10 pm Christmas eve, the last end of the last knitted gift is woven in, the baking is done, and I'm only a couple of gift bags away from being fully wrapped. Okay, that was maybe a little closer than I wanted to cut it. Partly it's that I was so close to being finished that I took the time to do other things. And partly-
Well, in addition to other useful tips for Christmas knitting, I'd like to mention that if you should a) decide to knit a pattern you've never knit before as a gift, and b) if when you swatch this pattern you find that you *cannot* get gauge in the yarn you have on hand, and c) you decide to use the yarn you have and rewrite the pattern to make it all work....you should possibly not leave this gift to be the last one. Deadlines on the calendar may be closer than they appear.
So. About that enlightenment. Being as I was busy rewriting a knitting pattern on the solstice, I didn't really have time for more than a brief cheer as the sun started to return, but I did indeed note it. I don't mind winter, not even twenty-plus inches of snow we got over the weekend- but the dark, now. The dark, I really hate.
So last week (or the week before??) I was running around trying to make things more light. Exhibit A: I retrieved this lamp from a dark corner (where it was banished due to ugliness) and gave it a place of honor in the living room. It may be ugly, but it has a 100-watt fixture.
Then there was this lamp, Exhibit B. If memory serves, it came from a household auction when I was furnishing my first apartment after college. It's a torchiere style, but I found a shade that would clip onto the bulb. It went very well with my Early Garage Sale decor- which is to say nothing matched, so it didn't stand out in the least. Then it experienced a severe electrical failure, and was unplugged for reasons involving not wanting to burn anything down. I eventually got replacement electrical bits from the hardware store and rewired it, but the shade was unsalvageable. So last week I finally dragged the lamp with me to the hardware store and got a shade that actually fit it.
Next up was Exhibit C, another floor lamp with lovely wrought-iron-work that my parents got us. That started making unpleasant crackling noises during the summer and also got unplugged (see re: Exhibit B, not burning things down). This lamp had already been rewired- my dad did it before he gave it to us. So that I gave a little more thought to. The bulb is always the first thing to check, but that wasn't it. (A relief since I'm glad to know that bulbs don't make that sort of noise.) The cord seemed to be in good shape, and was anyway not likely, since the lamp had been rewired so recently. That left the switch. I got a new switch, replaced it, and yay! Another working lamp.
That brings us to the last and most challenging barrier to my aspirations to extreme candlepower. Exhibit D- it's one of four hanging lamps in the library, almost brand new, and with the diabolical timing usually known only to major appliances, it stopped working about six weeks after the warranty ran out.
We've verified that there's current going into the lamp. So. This seems likely to be a switch problem as well. The lamp has three bulbs which can be turned on using one switch. With considerable difficulty, I dismantled the fixture and located the switch. The replacement switch appears to be the right sort. I carefully unwired the old switch, wired up the new one, and we rehung the lamp (from the 14-foot cathedral ceiling--oy!). And--it doesn't work. Darn and drat. So I'm back to square one. Time to finally break down and get a multimeter, and go over this again from the start. Because after going to all the trouble to take the darned thing apart once, I'm not accepting defeat.
In the meantime..I'm three lights ahead of the game. And I'm not staying up until four am knitting, either. I call it a net win for the season.
Happy holidays, and I hope you're not knitting until 4 am either!