Friday, December 31, 2004

A Lot Of Nuthin'

I knit and knit yesterday. I knit so much that my hand ached. I had a goal in mind. I wanted to complete the knitted in Latvian cord that I am using as the turning point of the hem on the Daugava. I knit off and on throughout the day and as the end of the day approached and my goal was coming close, I saw it.

Something was definitely not right with a portion of the braid. At first I thought it was an uneven tension, but as I looked at it closer I found I had gotten the alternating black and white stitches out of order on the first row and it was throwing off every subsequent row. I could have left it I suppose but it would have irritated me every time I looked at the cardigan. With all the work I am putting into this, I do not need to have negative emotions attached to it.

So, out it came. I ended up having to frog six rows.....and at 486 stitches per row it was a LOT. It even took quite some time to rip. First I ran my "frogging needle" (yes, I have one designated primarily for that's an extremely thin circular needle) around the entire row, below the mistake, to hold the stitches and then I pulled out the knitting needle and ripped and ripped. Adding to the complexity of this particular frogging episode was the twined nature of the Latvian braid. I actually had to cut one of the strands so that I could get them unwound.

So after all that knitting, I went to bed last night EXACTLY where I had left off the night before. *sigh*

Yes, as a matter of fact, I am whining.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

It's A Long Long Row

I've started on the body of the Daugava and it is a long, long way around each row! 486 stitches and about 25 minutes of knitting per ribbing anyway. My time per row might be different once I start on the fairisle.

So far I have the hem facing done and, like I did with the Rogue, I have included my initials and the year. NEXT year, as I know I won't have this done by tomorrow.

I'm a little concerned that it might be too big, but I don't want to decrease the number of stitches in a round because that would throw off the pattern repeats. If I use less stitches I will have a partial motif at the underarms where I must reverse so that the pattern will match at the shoulders. I want the pattern to flow seamlessly all the way around and so it has been necessary to allow an extra 2 inches in the circumference of the body over what I normally have. The only thing I can do is knit a few inches and then try it on hoping for the best.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Second Sleeve Done

Last night I completed the second sleeve of the Daugava. This is one of those rare projects that seem to get MORE interesting and addicting as I go along. Usually I am at the "been there done that" stage by now and am looking forward to finishing and getting on with other things. This one is different. Perhaps it is because there are still lots of puzzles to be worked out.

I sat for quite some time last night with calculator in hand, scribbling notes, erasing them and rewriting them. All in an effort to get past the problem of how to handle BOTH a hem facing AND a front facing while at the same time knitting in the round. Think about it. If I don't do some sort of fancy jog in one facing or another they will overlap and I will have corners that are four layers thick! That won't do!

I think I have it conquered (looks good on paper and in my mind's eye anyway) despite the fact that this cardigan also has a fairisle band that changes direction at center front, going from parallel to the hem, to parallel to the front opening. LOTS of math, visualization and problem solving.

And now I go to cast on.....all 461 stitches for the lower facing. There will be 486 stitches in a round after the facing is knit, the steek stitches are added, and it is joined.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

In Reverse

My husband and I purchased a scanner for Christmas and I have spent the afternoon installing it and then playing around with images. The photo program that is needed to interact with the scanner is a bit different than the one I had been using before. For one thing, it has a negative-image feature that was kind of fun to play with. I had a chance to see what the Daugava would look like if I had reversed the images. How do you like it with the cream in the background and the charcoal for the foreground?

I like it both ways, but know that a mostly white cardigan would be an impractical thing for me.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas Everyone

Today is going to be a busy one for me as we are having our Big Christmas Dinner today to accommodate family members who must be elsewhere tomorrow. I think it is going to work out quite well as not so much will be happening all on one day. Usually, with the gift exchange, special breakfast, socializing AND dinner all on Christmas day, I am rushing around and too busy to sit for a minute! This year it will be spread out over two days so there just might be more relaxing and enjoying......maybe even some knitting!

For now though, off I must dash, I've a big turkey to stuff and get in the oven. Just wanted to take this moment to wish everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Last Batch

The last shortbread of the year.....and they are going fast! These were made using the "Grandma's Shortbread" recipe from the back of the "Canada Corn Starch" box. Years ago I upsized the recipe by 3 times so that it uses the entire pound of butter and makes about 7 dozen cookies. Using a little less flour, I was able to put them through the cookie press and with a "double pump" they came out quite well.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Pot Of Gold

Everyone could use their own little pot of gold these days. Should I let my neighbour know that his home is at the end of of the rainbow.....or should I just go digging in his front yard myself?

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Famous Last Words

Last night as it approached bed time, I held up my second sleeve of the Daugava to show my husband and said, "Look how much I've done." I was feeling particularly proud of my progress, having done all the border patterns and gotten as far as the 9th row of the main chart pattern.

As I packed up the knitting for the night I realized that I had centered the wrong element in the main design. Grrrrr. I have to frog those 9 rows even though the "innovation" looks BETTER, is easier to work, and makes more sense than the way I did the first sleeve. Now THAT hurts! It has to be done though. Sleeves SHOULD match dont-cha-know?

I've GOT to make more detailed notes! All this grief is because I didn't write down which stitch I started the chart on when doing the first sleeve.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Where Have All The Crowds Gone?

My husband and I went shopping last night and once again, it was really quiet out it has been for a week or more. Has everyone finished their Christmas shopping? All those nutso crowds from late October to the end of November....was THAT the "Christmas Rush"? Has internet shopping taken over? Will there be a last minute panic on Christmas Eve? Or has everyone finally had enough of the commercialism of the season and cut back on how much they are spending?

A few days ago I actually had a cashier in Zellers call me over as I approached the general area of the cashiers. There were NO lines, and she was standing there waiting to grab the next "live" customer. Are you shocked? I was. In Future Shop we had several sales people more than willing to give exceptional customer service. No lines at the cashier there either.

What have your shopping experiences been like? I would love to hear your comments.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Underarm

Leisel asked to see the way the pattern comes together at the seam.

OH DEAR. (Moaned in my very best Eeore voice).

Well Leisel, I was kinda hoping that if I always kept my left arm down I would never have to show that part of the sweater. Now, being one that can't resist a challenge, I will have to photograph THAT part of the sweater. The less than lovely part. The part I would do differently next time......perhaps even with the second sleeve.

Okay, fact of the matter is, I should have handled it different. Up until the main pattern begins it looks GREAT. I managed that by placing all increases evenly spaced around the row and by always keeping them within the plain rows between pattern changes.

Then came the main pattern. Unlike the other motifs, I had to increase within the pattern area. I did this, as you would guess, at the underarm, one increase on each side of the "seam" (not really a seam because it is done in the round). I SHOULD have just left it at that but Noooo, I decided to make the seam a "feature" by knitting the first and last stitches in alternating light and dark. I wish I hadn't. Anyway, what's done is done and I am willing to live with it.

But now you want a photograph? Hmmm. My camera broke. Yeah, that's it. . . . No? Okay, how about if I take a quick picture as I speed by on a galloping horse?! . . . . No?

*Sheesh* You DO realize I will probably have "finding myself naked in public" nightmares for a month after this?!

(I was tempted to make the picture VERY small!)

First Sleeve

Here at long last is a photo of the first sleeve of the Daugava.

I finished it up last night and immediately started the second one. The second sleeve is going much faster because I don't have to work out all design elements, increase rates and so forth.

I am using "Lanett" superwash 100% merino. So far, on the first sleeve alone, I have used up one and a half balls of the charcoal and one full ball of the cream. If the "1/3 for the sleeves" rule of thumb holds true, that would mean I will need 9 balls of the charcoal......which is all I have. If it takes more than that I will be in deep ka-ka. It looks like I will have more than enough of the cream though as I also bought 9 balls of that and I will likely only need 6.

Should I panic?

Edit: It's funny the things you notice when you stand back a bit. I was proof reading today's entry when I suddenly noticed an error in the pattern that I hadn't yet corrected! It is the same problem I wrote about yesterday.....I guess I just missed one. Good thing the swiss darning works like a charm.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Graphing Error

What happens when you make a single error in "coloring" a chart using "Stitch and Motif Maker" but then "copy and paste" that one corner of the graph 4 times to get the whole graph....and then knit from the resulting graph repeating it a multitude of times? Why you get a multitude of errors of course!


I was in a cold medicine induced haze the other night and was staring bleary eyed at the sleeve-in-progress of the Daugava when all of a sudden the errors just "popped" out at me! Once for each chart repeat I have ONE stitch that was miscolored on the graph. Of course the graph repeats several times around the row, and then every 48 rows I repeat the entire graph. At least the mistakes were consistent!

I would have noticed it sooner except that the "error" actually makes sense (sort of) because it occurs right in the center of the motifs and looks like it should be there. The only problem is the OTHER motifs that occur later in the graph do not have this same mistake so they don't match.

It's a teeny, tiny error even if it is repeated a multitude of times. In the very busy pattern it is not that noticeable. (I had to point it out to my husband and tell him exactly what the problem was). He dismissed it with a snort and a wave of his hand. He said I should just leave it.

I am going to fix it.

NO, NO, NO....I am NOT going to frog the whole darn sleeve! The first error was on the very first line of the main pattern. I am NOT about to rip it back that far. If that was the only alternative then the mistake would be left IN!. What I plan to do is to duplicate stitch/Swiss darn over it in the correct color. Out of sight, out of mind......sort of.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Another Oldie.

I don't quilt much anymore, but here for your viewing pleasure is another project dug up from the past. This small quilt was made somewhere around 12 years ago. The poinsettias in the centers were cut from printed fabric and appliqued.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Borrowing From the Past

Due to the lack of current WIP pictures, I take you back......WAY back 20 1984 and an ornament that I created for our Christmas tree that remains a favorite of mine to this day.

I have another of these done with our (at the time) infant son's photo. The pattern for the picture frame/snowflake ornament came from a "Workbasket" publication that I have since lost.

For a trip down memory lane, check out the hairstyles. On our oldest daughter (on the left) we have the classic "mullet" hairstyle "tres chic" at the time. On the younger daughter is the easier to keep up "mushroom cut". Both girls are holding the much coveted "Cabbage Patch Kid" in home sewn matching outfits of course!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Late Night Experimentation

I decided I wanted a tea cozy. I looked through my craft books and patterns and tried a few. Nothing really seemed to work with the scraps I had in my stash so I tried doing my own thing. After several false starts with a knitted cozy, I switched to crochet and eventually created this:

While its not exactly as I would like, it will do for now. Some day when I have less going on I'll actually go out and buy new yarn and make one of the tea cozies from the "Bazaar Novelties" booklet.

Friday, December 10, 2004

In Danger of Becoming a Baking Blog

My blog has been a little lacking lately in the Knitting/Fiber Arts content. I AM knitting as much as I can, but with all that needs doing in the Christmas season, that is a little less than usual.

My current project, The Daugava, is an elaborate fairisle done in fine fingering yarn. I knit and knit on that project and don't have a lot of progress to show. For those who are interested I am coming close to finishing the first sleeve and will post a picture at that time. It is looking great! I didn't realize HOW great until I slipped the sleeve on and stood in front of a mirror one day. Sometimes you are so close to your project while knitting that you don't realize the impact it has from a distance.

Maggie Ann left a comment here about the doilies in the background of the recent plant pictures. Unfortunately I can't claim credit for those doilies. The large poinsettia doily in the background of the picture of the little poinsettia was made by my mom a few years ago. It has a place of honor on my square coffee table. The little white doily under the African Violet is just a cheapie bought at a dollar store. That one sits on my kitchen table. I refuse to risk my hard work on a doily that is subject to the spills and spots of a messy family dinner table. When the little store bought ones get stained I just throw them out!

I did crochet this one is one of a set of two.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Success by the Dozens

Finally success! I purchased a new Cookie Press at Linens & Things and THIS one works. It is a "Wilton" brand press, and it is made mostly from metal. It is much sturdier than the lesser known brand made from plastic that I originally purchased. The thing is, this much better press was only slightly more money......and it WORKS.

And HERE is the recipe. (Nothing special, just a standard Spritz recipe.)

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


This was the view from our veranda early this morning. Brrr! Pretty though.

By the time we returned from shopping out of town, it had all melted. Yup. That should just about do for winter. Thanks Mother-Nature....we can go back to sunshine now. Oh yeah. I forgot. Around here the choice is not snow or sunshine, it's snow or RAIN.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

We Can't Go On Like This

My husband and I went Christmas shopping today. The idea was to buy gifts for relatives. We couldn't decide on anything for them but we came home with this:

Not just the african violet, but a pretty ceramic pot for it to live in. We also got this:

It's a small poinsettia jazzed up with a bit of sparkly red glitter and sitting in its own Christmas theme pot. I carried it around while still looking at other arrangements. There were bigger ones, fancier ones, rarer ones, and poinsettias mixed artfully with other plant varieties (ALL more expensive!), but it was this little one that really grabbed me. In fact, I tried to put it down when something else caught my eye, but I just had to go back. It's hard to explain but this plant seemed to exude sadness when I put it down. It was like it was expecting to go home with me and I disappointed it. Kinda like picking up a puppy at the pound, fondling it, loving it, and then saying goodbye. Couldn't be done. I had to come home with this little poinsettia.

It's happy now.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

A Day's Work

From the title you thought I was about to show pictures of some great progress on the Daugava? Nope. I spent the day in other pursuits.

First I blocked my daughter's cardigan. Her gauge changed a little in the process of making it and she was a little unhappy with the fit. I added length and width to the sleeves, straightened the button band and added a little depth to the collar. The collar does not stand up like it shows in the was just a convenient way to block it.

In the afternoon I assembled the wire cubicles for my craft room. [Yes, I am one of the lucky ones who actually has a whole room dedicated to their hobby(s)]. I then unloaded numerous plastic tubs and cardboard boxes, filling the cubbies as neatly as possible and in an organized manner.

Okay, so it doesn't look all that neat, but it IS organized and maybe now I will be able to find the things I knew I had in there somewhere but could never find. The neatness will come later when I find enough pretty lidded baskets to file everything away, organized but out of immediate sight.

The large Rubermaid tubs can now be passed onto my kids who REALLY need to box up some of their "collectibles".

The remainder of my day was spent emptying the last of the Christmas decoration boxes and arranging the mantel. I was going to skip it this year but got too many complaints from the kids.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Deck the Dog

I've been busy the past few days decorating for the holiday season. Even Shelby got a touch of the red and green.

Even though she looks a bit peeved in the picture, now that she is used to the collar (and has chewed/shook the bells off) she seems to quite like it and leaves it alone.

I've also been knitting on the Daugava. One of the drawbacks of designing a project like this is that not everything turns out as planned so there is more than the usual amount of frogging going on. 10 rows forward, 15 rows back. I am gradually creeping along though, and I am keeping copious notes so that I can make a second sleeve to match. I am now several rows into the main pattern and I think it is looking pretty good.