How to drive someone crazy from 1100 miles away

29 December 2007

Well, that didn't suck

So, despite all my dread and woe, Christmas didn't suck. The food came out deliciously (crock-pot pot roast and a chocolaty upside down cake, made by me), everyone seemed pleased with their gifts, no one lost an eye. Good times. So, let's move on past Christmas and get to the good stuff.

Knitting content!

Despite my best efforts, I cannot bring myself to do the finishing work on the Eyelet Cardigan. The pattern instructions advise seaming the sleeves and body, then setting in the sleeves, and I thought it was possible they knew more about their own pattern than me, so I did what they told me. Any other cardi in the world wants the sleeves set in first, and now I know why. It is much easier to seam along a curve if you can get the piece to lie flat, rather than standing there like an idiot with a darning needle and trying to wrangle the pieces into some sort of seamable shape. It is not going well, and it pains me that I didn't listen to my instincts, because now most of my ends are woven in and there are only those two stupid setting-in seams to go, and I want to throw the thing across the room at every opportunity. This is not a hobby for the faint of heart. I've picked the first seam out three times, and I fully intend to finish this today. I think the shoulders have some sort of vendetta against me.

I picked up Yoshi's Skully sweater again, since the extra yarn arrived and I can finally finish the sleeves. I way, way over bought this time, and am going to have at least a full skein of Lamb's Pride Bulky in charcoal to get rid of. There's about six inches of straight stockinette to be done, then four rows of garter, two quick seams, and then it's wearable. Oh, and weighs about twelve pounds. I think it will be worn for one picture, then folded lovingly and put away forever. Unless, of course, Yoshi and I decide to go see Cygknit while there is still snow on the ground. Let's hope global warming doesn't ruin it for us.

Oh, and I knit this little tri-cornered roll-brim hat.

It's for my handsome and amazing nephew, shown blocking on a little balloon. Super easy pattern; I just cast on seventeen inches of stitches and made sure the number was divisible by 6, then worked an inch in the round. Threw in a purl ridge to stop the roll, then kept going until I felt like stopping. Threw in three rows that decreased 6 stitches each (spaced by even rows), and then came the bind-off, which is the detail that makes this hat. Put 1/6 of the stitches on a DPN, put the next 1/6 on another DPN. Work a three-needle bind off on these (unless you don't care for the defined edges, in which case a graft will produce a softer edge), and put the last stitch on a safety pin. Do this three times, and the corners pop out nice and sharp. Take those three stitches and weave the end through the first, then pick up a stitch between the first and second to weave (this closes up the little stretched-out holes n the top). Work that all the way around until you're sick of it, duplicate stitching any loose spots. Weave in the ends. Mail to Connecticut and hope to see a picture of the baby in it on his mama's blog. Feel clever.

22 December 2007

Here it comes, and here we go again...

I'm sure you will all recall last year's Christmas fiasco with as much angst as I do. I have really come to dread and despise this wretched holiday, and this year is really no different. I'm not looking forward to any of this at all.
So, why do I keep doing this? My parents are coming to my apartment (just like last year! Yippee!) to do the celebrating (of what, I am not entirely certain), because I have somehow convinced them that the drive is too taxing to come to them, seeing as how in their understanding, I work every freaking day. They are trying to let me get rested by coming to me. Perhaps they don't realize how much work it is to get the place ready for them, then to recover from the visit. I think I keep moving Christmas to my place in a desperate attempt to not have a repeat of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was awful this year, let me tell you. In ways I don't want to mention, out of sensitivity to those with weak stomachs. But, it's a Christmas miracle the new and ingenious ways that my incredibly shitty luck finds to make every holiday a new point of misery.
Hear that? It's the sound of me bracing myself. Get used to it, it'll be around for the next four days.
Oh, and I am knitting, but it's really unexciting and not at all interesting, unless Santa brings me a blocking board for Christmas. At which point we will have a new background for all our knitting pictures.

12 December 2007

Too much yarn?

I recently read Zarzuela's post about overwhelming stash anxiety. And it got me to thinking, how much yarn is too much yarn for me? Of course, I realize that "too much" is an incredibly subjective term. One knitter's too much is another knitter's just right, and some knitters use yarn to insulate their houses, so really, it's about finding what works for you. I have a few guidelines for determining your personal value of too much yarn:
  1. Will you die before it all gets knit? Do you like your knitting friends well enough to leave them your stash in this event? If you think you are not enough enamored of your friends to leave your treasure behind, consider either making better friends, lowering your standards, being buried with the stash, or destashing. Your non-knitting friends and relatives will not understand what to do with your laceweight.
  2. Does your stash present a hazard or discomfort to those you live with? Will passing children get tangled and strangle in the stash? Do you often lose pets in the stash? Do your housemates have enough room for their own possessions? If you answer yes, there are some subjective factors to consider: do you really like children all that much? Were those pets just troublemakers? And as to the housemates, when did they get so materialistic that they need all that stuff taking up your potential stash storage space? Of course, we must always consider the spatial needs of others when we co-exist in the same quarters, but perhaps they are not really considering your needs. One only realizes an other's selfishness when being selfish themselves. If this all makes you a bit uncomfortable, it may be time to destash.
  3. Do you continue to purchase stash-enhancing items even though you have been living on ketchup-covered saltines and coffee with sugar stolen from the gas station? If your stash is taking up more of your money than is wise and frugal for your needs, then you must consider some of these factors: How much am I saving on heating the house by letting the yarn insulate it? Wasn't it time I dropped ten pounds anyway? By letting the car get repossessed, aren't I helping the environment by not emitting dangerous greenhouse gases? Who needs to buy insurance when you know you prefer to live on the edge? Can't you sell some blood or something? If you haven't got enough money to support the growing stash, you may consider destashing.
  4. Do you look at the stash with despair when you realize your tastes in yarn have changed since you bought 700 miles of synthetic suede? Did you buy a holy-cow large amount of novelty yarn when you were a new knitter and now realize that if it ain't simple wool, it ain't you? If your stash no longer suits your needs and personal style, ponder these things: Can you trade some of that hideous fun fur to a new knitter for a simple ball of Aurora 8 and a lesson (trying not to utter the word "sucker" much over your breath)? Should you donate the offending yarn to a local preschool in hopes that karma will bring you a windfall of soft organic cotton? If you aren't willing to chance bargaining with the universe, it may be time to destash.
  5. Have you considered that the problem is not that you have too much yarn, but not enough needles? Perhaps not enough patterns?

In thinking all this through carefully, and closely examining the stash to realize that I have five women's sweaters, two men's sweaters, three baby sweaters, four pairs of socks, two shawls, two pairs of mitts or gloves, one scarf, five or six or nine hats, three bags, a bathrobe or blanket (haven't decided), and twice that much yarn in "stuff with potential", I feel I have just enough stash. We should not, however, ask Yoshi his opinion on the subject.