Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Confession Time

Okay, it must be said that I did not so much *miss* the deadline, as become distracted and wander blissfully off the path to project completion, smelling the flowers and feeling the warmth of the sun on my face. Somewhere off in the distance, there was a "whoosh", a sonic boom, and the fading wail of the whistle as the deadline went by.

In my defense, I can only say, it was 75 degrees. And sunny. And I did clean up much of the yard, and ride my bike, and still managed to get most of the sleeve done.

I realize that this is old news to the rest of the country, but Spring is Here! (It's different when you see it in your own yard.) Look! Forsythia.

Wee rhubarb plants. (Aren't they cute?)
baby rhubarb

And a bud, yes, a bud on the daffodils.
daffodil in progress

But the prize for first flower of the season, beating even the forsythia?
overachieving dandelions

Even if I didn't actually kind of like dandelions? At least it's not a huge pile of snow.

And then today (to my utter disbelief), the temperatures soared into the 80s. The violets were quite confused but willing.
rather confused violets in bloom

I don't normally see violets until late May or early June. Heck, most of the violets in the yard are too young to date, let alone engage in flowering behavior. (Did all that rampant flowering sexuality distract you from the cardigan? Yes? Excellent!)

Happy Spring!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ignorance is Bliss

The first time I made buttonholes, it was about 2 am on Christmas morning. I'd brought all the completely knitted pieces down to my parents' with me Christmas Eve, and had planned to quickly sew up the cardigan and wrap it before going to bed that night. (Blocking? I'd never heard of blocking.) Since I wasn't admitting I was so late in getting it done, I kept up a normal conversation until I could retreat to the spare room and whip out my needle and yarn. I got it all sewed together (taking longer than I'd planned, but I'm a night owl, I can stay up late). And then I went to sew on the buttons. And realized there was something terribly wrong. Surely the front of the sweater wasn't supposed to look like this?

I quickly whipped out the pattern and carefully perused the photo. There was a trim piece- a button band- going up one side of the cardigan, around the neck and down the other. A careful reading of the pattern showed that I had missed knitting that piece- so shoot me, I'd never made a cardigan before. Fortunately I had all the materials with me. I had approximately six hours before presents were due to be ripped open, and The Plan said I was going to have a *completed* sweater, *neatly wrapped* and *under the tree Christmas morning*.

No one had ever told me that button bands were difficult, that making neat buttonholes could be tricky or that even experienced knitters sometimes fuss over them. I had a pattern, it instructed me how to make buttonholes, and so I just did it. I knit like the furies were waiting to eat me if I somehow failed to finish this sweater. I knit yards and yards and yards of that danged nine-stitch across button-band. And when it was done, I sewed it to the sweater, sewed on the buttons, carefully wrapped it, and slipped downstairs to place it under the tree. It was 5 am, and I yawned through the holiday, but the sweater was warmly received and looked perfectly fine notwithstanding the last minute panic.

It is this sort of thing I have been thinking about while knitting the very same design of button band for the current sweater.

I finally frogged the first sleeve and started reknitting it this evening.

I'm trying to use up pretty much all the yarn, so I am getting the button band started early. I'm figuring on getting the last sleeve done, then knitting half the button band ball onto the bottom (leaving some to finish knitting the band), then use the last full skein as ribbing. This is probably making life overly difficult, but the economy of using all the yarn was one of the things that made me choose this design to begin with. And I do love a Plan.

And speaking of Plans, that whooshy deadline noise is working up to a dull roar. I really want to have this sweater done for early next week. Like Monday, early next week. One sleeve and a bit of ribbing, that's not too much, is it?

Of course I can't actually blow off *everything* this weekend to knit. And my husband has started dropping delicate hints that maybe this is a Christmas cardigan after all- next Christmas. But I have a Plan, darnit. And I don't *know* that I can't knit a whole sleeve and a bit of ribbing and block this ready for Monday, the way the Plan says.

Ignorance is bliss.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

It's a Scarf! No, a Blanket! No, a Scarf!

Okay, aside from this yarn not telling me what it was until *after* it was knitted, this was pretty straightforward. I didn't like the yarn knitted together (my original scarf idea), so I knitted blocks. But I found that I had less yarn than I thought, and only got 5 blocks in two colors. Not even superior powers of geometry could let me make that into a symmetrical arrangement that I liked (I'm big on symmetry. Someday I'll tell you about frogging a zillion rows of cable because it didn't mirror the one on the other side...) Anyway, as it turned out, sewing all the blocks together in one long strip? Makes a scarf.

Yes, Woats was surprised, too.

And thanks to carrying it around during all the sewing-together and keenly observing reactions to it? I even know who I was making it for. I love it when a plan comes together! (This wasn't it, but I do love it when it happens!)