Are you panicking yet?

Wisp scarf, knit using Debbie Bliss’ Angel yarn

Now that the turkey has been consumed – along with the green beans and sweet potatoes and stuffing, not to mention the pumpkin pies – we have started the stress filled countdown to Christmas. 27 days…less than four weeks…are you feeling dizzy yet?

I’ve been working on my Christmas knitting since the middle of summer, and I’d be done if I weren’t so easily distracted. But since I appear to have the attention span of a gnat on crack (thanks to my lovely husband for that phrase), I have completed quite an impressive number of projects, but only two Christmas gifts.

It was with this serious deficiency in mind, then, that I found a couple of really great projects that I’d like to call to your attention if, like me, you find yourself with an ever dwindling amount of time and a list of finished objects that refuses to grow regardless of your efforts.

First up is “Wisp”, a very pretty scarf knit with silk/mohair yarn whose beauty belies the complexity of the pattern. A shortish scarf can be made with a single skein of yarn; two skeins will result in a luxuriously long, fluffy strip of mmmmm! I’ve used Debbie Bliss’ “Angel” yarn, and the 15 row pattern is so easy to remember (you really only need to keep track of your rows) that I was able to knit up the first skein in less than a week whilst working on a bunch of other stuff at the same time (in other words, I knit for about an hour at a whack once or twice a day over the course of a week). In addition to being really quite pretty, people will think it took immense amounts of skill and focus to create when, in truth, 99% of the greatness of this scarf is due to the yarn.

Alberta Clipper Boot Socks (Ravelry link), knit on size 4 needles using Cascade 220 yarn

Next are the “Alberta Clipper Boot Socks”. Knit in worsted weight yarn on size 4 needles, I was able to finish the first sock in less than a day, and the second one is nearly finished as well.

I used Cascade 220, and the results are incredible. They’re thick and squishy, and look soooo very warm. As soon as I’m done with the Christmas knitting, I’m going to make myself a pair. And maybe a pair for each of my kids. And Alex (yes, they’re quick enough that I’d be willing to knit a man-sized pair). Spike (our chihuahua) might even get some.

I have some more quick ideas, but I’ll have to tell you about them tomorrow.

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Tying up Some Loose Ends

What a spectacular day this has been. Thanks to a storm that started out up by Alaska, we had cool temperatures and overcast skies – a rare occurrence in San Diego – this morning. And right about the time that the evening commute was getting ready to start, an angry and persistent mist/shower started up. No doubt the 11:00 news will tout this as the “storm of the century” (as they do every time it rains).

Max, Penny and I ventured out just before lunch to pick up some essentials, and to take advantage of the temperature change to stock up on “winter clothes” for Miss P. She made an impressive haul, and might get a chance to wear one or two of the outfits before this storm moves on and leaves us with our regular warm October weather.

Upon returning home and putting Penny down for her nap, I made good use of the nearly quiet house to finish up two projects that were recently off the needles but not quite done.

First up is Jojo’s Entrelac Scarf. I started this last December, and brought it with me for the Christmas Eve festivities at my in-law’s house. In the confusion that often accompanies leaving at the end of a party, especially one where gifts have been exchanged, I left the scarf sitting on the back of the couch. My mother-in-law, who is an impressive knitter and crocheter, was intrigued by the design and attempted to reverse engineer it. She eventually gave in, and proceeded to hold the scarf hostage until I had an opportunity to sit down with her and show her how it was done.

Needless to say it was many months before I finally got the scarf back, and I had moved on to more emergent knitting deadlines. So the scarf was placed unceremoniously into the-basket-that-holds-projects-that-I-started-but-will-likely-never-finish. And there it stayed until last week, when Alex cleaned up both our living room and our bedroom and the basket ended up sitting in the middle of the bed, begging to be dealt with.

I salvaged several of the projects, and all of the yarn, and decided it was time to finish Jojo’s scarf. And finish it I did. Look, I have proof!

Next up is the “Cardigan for Merry,” which is not for Merry, but is instead for Penny. The cables on this sweater nearly killed me, but now, looking at the finished product, they were totally worth it. I have to remove the buttons and turn them 90 degrees, because the top one hits her right under her little chin. I may also adjust the spacing a bit, but that would necessitate moving the loops as well, so that might not happen. Any way, I’m very pleased that she’ll be able to wear it tomorrow (since it will probably still be chilly).


So, now that those two are off my list, I should probably get back to the mittens…

The end is in sight…

You know, blogging would be much easier if I could just sit down and write. My problem is I don’t think about doing it until I’m the only adult in a house full of little kids. Ok, so two little kids doesn’t quite fill my house, but they certainly fill my day!

I was going to tell you about how the mittens I mentioned in my last couple of posts didn’t quite make me happy, due to the non-stretchy cast on I’d used. And how, after Helena recommended using a tubular cast on, I re-knit them. And how the resulting cast on edge, while being nice and stretchy, didn’t look quite right, but I didn’t realize this until I was half done with the second mitten and running out of time to finish my Christmas knitting, so I just let it go. And how, when I started the second pair, I actually looked up “tubular cast on” online, rather than using the directions I had for a cardigan that had the same cast on, and found out that I’d used directions for knitting flat (no purls) instead of directions for knitting in the round (I used a combination of directions, found here and here). The second pair of mittens has a more correct edge, although I sort of like how the first pair looks.

Screwed up tubular cast on

Proper tubular cast on

I was also going to tell you about staying up until almost 2:00am working on the blue scarf, because I was so close to being finished and all of the children were in bed so I could actually concentrate. And how, once finished, the scarf was only five feet long, which is fine for a California scarf (where warmth is secondary to looking cool), but falls short for a Wisconsin scarf (where it will be wrapped multiple times around the wearers neck to trap as much warm air as possible, and make the wearer look like they might have whiplash).

And I was going to beg someone – anyone – to explain to me how to pick up stitches for a mitten thumb properly, because I started the second thumb for the Ruba’iyat Mittens five or six times, each time either making or imagining a different mistake.

But it has taken me so long to sit down at my computer and do more than just jot down random, poorly strung together thoughts that I don’t remember exactly what I was trying to say. So instead, I leave you with this. Only one sock left to go, and my Christmas knitting will be complete.

Finished projects, drying after a wash.

Kind of Cheating

Yay! I finished a Christmas project today! But, I kind of feel like I cheated with this one. Yes, it needed to be done. But, really?

Little Kid Mittens, based on this pattern, using Fiesta Boomerang in Clematis colorway.

Next up is a slightly larger pair, in this lovely yarn…

Fiesta Boomerang, Riviera colorway

I feel like I’m cheating, because these mittens took less than a day each to make, and I should really be finishing some of my other Christmas gifts. However, the mittens are gifts, and just as important as the other items. I think that what I really needed was to work on a project that I could finish both quickly and well in order to abolish the air of procrastination which has permeated both my knitting and my blogging as of late.

Here is the updated Christmas Knitting List:

  1. Thumb for second mitten
  2. Scarf (60% done)
  3. Second Turkish Sock (still not even started)
  4. Two One little kid gifts (I’m making mittens, and I’ll purchase them a toy… they’re really little, and should have toys as well as mittens)

My goal for tomorrow is to finish the second pair of little kid mittens, and do 10 pattern repeats on the scarf. I’ll let you know how that goes!


Making some progress

I think I’ve finally figured out a way to make some progress on my Christmas knitting. I can knit on the scarf (which is a single color) while I hold onto Penny, and I work on the mittens (which are two colors) during her little mini-naps. My goal is to finish 10 rows on the mittens and 10 repeats on the scarf each day. So far, this seems to be working out. Here are the mittens after two days of knitting:

Even though I’ve made some progress on the scarf, it looks pretty much the same (only longer) as the last photo of it, so I’ll spare you.

Now, an update on my trip to Julian to visit the yarn store there. I have it on good authority that the store is cool, and that they have really neat stuff in there, but that’s all I can tell you. When I got to Julian, I found that many of the shops and restaurants are closed on Tuesdays, and some are closed on Mondays as well. This is very unfortunate, as the entire town is super busy on the weekends and I try to avoid going there on Saturday and Sunday, and shepherding a three year old through the stores while carrying an infant (which is how I’d have to do it on Wednesdays or Fridays) is just too overwhelming to think about. Which leaves me with Thursday. Thursday is do-able, but not this week. I couldn’t justify two trips up the mountain in a single week, and next Thursday is Thanksgiving, so it looks like the very last thing I’ll be doing on my maternity leave is checking out that store (my leave ends on 3 December).

Finally, for anyone coming to the blog for updates on Penny rather than my knitting, she’s doing great. She slept from 9:00 pm until 5:30 this morning, which means that I got my first full night’s sleep in several months. I feel wonderful and ready to play – and knit – my Friday away. The girls are off next week for Thanksgiving, and my sister-in-law is hosting Thanksgiving dinner, so I just have to whip up a few very simple items to share rather than stressing over the house and the turkey and the pies (oh, my!).

I hope you have a lovely day.

Back on Track…mostly

Today, the girls went to school and Alex went to work. Max went to hang out with his grandma & grandpa. And my parents were safely back in Wisconsin. Which left just Penny and me at home. Alone.

I tried to knit while I nursed her, but I felt guilty and set my needles and yarn down so I could chat with her. I tried to knit when she fell asleep. But she woke up just a few minutes after I put her in her crib.

I was beginning to think that I’d have to send photos of the mitten, scarf, and sock to their intended recipients with a note saying they’d have their gifts soon. But then…

After six hours of dozing and waking and eating, my little Penny finally fell asleep for real. I finished another three inches on the scarf, and watched a cop show on TV. And she’s still asleep.  Which gives me hope for the laundry and dishes (although not a lot of hope. I’d rather return to the couch and knit some more).

Since yesterday was the first time in ages that I posted, and I only posted pictures of the lovely Penny & handsome Max, I used up a bit of Miss P’s sleep time to take some photos of the projects I mentioned yesterday. And here they are:

Cabled Rangoli Hat by Desi , using Cascade 220 and size 5 needles

Scarf with the Clarence Border from Weldons, from Victorian Lace Today, using Cascade 220 and size 6 needles.

Ruba’iyat Mittens (Ravelry link) knit with O-Wool Legacy DK using size 2 needles.

I’m sure it didn’t escape your notice that the one mitten that is shown still doesn’t have a thumb. Worse than that, the other mitten that goes with this pair isn’t even started yet. And I’m sure you likewise noticed the abbreviated length of the scarf. Yes, I have a lot of knitting still to do before the end of the month. I therefore am going to say good bye for today, go check on the lovely Penny, and get back to work.

Have a lovely afternoon!


Wow…

…it’s been a while, hasn’t it. Allow me to catch you up with what’s been going on in my little house, and share some photos along the way.

First, Miss Penelope Aryanna made her appearance on the 25th of October at 9:52 pm in a rather dramatic way (you can read about it here, courtesy of her really cool dad). I was actually scheduled to go in to the hospital the next day for induction, but Penny decided au natural was the best way to go. If her entrance into the world is any indication, she’s going to be an interesting teenager (very “my way or the highway” sort of personality). Penny wore her pumpkin hat, lovely sweater, and new socks home from the hospital, and was oooo’d and aaaaa’d at by all who passed us by.

Even Max thinks she’s cool…

During Penny’s first two weeks here, I started a Christmas gift scarf six or seven times before finally settling on a pattern I liked. However, due to her insane eating habits and tendency to be awake for most of the day, I’ve only finished about 15″ of it. This is not the only gift knitting I have left to do. Oh no. Not even close. I have the second Turkish sock to knit, one mitten plus a thumb to finish, and two little pair of mittens that I’ve not even picked a pattern for  yet. Yikes!! And by my calculations, I have about 3 weeks to finish all of them.

Last week my mom & dad came out to meet Miss P and to spend some time with the rest of our monkeys. It was a lovely visit, even though we mostly hung out at the house and just talked and goofed off (honestly, this was perfect… very relaxing and wonderful). Max helped dad out in the yard, Penny maxed out her Grandma-spoiling opportunities, and Jojo and Sami had a day off from school, which they spent designing Christmas cards with my mom.

Well, Miss P and Max have executed a perfectly synchronized wake-up, and my coffee cup is empty. I will be back.