how she pronounces it.

No comment.


No, I'm not channeling my inner Harry Potter. But, I swear, the Internets can act like a magic wand for us knitters.
First things first. A photo of December 1, 2006:

And of photo of December 1, 2007:

If memory serves, we got some 8-10 inches of snowfall on 12/1 last year. This year, we ended up with just a few, with a thin coating of ice on top. But, heck, snow is snow and I'll take whatever Mother Nature gives me.
Now, on the magic of the Internets and how Ewe Little Dickens apparently angered, and then made peace with, the knitting gods.
I've been making slowish progress on the High Neck Cable now that the sleeves are on the body as there are over 250 stitches on a round before the neck decreasing kicks in. Last night, right before I retired to bed, I made the extremely sad realization that one of my cables, some 18 rows below, was twisted in the wrong direction. Since there are only 3 ropes of cables and smack dab in the front of the sweater, there was no hiding it. And, worst of all, I knew it was's a wonder I even got to sleep last night knowing this mistake was just sitting there, taunting me. Too tired and exasperated to deal with it, I decided to leave it until this morning when my fresh fingers and brain could re-evaluate the situation.
With a vague sense of dread, I woke early. I was prepared to rip back a good 3" of knitting (which, given that this is knit in the round with the sleeves attached is a lot!) and it would be a bit tricky as there are 8 decreases positioned ever-so-carefully on each RS row. But, maybe..just maybe, I was too tired last night to get a good look at the cable and maybe, just maybe it wasn't really twisting the wrong way?
Nope. It was going the wrong way. Damn.

Well, there's got to be a way to fix it and the worst that could happen, again, was my original plan of action of spending my precious pre-dawn knitting time at the ol' Frog Pond. So, I proceeded to whip out the Knitter's Magic Wand (aka the Internet) and search for "fixing cables" and there was a glimmer of hope.

I didn't snap a photo of my wrongly twisted cable, but - thanks to the Yarn Harlot - here's a shot of what it sorta looked like:
Now, the trick is to purposely drop just the cable stitches down to where the cable goes awry, re-twist in the proper direction and then pick up each of the stitches all the way up. In theory, this is pretty straightforward...putzy, to be sure, and I certainly wouldn't recommend it for the timid knitter. But, hey, I'm a professional, right? I can do this (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...)
The pattern calls for a 6-stitch cable with the first three held to the back every 6 rows. But, in my sorry case, 18 rows below I had for some bizarre reason decided to mix things up and hold those first 3 stitches to the front. So, braced on very early a.m. courage (we're talking 3:30 am here), down those stitches went. Witness Cable Carnage:

Here's the front of my lovely sweater with the offending stitches unmercifully destroyed [insert evil laughter here].

I re-twisted the stitches in the proper direction and proceed to pick up the six stitches up through 18 rows. Tricky thing was repeating the cable every 6 rows. I had one glitch of an attempt, just about ready to say, "heck with it...I'll just rip it", but I took a slug of the Elixir of Life (coffee) and gave it another, steadily patient go.

Well, wha'd'ya know? FIXED!

Thank you, Yarn Harlot and the Internets. You rock my world! To read her most amusing and complete explanation on how to do this, visit her archive here.
In the 2 hours I had to knit before proceeding to the gym this morning, I only knit 4 rows. But, I salvaged a whole day's worth of knitting.
In other news, the Diamond Patch mittens are complete and wearable. After a little scare yesterday thinking that I actually made two of the same hand (the pattern is just a wee bit ambiguous on exactly where to place the thumb. And that's an understatement if I ever heard one), they work: