Saturday, January 28, 2006

Darned computers

It was a beautiful day in the Copper Country today. My husband and I had planned to take our boys out to Eagle River to feed the deer. Instead, I spent the afternoon banging my head against the fact that all the PC's in the 2 buildings my department supports were not talking to the network, and some of the Suns weren't either.

2 hours and a dented desk later, it's fixed. Then, while I'm here, I might as well do this other thing. And my boss and several of my professors were in and just *HAD* to talk to me about this or that... they couldn't possibly do it during the week when I'm supposed to be actually working.

So, to make a long story shorter, I didn't get to enjoy any of the beautiful day. I had promised my sister to take her boys tonight so she could get a rare night out. After I got home, my husband and the boys played a long, involved game of Heroscape and I relaxed by working on the mountain flowers shawl and watching Judy Garland in Meet Me In St Louis . It's a really good movie and I now find that the shawl pattern is mostly in my hands... only had to pull back two rows for not paying attention to the knitting.

But, as of this point, I'm still going to do my husbands endless sweater for the Knitting Olympics... mostly because I'd feel bad making Stephanie change my entry... and because my husband says things like "So... you're really going to finish my sweater?" every time he sees me pick up something else...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Or not...

After dinner, homework, therapy and everything else that demands attention after work, I sat down to work on the Mountain Flowers Shawl again.... anything to avoid thinking about the endless sweater :)

I decided to put in a movie to hide the noise of the boys fighting about Hot Wheels cars and Puzzle Pirates. I opened the drawer and October Sky fell out. Ok... good movie and the rockets might interest the boys and keep them from killing each other over who owns one of the dozens of red Corvette Hot Wheels they own.

What is it with boys and little cars, anyway? We have nearly 250 of these little cars and yet, when we go to the store, they ask for another... and fight over who owns which one as if it matters!? I mean, it's not as if it's yarn...

Anyway. I put in the movie, picked up the shawl and soon had two little boys sitting watching a movie about 4 boys who set a goal and overcame adversity to achieve it.

I nearly have the pattern in my hands... my husband is getting worried. I don't quite have it, though, because as Laura Dern lay dieing, I lost it. 4 rows later I actually looked through the tears and realized all I had was a mess. Spent the rest of the movie pulling it out and putting it back on the needles... oh well...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

And more practice...

Last night I started a lace shawl (the one from Knitters Stash). It wasn't planned, exactly...

This is one of the projects I considered for the Knitting Olympics and rejected because it would take too much concentration when I was trying to watch the real Olympics. If my hands don't know the pattern (and even sometimes when they do) I can get involved and lose it.... witness the fact that I had to pull back 2 inches of screwed up k2p2 ribbing from the hockey game the other night, because I was busy yelling at the ref...

I'm not sure how I ended up with this shawl on the needles last night. I was walking through the craft room on the way to watch a Babylon 5 episode with my boys. We have this on DVD and they've both really been into it lately. This yarn... this dark green fingering weight angora yarn... soft and lovely... jumped out of one of the stash bins right into my path... I have no idea how. And ... well... the book with the lace pattern I was thinking about was sitting beside my chair in the TV room... and I just happened to have the needle basket handy and right on top was the correct size for the shawl. It was obviously fate.

My husband is aware of the reason I'm working on his sweater instead of some other project. He came into the TV room to get the boys headed up to bed and saw me sitting with this shawl going. He's now worried that I'm working to get the pattern into my hands so I won't finish his sweater during the Olympics, but will, instead, work on a cashmere shawl.

He may be right...

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Practice Practice

My son, Michael, is a champion mitten-looser. He can go through more pairs of mittens than any 4 other children. I seldom make him mittens because he only has them for a week or so and then they disappear into the blackhole of mittens (otherwise known as the School Lost and Found).

However... I just made his little brother (who has managed to keep the same pairs of mittens for 2 years, even while being only in Kindergarten) 3 pairs of socks for hockey. It takes a special pair of socks, according to my little guy, to go under hockey skates. He likes ribbing on the top, above the skate, but the rest needs to be smooth otherwise it gets bunched up where the laces pull tight and makes his feet hurt.

So Michael (who is nearly 10, and in 4th grade) got whiny "You made stuff for Patrick and my hands are freezing" and so, in training for the Knitting Olympics, I sat down with a pile of movies on Saturday and knit him a pair of fair isle mittens. Nothing fancy, New Zealand Wool Pak with some left over mohair/wool. I finished them in about 4 hours (including finishing and and Icord so the chances of losing them in a week are lessened).

So what did he do?

Promptly broke the Icord and lost a mitten. He found it, but was grounded for 2 hours while looking...

I'm making his little brother a pair.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Challenge

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, in particular Stephanie's friend Lene, have inspired me.

3 years ago now, I started a sweater for my husband. It's a really cool looking sport weight sweater called "Cables after Whiskey" by Lucy Neatby. It has random cables and the picture makes it look like some kind of wonderful root system. I happily picked Brown Sheep's Sport weight Mocha to do the sweater in, and because my husband only wears sweaters as outer wear, I decided to do it in the largest size so he could wear it skiing or sledding with the kids as the outer layer.

I don't like sewing up (let's face it, if it gets to that stage, it will sit in my sewing basket forever. I'll feel guilty, but it won't get done. I really really really hate sewing up.) I decided to modify the pattern and do it in the round. As the pattern row is every 8th row, that's 58 inches x 7 rows of straight knitting and then something interesting happens for one lousy row, then back to the endless knitting.

Endless... it goes on and on and on and on... and on... and ... well... the sweater I started for my husband as a Yule gift 3 years ago is sitting in my basket about 10 inches up... waiting... I pick it up when I'm watching something involving that requires my attention-- like the occasional PBS genetics show... I think I've completed 1 inch in the last year.

And so... inspired by Lene and Stephanie.. I'm going to accept Stephanie's Olympic Challenge. I'm going to finish that endless sweater.

I thought about starting something new... something I've been anticipating... like a cashmere lace shawl... I have a beautiful lace weight cashmere which has been in my stash for a couple of years. I even balled it up, savoring every inch of's so soft and pretty and the shawl will be beautiful. I thought of doing the gray alpaca cable cardigan I've had planned for myself for 5 or 6 years. My office is freezing and this would be a wonderful thing to have. I thought of doing fairisle mittens for everyone in the family, the boys lose mittens at an astounding rate. But anything which is "interesting" to knit requires at least partial attention and... I love the Olympics.

I love to watch the Olympics. My husband and I are Olympic junkies. We only own a television set to watch movies, Alton Brown and the Olympics (I'm not kidding).

Summer, Winter, we don't care. I can get just as worked up over something like Greco-Roman Wrestling (I have no clue what they're doing-- but 2 big sweaty guys acting like my kids? Hey, I'm there) as I can about Ladies Figure Skating (Go Michelle!) I can't watch the Olympics and work on something my hands don't already know... 406 inches of straight knitting... 1877+ stitches/1/3 of an inch... about 25 more inches to go plus sleeves... 16 days of Olympics. It will be hard. It will be grueling...

It will be like running the Marathon... I know a Marathon runner who has figured out his pace, and exactly how many steps it takes him to run a Marathon. Edwin Moses, the great Olympic Hurdler, had his pace down so that he would run an exact number of steps between each jump. I think they're nuts... but it's that kind of mentality which will help me finish this sweater in the alloted time.

And so... I'm there... I've started preparing. I have found my pattern (no small feat, as we've moved since I started this sweater. I knew right where it was in the old house... but... things have changed. 2 hours of looking found the right black notebook, which has the original and a copy!). I've found the right bin with the rest of the yarn. I have the sweater and a lovely new basket to put it in right in front of the television (to get it off the bottom of the basket in my bedroom where old projects go to die). I swatched part of a sleeve last night at my son's hockey game to see if I could get the correct gauge. I'm ready.

Let the Games begin!!