Sunday, January 23, 2005

The cure for the January Blahs

Is another trip to Belisle R&R in Wisconsin!

The January retreat has come and gone, and it was just as much fun as November's. I stitched like a little dervish, and managed to 1. Work on everything I took with me, and 2. Actually get some stuff finished, but 3. Ended up with a project I hadn't started with (they talked me into doing a square on Candy's floral afghan)

The Monday after I got home, I was off work for MLK Jr. Day, so I got even more done! (Sort of--I really kinda kicked back, too.)

But this year, I decided to participate in "The List". My clan of stitching buddies always puts a list of project together early in the year, then seals them away until the January Belisle retreat--at which point we open them up and see how we did in comparison to our goals. It's all in good fun, with nothing more than pride on the line, so we'll see how things go. What's my list?

Fluffy scarf for Lisa
Devan baby cardigan
Lite Brite Sweater
One pair of socks
Party-Time Apron
Felted Cat Bed
Tank Girl Tank Top
Fluffy Cuff Mittens
Pool Scarf
Baby Blanket for Anna
Tiger Stripe Scarf for Shelly

Joe Snow
Sally Snow
Dana and Kris Wedding Hardanger
Floral Afghan Square
Stitcher’s Barbell
Sailor’s Huswif
Piece of Cake
C.A. Wells Bunny pendant
C.A. Wells Needle Cottage
Holiday Fat Cat
Mail Art

The nice thing about lists being due by Feb. 1 is that you can cheat a little and put stuff on them that you finish in January. So, what's changed since we last chatted? Here's the scoop:

Fluffy Scarf for Lisa: While in PA, I found some really cool scarf yarn--some short, dense, chenilley stuff, and some wispy eyelash, in black/aqua/gold/copper that made a really cool scarf. And since Lisa had requested some of my handiwork, I was glad to make them into a scarf for her. I delivered it this week--and she's quite pleased. Yay!

Stitcher's Barbell: I've had the actual stitching done on this piece forever--but finally got around to the actual finishing--putting it together and filling it with BBs--on Monday. It's a heavy, glitzy frame weight, which serves as a third hand when you're working on a piece of needlepoint.

(Almost) Finished: Joe and Sally Snow: They're all stitched, and just need to be sewn into standups. Yay!

On the Needles:
Party-Time Apron: No change.

Devan: Second sleeve cast on, starting to work the increases.

Sock: I took it to WI with me, and therefore I worked on it. If by "worked on", you mean "knit about two rounds of ribbing". But I did pick it up and put some stitches on it.

Lite Brite: Started the back--working the waist shaping decreases.

Tiger-Striped Scarf: I donated a hand-knit item to my department's charity silent auction this year--the winner requested a scarf in her son's school colors--Black and Orange. I'm doing a stockinette tube scarf in Cascade 220, with about 3" stripes. It's really cool--and very easy knitting.

Baby Love Baby Blanket: I'm making the Hoover baby blanket from Knitty in red and white stripes for a cool co-worker due in March. Also in Cascade 220. I swatched some double-knitting this weekend to see if I could do it, and damn--that's like magic! It's about 2 rows of garter stitch right now, but it won't be for long.

In the Hoop:
Merry Cox Sailor's Huswif: Finished a queen stitch flower, and added a word to the verse.

Wedding Snowflake Hardanger: Started, and I completed the center motif. The Hardanger is fairly easy, but dude--isolated eyelets in metallic thread are teh suk.

Floral Afghan Square: The last square on Candy's Maureen Appleton Floral Garden Afghan is a basket full of impatiens. I started it in WI, and put in the basket bands--it's in Flower Thread on a 100% wool afghan, so it's nice and snuggly to work on--remind me to finish this before summer, okay?

Obligatory Cultural References:
Reading: Finished Obsession and promptly started another book by the same duo--The Cases That Haunt Us. I like this one a lot better. Douglas can get awfully full of himself, and having more factual subject matter makes things go down more easily. I also inhaled Food Court Druids and Cherohonkees: And Other Creatures Unique to the Republic, a really funny humor book by the same folks who brought you The Hipster Handbook. However, it needed a copy editor in the WORST way. Dude--Food Court Druids play "Magic: The Gathering", not "Magic, the Gatherer". And learn to use a semicolon already. And hire a proofreader, dammit. Um, okay. all done.
Listening to: The 12/31/04 edition of Crap From the Past. All Stevie Wonder, all the time!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

What I did on my Christmas Vacation

by Secret Agent Lemur.

I spent a week and a half with my folks for the Christmas holidays (and assorted college friends for New Year's) and all I got was a truckload of presents and really de-stressed. Seriously, it was a lovely time, and I got to have a legitimate week off for the first time in I don't know how long. Wheee! Let's get to the knitting content, shall we?

Finished: Skully: Seamed! Worn several times! Overall, I’m really pleased with it—as a first sweater, it’s quite nice. I learned a lot from it—if I had it to do over again, I’d make the sleeves a wee bit longer (they’re a little shorter than I like them, but they don’t look dumb), and do something different with the sleeve shaping—they’re a little tighter than I'm accustomed to at the armpit, but not a big deal. Also, as my first experience with seaming that “counts”, I thought it went pretty well. Mattress stitch is like magic.

Secret Christmas Project #2: Oh, okay, it was another stripey sleeping cap. Fishtie was so disappointed that I’d given full-size stripey hat #2 to Iole and not to him that I had to make him his own stripey hat for Christmas. He’s quite pleased.

On the Needles:
Party-Time Apron: No change.

Devan: No change.

Sock: No change.

Lite Brite: Sleeves done, after some reworking. I don’t know if my gauge is off or what, but the sleeves were not working for me over break—I completed my sleeve decreases, held it up to my arm to check for length, and realized that the 33 stitches left on the needles would not fit around my arm. And my arms are not that big around. The armscye/raglan shaping was a little tight as well, so I ripped it the whole way out and started over, one size larger, with gentler and fewer decreases. 37 stitches seemed to work. I also didn’t bind off the sleeve hems, (they’re top-down), as I might have to add length later—see Skully above. After I get some stockinette rolling on the body (it’s only a few inches long right now), I’m going to have to see if it’s my gauge or the pattern that’s driving me crazy.

In the Hoop:
Merry Cox Sailor's Huswif: No change.
Joe and Sally Snow: No Change.
Wedding Snowflake Hardanger: For my most excellent friends Dana and Kristi--a nifty Hardanger table runner for Christmas decor. Supplies purchased and organized, ready to start.

Obligatory Cultural References
Reading: Obsession is still at bedside, as I knew it wouldn't last the vacation. Instead, I started and finished A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (not annoying and precious at all, as I feared, but actually really good, and seriously deserving of all the praise, while still being awful and funny and self-conscious), and the Escapist comics, vols 1 and 2, while on vacation.

Listening to: The printer and the copier whine and spit out paper.