Greetings and Dear Laura:
Ah, the waning days of Advent - the triumphs, the failures....and the letting go. I love the fleece hoodies! Not nuts at all to have your guys all cozy and warm. It's always good to have successful last-minute-projects! I hope you're all shoveled out of the snow and that you have safe traveling. And don't forget to stop knitting while a passenger on slippery roads. Airbags and pointy sticks. Just sayin'.
I've had some successes, and some insanity and spectacular failures as well!
I finished the legwarmer for my friend, and she reports that is it quite effective at keeping the 'robo-leg' warm. I also supplied her with a large rectangle that I had felted for a purse project that went off the rail several years ago. She was able to fashion that into an 'outer-leg-warmer' so that she has two layers, and the outer one is easier to get on and off. So, YAY!
I also managed to whip up another of those 3-hour scarves, which I'll give in the white elephant exchange tonight. I'm especially pleased because this was some stash busting! A while back, an entire post and subsequent stash reduction sale where inspired by some yarn that I couldn't remember buying! 2 skeins of a worsted in an orange/purple variegation and 2 skeins of a brushed Alpaca in a lovely burnt orange. I carried the 4 strands and used my size 19 needles, and the result is 70" of cushy goodness. I'm sure that there are a couple of people in the exchange who will want to trade for it!
Now to my insanity. My great-niece Grace has her birthday on December 22nd. Every year. Five years now. This is never a surprise to me. In the fall of 2007, she asked me to knit her a blanket. I remembered that I have a knitting machine that I have never really used, and I thought I could knit some strips with that, sew them together and add a little embellishment and border with hand knitting, and
1. fulfill her request
2. use up some leftover yarn and extra stash
3. get some use out of the machine I bought
4. whip this up in next to no-time.
Of course, I waited until the week before her birthday to get the machine out, and then I fought with it for several days before giving up in despair. I bought her a gift.
I contacted someone about lessons, and she gave me valuable tips on setting it up (I needed to buy a shelf and some clamps to have a level surface) and told me about group meetings, classes and offered private lessons. Now, I had bought myself another whole year. Not due until December 22, 2008. I did buy the shelf and the clamps, and found them handy for my ballwinder and swift during the year. However, despite many opportunities to go to club meetings, classes - even a machine knitting CAMP, we arrived at December 20th with no real progress on this project. But hey - machine knitting - it's fast, right?
So on Saturday, in between cookie baking, I set up the machine and got started. And it did go better. A little better. I gave up at about 8 pm when I didn't have anything longer than 10 rows. Sunday at 4 am the power went off (oh, by the way? We had an big ice storm!) It's not an electric machine, so I could try again that afternoon in the daylight. And actually the power was back on by early afternoon, so that was grand. Again, between batches of cookies, I tackled that thing. I did eventually (like 6 hours later) get a strip that is about 14" x 30" and has 5 different blocks. I even striped a block! But while I could go along for quite a while with no problem, when I DID have a problem - it was spectacular. 1/2 the stitches would jump off the needles, and it would take 40-50 minutes to get them all back on and back to normal. (Hey - it's progress. At least I can get them back on instead of throwing the piece across the room and starting over!) My parents observed my mood and TIPTOED past me to get to the cookies!
I bought Grace a book for her birthday. Insanity. But I moved on.
So, since I'm done with the December knitting, I was able to cast on for the Hemlock Ring Blanket I'm making for my new niece or nephew, who should arrive by mid-January! I stayed up to at least get a big started last night, and so far (12 rounds) it's really fun! ;)
I mentioned that we had an ice storm here, almost a week ago now. Last Friday morning, the power-outages began. There were an estimated 112,000 homes without power at the peak - 6 days later that number is around 8,900. We lost power twice, but both times it was back on in a short time. Temperatures on Sunday and Monday were in the single digits, with wind added to the mix. I bring this up because my nephew - Grace's dad - is a lineman for the electric company. He's one of the guys working 16-18 hour days, every day, climbing poles in the cold and ice, to get that power back on. I know it's hard if you're one of those 8,900 still without power, but they are working their butts off, missing things like birthdays and Christmas with their families, and missing things like sleep and hot meals, doing their level best to get everyone's lives back to normal. Let's hear it for the linemen!
And a heart-felt wish for a Merry Christmas to you and your families!
All my heart this night rejoices,
As I hear, far and near, sweetest angel voices;
“Christ is born,” their choirs are singing,
Till the air, everywhere, now with joy is ringing!
Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)