A blog about fibre, wine, and all things cozy.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Uphill Battle Continues

Almost there.  Scoobie Mitte

I am continuing the uphill slog that is the Holiday gift knitting. It's slow and painful the way that wading through waist deep leech infested swamp water would be. I am hoping that by the time I post this the Scoobie Mitts that I am working on for Steve will be finished.  The Scoobie Mitts are actually an incredibly mind-numbingly boring knit, but they are fast and portable and it has become a tradition that every male friend or family member has received a pair from me. (Hence the name. Scoobie Mitts means you are part of the Scoobie Gang. Yes, I am a huge Buffy fan.) This pair was specifically requested of me this year since the recipient did not receive his pair last year as he should have. (His lovely wife told me to make him a hat, which I did. Turns out he wanted a pair of the mitts.)

I was hoping to have the mitts and a hat finished by the time this is posted, but I know I'll be happy if just the mitts are finished. I do unfortunately have other things to do this morning that will interfere with my knitting time. (If anyone out there has figured out how to do your dishes and knit at the same time please let me know.)

I have figured out that this is the problem. This needing to always have more finished really drives me insane at this time of year when it comes to my knitting. I realized that it's not the knitting that I am not enjoying. I still love knitting. It's not having the moment of gratification that comes with finishing a project. Think about it. Whenever we as knitters finish a projects, we all have that moment where you look at the knitting and (hopefully) admire it. You get to let a little sigh escape your lips as you think, “this is cute”, or “thank god it's done”, or “I love it.” If it's a really big project that has taken up a lot of time or required great effort, I've noticed that the phrase “I have no idea what to knit now even though I have 5 other projects on the needles” is really very normal. This is what I'm missing and craving. Now when a gift is finished, I think “great, another one finished. Now I have to start the hat for my Father-in-Law.” And the aforementioned finished gift gets tossed into the finished pile. This is why I love gift knitting in June and kind of hate it at this time of year. In June I get to have that moment of reflection that I don't get to have now. The hurried feeling also pours over into the rest of my knitting and I start feeling the pressure of all my WIPS wanting to be FO's and I can't get to them. I can't finish things as quickly as I would like and to accommodate the knitting and the training for a 10k run in May and a 75K bike ride in June things like the dishes get ignored. Clearly things get out of balance in my life and that drives me insane. And I need that gratification.

So, today I will finish the mitts. I will then pour myself a cup of coffee and admire the mitts. When the coffee is gone, I will only then cast on the new project and I will try to convince myself that I am doing okay this year and that I will not be weaving in ends on a scarf while my husband is driving us to a Christmas party where the scarf is being presented. (You can laugh, but if this hasn't already happened to you it will one day. If you are the type of knitter that this never happens to, I bow down before you.) I will take a deep breath and I will enjoy my FO. Then I will figure out just how quickly I can knit that damn hat.

And, they are finished! 

Saturday, November 20, 2010

It's that time of year.

It is that time of year again where some of us break out the holiday gift knitting. I try to be a good gift knitter and finish a few projects throughout the year. But lets be honest, major gift knitting doesn't happen until the autumn. It's not until the pressure of an actual deadline starts creeping in and Christmas starts looming that I really think it's time to start.

Now, let me begin by stating that I actually do enjoy holiday gift knitting for my friends and family. My reasons are very simple. First, I am very unfortunate in that pleased that most people I know are wonderful recipients of handmade objects and I think that they actually look forward to receiving something each year. The second advantage, I don't like malls at the best of times. I hate malls during the lead up to the holiday. (Though my Husband claims that the key is to shop before the first snow fall. Until those first snow flakes drift to the ground, people don't seem to feel the need to rush to the malls and spend their hard earned cash on much of anything holiday related.) I hate the crowds and the pushy sales people and the potential for a nasty credit card bill in January. My actual shopping is limited to just a few places and I am more than happy to keep it that way. And finally, some of my best gift memories include receiving handmade gifts. It makes sense that I would want to pass that on.

I think it's important that I put that all on paper before I start explaining the next bit. There reaches a point in the process where I just don't want to do it anymore. It happens every single year. I want to knit anything, and I do mean anything else. Projects that have been buried in the bottom of my knitting basket for months start calling to me. Projects that I have lined up in my stash closet are always on my mind. Those damn socks by Gleena C have been taunting me since they arrived in my Smart-Ass Knitters package.
I can't fully explain why this happens. I am happy to give away my knitting to people that I know are going to appreciate it. I have no trouble parting with my knitted objects, (well expect for the Lizard Ridge Blanket. I did think seriously about giving it to my Mother in Law because she gushed over it in a way that nothing I have made before has been gushed over. In the end, I kept mine and made one for her. I'm looking forward to her reaction when she opens it.) I am happy to knit for myself and equally enjoy knitting for others. I already have gifts for next year planned out . I really like doing this.

I do have two theories about this. First, I always seem to underestimate the time a project is going to take. I firmly believe that I am either the worlds fastest knitter, or that I have way more time in a day to knit than I actually do. Secondly, it's the “wanting what you can't have” syndrome. I stated loudly to my Husband back in September that “I was not casting on anything new unless it was gift knitting until all the gifts were finished.” (I did include that working on items already on the needles, whither gift knitting or not would still be permitted.) It's worked so far, but really want everything else. I'm actually starting to go a little nuts right now.
Love the buttons
 So, in order to maintain my sanity I will sew the buttons on my Sister in Law's cowl and complete one side of the duplicate stitches that need to be done on a friend's scarf and I am going to spend the rest of today and tomorrow knitting something completely different. It's a guilty pleasure that won't go right to my hips or make me feel like I have to add more time on the treadmill to make up for it. Hmmm......knitting as a healthy lifestyle aid. I like it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A quick Update

A Bunch of Little Gifts!
The sachets are finished. Each one needs a little extra tightening around the ends, but otherwise they are finished. I'm mostly pleased with them, and even more pleased that they have entered the "finished" Christmas gift pile. And they do smell really pretty.    

Sunday, November 7, 2010

It's the Little Things

When I was a child, I remember my mom saying to me, "it's not the big things in life that will drive you crazy. It's all the little stuff." Many years later I can say that she was right. (There mom, I said you were right. Here on the internet where the whole world can see it. Enjoy this moment :)

And this week, it has been the little things that have pushed me the edge of a knitting temper tantrum. It has been these,  the candy wrapper sachets from the book OneSkein.
There will be six in total and each one is meant to accompany a "soap sack" that I made earlier. Each little set is a Christmas gift. This means that a big chunk of my Christmas knitting will be finished and maybe I won't have a panic attack this year as Christmas approaches. (That last bit is probably just wishful thinking. I will find a reason to panic.)

Fresh Lavender
The Soap Sacks went off without a hitch. There is few spots where I missed a yarn over, but nothing to complain or stress about and since they are handmade, there will always be a little designer feature here and there. The sachets were started after and I figured that in total, they should take me about six hours of my knitting life to make. They are small, simple, and straightforward. It's the type of knitting I can take anywhere. It's super portable and doesn't need a lot of my attention. When they are finished, I will fill each with some of this lavender from my friend's garden and six entire gifts will be finished.

This is the theory anyway. And I still think it was a good theory. But, as we all know theory and practice can be two very different things. This simple little additions have been nothing but a nightmare from the first one I cast on the needles. The first three were each cast on three times. That's right, if you do the math that means I did nine Cast On's for three projects. NINE!!!! Apparently I can knit cables, lace, and entralac with relative ease. But these are the thorn in my side, my burden, my knitting nemesis. I've found myself asking, “what the hell is wrong with me?” more then once while working on these. At different times I have, apparently lost the ability to count, forgotten to do eyelets on both sides of the round, I've dropped stitches and not noticed for a really long time relatively speaking, run out of yarn, and while I’m sitting and typing I am realizing that I completely forgot to pick up the empty tea bags I need to stuff the lavender into. I walked right past the tea store and even thought about how nice it would be to stop in for a quick drink. This is where I'm at. My knitting cockiness is being taken down a few notches by a simple little sachet and they are forcing me to pay way more attention to them then I think they deserve.

I'm almost finished the fifth one. I think I've finally figured it out. I may yet reknit the first one, just because I'm not happy with how it looks. Maybe after it's stuffed I'll think it looks better. I am really hoping that these will be finished today. I think I’ll contemplate them over the cup of tea I wanted yesterday. I hope they have empty tea bags in stock.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


So I opened up my blog to check on something in the design tab and noticed another little tab labelled Stats and decided to click on it. What I saw shocked me. People, people I know, other than my Husband and parents have actually taken the time to read my blog. People I know, like, and respect, have been here poking around. Some of you more then once. I have to admit that I was, and still am, a little dumbfounded by this. My next thought was, “oh shit. Here I am rambling about whatever the hell is going on in my head and I haven't been really paying that much attention to grammar and now people are reading my grammatically incorrect craziness about nothing, and.................” I think you get the point.
My next thought was, “well you did put this up on the internet. It was inevitable that someone, somewhere, at some point, might actually stumble upon this and take the time to read it. AND you did add this to Ravelry home page. Lots of people you know go there and see your knitting. There is a link there!!!” Still, it never occurred to me that friends might read it. Strangers, that I was prepared for. Friends, not so much.

With that thought in mind, I feel the need to explain. After giving it a lot of thought, well over a years worth, I decided to start this blog. I has been started with he intention of getting my lazy self back into writing. There was a time when I did a lot of writing. I wrote my first “story” when I was very young and even did my own illustrations. (That's how I know I was really young. If you know me well, you know I can't draw. I would never ever have the nerve to do that as an adult.) By the age of 13, I was convinced I was going to grow up and have a least one published novel. There have been a few short stories over the years, but certainly nothing novel worthy. And as the years have passed, I write less and less. Partly because I seem to be way busier in my life and partly because now I leave the house with my knitting instead of my notebook. This is not a complaint, just a fact. I thought that a blog might force me to have some accountability and even if it is just a ramble a week, at least it's a little writing again.
So there you have it. The reason for all this. If you do take the time to read it, I hope you enjoy it, and I will try to pay a little more attention to my grammar.