Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

December 25th marks the start of the season of Christmas for the Christian community, aka, the twelve days of Christmas. The Christmas season ends on January 5th and January 6th is when, according to Christian tradition, the wise men brought their gifts to the Christ Child.

Christmas is a time to not only celebrate the birth of the Saviour but also to celebrate the gifts that we have.

As I thought about my Christmas wish list several months ago, I realized that there weren't a lot of material things on it. While the stove is on the fritz, the computer monitor is dying, the toaster oven is acting up and I would really like a spinning wheel, all of those things are not absolute necessities. But, I did ask for a wheel!

I have my family and friends, the majority of whom are in good health. I have the roof over my head, enough to eat, and I am still gainfully employed. I have Christ, my Saviour.
Most important -- I know I am loved.

Celebrate what you have.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Veni, Vidi, Steek

I overcame my trepidations and steeked the steeks on the Scandinavian Star Vest (Ravelry).
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, steek is both a noun and a verb. A steek is the extra stitches that you cast on and knit and the process of cutting those extra stitches. Steeks are most commonly used in stranded (or multi color) knitting so that you can maintain the pattern. It also helps maintain the color variations with self striping yarn.

This vest has three 5 stitch steeks. 1 for the front and 2 for the armholes. The directions said to alternate the stitches in the steeks every row, creating a checkerboard effect. Were I to make this again, I would do vertical stripes, to make it easier to do the guideline and reinforcement lines. You put a guideline in a contrasting color down the middle of the steek (I used white), and reinforce the steek on either side, if desired. This being my first steek, I greatly desired to reinforce. I sewed 2 lines on either side of my guideline in yellow. After I sewed the reinforcement lines, I put the grocery ad in the vest (so I wouldn’t cut any floats) and then cut the steeks. In the below pictures, the first one is before I cut and you can see my guidelines. The second one is after the steeks were steeked.

I am using Berroco Ultra Alpaca and Noro Kureyon. I started the bottom with one skein, and then when I finished the first chart, I switched skeins for the body. I am on the fourth skein of the Noro and the third skein of the Berroco. I did the main part of the vest with 3 skeins that basically started and ended with the same color. I’ll be using the end of the third skein for the collar and am using the fourth skein for the hem band and the front bands.

While I really like this pattern, and there are other patterns in this book that I plan on making, I do have some issues, 3 in particular.

  1. For most of the patterns, the only way to change the size is to change the gauge. While this is fine and dandy, there are no yarn recommendations for the looser gauges.

  2. There are no diagrams of the patterns, showing the finished dimensions.

  3. The arm holes seem huge. The pattern calls for 2 repeats (24 round repeats ) and 20 rounds for the armhole. This would put the size I made at an armhole depth of 10 ½ inches and this doesn’t include the stitches you put on a holder! The stitches on the holder was more than I would have thought was needed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

No SSS here!

SSS (Second Sock Syndrome for you muggles).

When we went to Cedar Lakes, I took the September socks, the Flyingdales sweater, an extra skein of sock yarn and a pair of mitts. After I finished the September socks, I started on the extra skein of sock yarn (Jingle Bell Rock in STR lightweight from Blue Moon).

I decided to do a swirl pattern. I got almost done with the foot, and realized that I didn't like how the swirl pattern was biasing. Frogged back to toe. Reknit foot plain, turned heel and started swirl pattern on cuff. Really liked it. Finished sock, wove in ends.

Realized that swirl pattern made cuff so tight that only a small child could get it on. Frogged to heel. Increased 4 stitches and decreased number of swirls to 4. Went a little bit, then increased another 4 stitches. Almost done. I had someone try it on. Sock was 2 rounds to short in the foot and the first part of the cuff was to tight.

At this point, I was so fed up with the sock, that I started the second one, cuff down.

Mortal was bored and had no knitting with her (no, I don't know what was wrong) and volunteered to frog the first one. She frogged the cuff and the heel and then was still bored, so then knit the two rounds and turned the heel.

The socks are 50% done. Normally, when one has a pair 50% complete, you have one whole sock. Not this pair! I have the foot and heel of one sock and the cuff of the second.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Old People Do Scenic?!

Mother and I went to a weeklong workshop on basket weaving at Cedar Lakes last week (more on that later). It started on Sunday and went until Friday. It's about a 7 hour drive from home so we planned to leave on Saturday. Then, Mother decided she wanted to go to Green Valley. I looked at the map and we decided that if we left EARLY (6amish) on Saturday, it would work, as Green Valley is somewhat on the way.

So, Mother, Mortal & I left Saturday and headed down 81 to Harrisonburg. We got to Green Valley around 10. By the time we had done the first room, Mother's books were to heavy for her to carry, so we paid and faithful sherpa (me) took them out to the car. By the end of the day there were four boxes of books in Dmitri. The small one was mine. The 3 large ones belonged to Mother. When we got to the hotel, we took 2 of the not full large boxes in to combine them so there would be room for 2 people in the car.

Sunday morning, we left for Ripley after church and breakfast, around 10am. I had looked at the map and planned to go south on 81 to 64 then west to 77. Mother disagreed, she had 33 on the mind. She looked at the atlas and saw that 33 runs from Harrisonburg to Ripley. The info we'd gotten from Cedar Lakes had specifically said not to take 33, because it would take so long. Since we had to be there between 4 & 5, Mother felt we had enough time to take 33, as "old people do scenic".

The road went up and down mountains with lots of turns. We saw snow and scattered houses. Any collection of more then a couple of houses was rated a town.

Well, at 1pm we stopped at the McDonald's (first one since Harrisonburg) in Elkins for a bathroom break and lunch. We were about 1/3 of the way to Ripley. The decision was made to stay on 33 until we got to 79 and then take 79 to 77. We got to Cedar Lakes around 4.

Mother may feel that "old people do scenic", but really, old people go on motorcoach tours with name tags and tourguides! :)