Sunday, November 27, 2005

Project Completion Award Nominations

Award #1: Announcer: We are pleased to present a Project Completion Award to Gail, for her completion of a three color tweed scarf for her brother!

Judges Comments:
Yes, Gail deserves this award for several reasons. First, perseverance. The Garter Slip Stitch III, from 405 Knitting Stitches, Volume 2, Harmony Guides, was boring, boring, boring. And, the stitch sucked yarn like crazy!! Second, this was a Knitting Black Hole Project, KBHP. At times, three hours of knitting resulted in negative progress, a rare occurrence but real nonetheless. Finally, the project was completed BEFORE Christmas, and in time to be sent in ordinary surface mail.

Award #2

Announcer: Gail has also been nominated for a Project Completion Award for her Mittens from Halland, from Marcia Lewandowski's Folk Mittens.

Judge's Comments: I'm sorry, but this nomination doesn't fly. Gail nominated herself for her award. She argues that she has knit enough to make three mittens, not just two. This is the third time she has frogged and re-shaped the top of the mitten, trying to make it anatomically correct while maintaining the integrity of the pattern. A Project Completion Award is for COMPLETION, not the number of stitches knit. Sorry, Gail, nice try, but NO AWARD.

Award #3
In the category of little knitting trinkets, Gail is awarded an Honorable Mention Project Completion Award.
Judge's Comments: Yes, these little do-dads are cute, but they really aren't knitting. The judges were divided on this award. Some argue that Project Completion Awards should be reserved only for items that are hand knit. The pureness of the award should be preserved. Others argue that handmade knitting paraphenalia should be included because it encourages the knitter, and motivates her/him to higher productivity. Until the judges make a firm decision on what qualifies for the awards, we are giving out honorable metions.

Award #4:
Announcer: Gail nominates herself for a Project Completion Award for the decoration of her fireplace mantel in a Christmas motif.
No award has been made.
Judge's comments: That's right. Awards are NOT made for non-knitting related accomplishments.
Gail's comment: Hey, wait a minute. I can't knit 24 hours a day. AND, decorating the mantel for Christmas IS knitting related!! Christmas decorations in the house spur me on to greater speeds in completion of knitted Christmas presents. Plus, I love to knit by candle light on the sofa in front of the fireplace.
Judge's Comments: Nice try, sweetie pie, but no Project Completion Award. You might want to submit this nomination to the House Cleaning and Decoration Award department......

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Stagnant knitting

Is there anything as sad as stagnant knitting? I haven't had time to knit recently! In a moment of sheer optimism, I invited a number of international students from my graduate program for a post-thanksgiving pot luck on Friday. Luckily, my knitting fairy/goddess was looking out for me!! No one responded to the RSVP by Monday!! I have two choices: I can feel despondent that no one likes me, or I can rejoice that I have more knitting time!!! I take the second choice!!!
Last Saturday I spent the entire day cleaning two rooms of our house in preparation for the now cancelled event. I vacuumed, dusted, washed, polished, moved furniture, put furniture back in place, etc., etc. until I wanted to run away and leave the rest of the cleaning to the cleaning fairy--who doesn't seem to exist!
I am now procrastinating a project due in a course tomorrow, by reading blogs and updating mine.
Meanwhile, my unfinished sock, the almost done scarf, my abandoned sweater and the not yet started baby blanket are all moaning and sobbing in the background, begging for attention and love. Sigh, back to Information Architecture metadata.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

November 14, 2005

OK, vale, vale. Aqui estan algunas fotos! Point well made. Blogs are much more fun with photos!! I agree. On the left is a photo of my mother, selling scarves at a craft fair at our church. Both she and my sister knit the scarves. My sister uses two strands of yarn, one of eyelash or similar yarn and the other of some coordinating chenille or other fantasy yarn. The other is a photo of the birdhouse ornaments that my father was selling at the same craft fair. His passion is wood working and in the past few years he has cut back from making big things and has concentrated on turning things on a lathe. These birdhouses are made of three pieces of wood, each a different type of wood.

As you can see, I come by my passion for creating things honestly! I am the oldest of five children, the first three of which are girls. Our family sewing machine was in the kitchen, across from the family dining table. Often, all of us, including my mother, had sewing projects in the works. It was not unusual to have to clear the table of sewing projects in order to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner. Patterns, pins, fabric, buttons and all were always scattered around the room. My sisters were the creative ones; I stuck to the patterns. With knitting, I am only somewhat more creative. I am, perhaps, one of those whom Elizabeth Zimmerman labelled "blind followers." Here are some photos that illustrate the point.

I always have at least one sock on the needles, in a zip lock sandwich bag, in my purse. Ready for knitting at cafes, at stop lights, whenever I have a few seconds to knit a stitch or a row or two. This pattern is from XRX's Socks, Socks, Socks, the Feather and Fan. It is a famous old stitch pattern. I jazzed it up by using two colors and adding stripes of color with garter stitch at intervals on the cuff. I am combining left over yarn and one skein of new yar. I think I will need to make the foot of the sock two colors as well. don't you just love how the increases and decreases of the lace pattern make wavy stripes instead of straight stripes??? isn't knitting the ultimate in cool??!!
Here are mittens in progress that are still posing a problem--I deviated from the pattern with more questionable results. The pattern is from a great mitten book, Folk Mittens, by marcia Lewandowski. They are modelled after Norwegian jerseys from Halland, typically made in red and black. I am using Cascade 220 worsted weight wool and a variegated angora by Lisa Harding. However, I added the ribbed portion at the wrist, to prevent cold air from bothering that sensitive spot on the body!! I also didn't like the shaping of the top of the mitten, so I tried to do anatomically correct shaping, which is not symmetrical. I've done the shaping twice now, and I think I need to "frog" it for the third time and try another shaping. Maybe I'll even go back to the pattern itself!! Enough of innovation. Don't you love the initials on the inside of the right cuff??? The old Halland jerseys had initials on the front, just below the placket. By the way, these are the mittens that my younger daughter proclaimed would not be worn by the older daughter!!! But, just wait until she tries them on. The angora is so very, very soft on the hand and it will feel so inviting when the temperatures are consistently below freezing.

Finally, here is a photo of a scarf I am making for my brother for christmas. The yarn is from Elspeth Lavold's collection, made of wool and silk. I am using a tweed slip stitch, that is in many knit stitch books. This one came from 450 Knitting Stitches, Volume 2, of the Harmony Guides. In that book it is called garter slip stitch III. All rows are knit stitch. I am hoping that this is a good "man" scarf and I think the yarn with silk will be good for the weather in the Pacific Northwest where really cold weather never happens.

This is a close up of the stitch. It's subtle. Maybe too subtle. Definitely for a man who does NOT want to wear a scarf that blares "My sister made me this colorful scarf for Christmas!!!!"

Sunday, November 13, 2005

November 13, 2005

No photos today. I can't bear to take photos of my unfinished projects. If I post a photo, I willl: 1) be embarrassed that I haven't finished it; 2) be embarrassed that it doesn't look as good as I envisioned it would; 3) be embarrassed that I would have to post 2,000 photos to show all of my unfinished projects!! Therefore, please sympathize with me! I can't bear to knit another stitch on a three color, tweed stitch scarf for my brother that seems to suck up knitting time without showing progress; and that I can't bear to measure the sleeves for my brother's aran sweater for fear that the the entire sweater will be too small (can I help it that his girth grew while I was knitting the sweater???); I can't bear to decipher the Dale pattern that tells how to decrease for the sleeves, the neck and the back and the front simultaneously at different rates; and that I would LOVE to cast on for a new project!!!

Also, those of you who have knit for fickle family members, please sympathize with me as well. I am about to insert the thumb in the second of an absolutely beautiful mitten for oldest daughter. The pattern is from Folk Mittens, and I used an angora yarn and Cascade 220 wool. the angora yarn's changing colors, from blue to purple, are irridescent against the deep burgundy of the Cascade 220. Mittens clearly to die for. Unfortunately, daughter #2 has shaken my confidence by declaring quite emphatically that daughter #1 won't like them and won't wear them! Daughter #2 doesn't want them herself. Nevertheless, I took the time to make them and, darn it, they will be wrapped and under the tree as a magnificent Christmas present, knit with love and excitement. If daughter #1 doesn't like them, let her hand's freeze this winter, I say!!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

November12, 2005

My second post!! I'm so excited. I now have a photo of the spectacular Dale christening gown, including the baby Sean Patrick wearing it. I was the godmother and very, very proud. Sean, who didn't realize the value of the new heriloom he was wearing, kept regurgitating milk onto the bodice and kept sucking on the blue ribbons. Luckily, the gown is made from Dale of Norway's cotton Stork, a beautiful 100% cotton yarn that can be machine washed. He was very sweet and cute; his parents loved the gown and as you can see in the photo, I was very proud!!

A little out of date, but still cute, are some pumpkin hats that I made for Sean, his older brother and mother for Halloween time. Older brother refused to wear the hat, Sean kept it on politely. I am still trying to decipher all of the technological aspects of the blog--I through the photo of the pumpkin hats would be HERE, not up there! Sigh.

My knitting time has been cut short by fall yardwork. I planted dozens of tulips and daffodils, hoping for a spectacular show in my gardens come springtime. Knitting time was also cut short by dirty kitchen floor, dirty clothing, leaves needing to be raked, etc., etc. Time to don my housework drudge persona and do some quick cleaning to keep my husband's complaints at bay. How does one convince a husband that knitting time is valuable time, and contributes to the overall good of the universe???