Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Any Random Tuesday

But! This is no random Tuesday. Because, lo, there was vacation time, and the year being busy, the vacation time it was not used. And HR spake unto the knitter and said, 'this vacation time, it must be used, or it will lost forever in the mists of time'. And the knitter said, 'woe! for the job is never done, so when may I take the vacation time?' And then the maintenance manager said, 'the plant must be closed and the boiler shut down, that maintenance and safety inspections may be performed upon it'. And the knitter said, 'extreme woe! for this means my office shall not have heat', and the knitter spake unto her boss and said, 'this week, I shall take my vacation'. And though his lamentations were many, she was firm.

And therefore, I am at home, where the wind is blowing so hard the furnace has been running all day and we still haven't got the temperature up to the thermostat setting. Which leads me to wonder if there isn't some cosmic rule that I have to freeze this week. Despite this, I am reveling in having unscheduled time off, when I am neither traveling, nor grossly overcommitted to some project or other.

So- now for some random:
1. My charming and talented sister (about whom I really need to talk more and show off some of her work) has a business designing and making jewelry as well as handmade soaps and herbal lotions. Extremely nice stuff, and her wonderfully mild soap is the only thing standing between me itching to death while drowning in gallons of lotion this time of year (that would be, dry-skin season). She's experiencing some veterinary-bill-related cash flow issues at the moment, and running a sale at her Esty shop to address the situation.

2. Speaking of my sister Kate, she was the recipient of the single most troublesome knitted article for Christmas this year. Way back in May, I started a pair of mitts for her:
late unlamented Austrian cabled mitts
These started out with the basic pattern of the mitts I made her last year (based on Eunny Jang's Endpaper Mitts). I chose some Trekking sock yarn left from the socks she got last year. I took the needle size down to 1 and increased the number of stitches. Then I decided to do the palm in reverse stockinette, added the cable pattern from the Austrian cabled socks in Interweave's best socks collection and did something funky I'd rather not discuss with the thumb increases. The result...wasn't successful. I didn't like the reverse stockinette, and the cable pattern, which would probably be fine in a heavier weight yarn, was driving me straight round the bend in fingering weight. I had started it as travel knitting (!), decided it was too fussy, and then put it into an extended time-out during which I optimistically thought, 'it'll be fine when I get it home and can work on it in good light'.

Um, not so much. So with Christmas looming on the calendar, I finally bit the bullet, ripped it back to the cuff and changed to a colorwork pattern. Which went much more quickly, and I finished days before the holiday.
fingerless mitts

3. Finishing the danged mitts was a very good thing, because I needed the size 1 needles the mitts were on, to make socks for my father. Now, normally it takes me two weeks to make a pair of socks for myself. Why I thought I could finish a pair of socks for my dad in a week is...more unrealistic optimism. But, I came pretty close. My family celebration was slated for Boxing Day this year, giving me an extra day of knitting time. And the sock yarn was Patons Kroy Sock which, when I swatched it, I found that it was somewhat heavier than the sock yarns I was accustomed to. Despite the larger size, I only needed 96 stitches around in the Kroy. So I chose a simple pattern (Twin Rib from Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks) and started knitting determinedly. And knit, and knit, and knit. I hardly did anything else all week (except, y'know work, eat, sleep and stuff).(To be strictly fair, I used only the *stitch pattern* from the book, since the Schurch pattern calls for top down construction with a heel flap and a 1x1 ribbed cuff, whereas I did toe-up with a short-row heel and 3x3 ribbed cuff.)

And I would have made it, had I not run out of yarn. I came up 3/4" short. Argh. So, I pulled some from the first sock to finish the second, and then ripped back the first cuff and reknit that to the same cuff length. Result- I finished the socks and wove in ends while we opened gifts and was able to send the pair home with my dad. So, it was very close, but not quite a win. (Pitching the socks into a gift bag standing ready under the tree as the guests ring the doorbell would have counted. This was a near-miss.)

4. And the indirect reason my (totally reasonable and non-insane) Christmas knitting plan was derailed was an extraneous sweater (about which more anon, as this post is getting rather long).

5. Woats thinks this whole 'people all the time' vacation thing is marvelous. As far as she's concerned, this is all designed to provide her with continuous lap. I haven't discouraged this- not only is it extremely cute, it's also warm.
Woats is on top of the situation

And now I shall confound the cat's expectations by going to the grocery store, and then come home and build a fire, and quite likely make hot chocolate. I wonder how long it would take to knit long johns?


  1. Longjohns for you or for the cat?! BIG difference, for sure. And I'm not sure how you'd get the cat into them... unless they were for you and the cat found them piled on a chair or sofa and decided to nestle into them, while you stand shivering and wondering how to get him out of them without them suffering claw damage in the process. Hmmmm. ;-)

  2. hee hee! Are you thinking about it? I bet if you used a heavier weight yarn, it wouldn't be too bad.

    Two phrases I particularly like and may use - "continuous lap" (lucky kitty!) and "HR spake." hehehe.

    Enjoy your week off!

  3. Hot chocolate. Nirvana. Warms the toes on a cold day. (Brrr--good luck!)

  4. If you really need to knit pet longjohns, Aiko is a defective husky and would love the warm. :)