Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm awake!!

Greetings and Dear Laura:

I'm sorry I didn't reply on IM Friday night. Theoretically, I was knitting on a baby hat, but technically I had fallen asleep with yarn in hand! (And laptop on my lap - living dangerously!)

I did get the hat done in time for the baby shower on Sunday, which was great. I'm sorry for the poor quality picture, but please to imagine that it looked better than this! I was going for the "Fetching Inspired" hat that I've made several times. There was an accidental design change when I noticed that I had already knitted 6 rows from the first cables, and hadn't done cables again at 4 rows. So, I just cabled at row 6 and then 6 rows later and ended up with 3 cable rows more widely spaced. I liked it!
to this
in four days!

I'm making good progress on the Christmas Stocking that I'm knitting on commission. One week after starting, I'm 1/2 way done with the leg, which I guess is about 1/3 of the entire project. (I'm further along than the picture shows!) The best news is that trading off between the fair isle of the stocking, the ribbed scarf and the baby hat has really been helpful for my hands/wrists. That and daily anti-inflammatorys. But YAY! My hands 'fall asleep' much less frequently. (Of course, the same cannot be said of me! I fall asleep at the slightest opportunity!)

I love the Noro scarf, and I don't even pretend that I don't follow trends, knitting or otherwise. I'm enjoying watching the colors move through the fabric, and it's my first experience with Silk Garden - it's yummy soft!

We'll be exchanging names at Thanksgiving, and so once I have that name, I'll firm up what, if any, truly Christmas knitting I'm doing. To date, it's a rather vague "wouldn't it be nice" list. But I want to thank Lauren for her comment - she's always a good reality check! I also may be scaling back because my sil is having a baby in January, and she has recently been reminding me that this baby (unlike the last one born in May) will be needed lots of things to keep warm! You KNOW I can't resist such talk!

Besides the knitting, things are going well. We are having a smaller Thanksgiving gathering this year - one brother and sil are visiting my niece's family in Texas and another brother and sil are visiting my nephew in California. I already miss them, but I have to confess that smaller is a bit less daunting. And we girls are psyched for our annual shopping trip to Nashville Indiana. We're leaving Thursday after the dishes are done and returning on Saturday when the van is full! There are 2 yarn stops on this trip, so there could be some stash enhancement.

Besides the WEBS order that I'm holding Lauren responsible for!! :p

Keep Knitting!

Cynthia (aka DesignatedKnitter)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lots to catch up on!

Greetings and Dear Laura:

Your 'Must Have Cardigan' looks great. I certainly can't see any loose stitches! I have GOT to get that sweater cast on!

I've been pretty busy lately - somehow November snuck up on me! Now that I'm over my cold, I've looked around and noticed that I've taken on several new roles at church, and it's getting close to year end, so I need to balance and audit the bookkeeping I do for my parents. My apartment looks like it threw up all over itself and we will NOT discuss my closets. And then there is the constant cast-on-itis and Christmas-knitting-insanity epidemic that is so common this year. I have the usual case, so nothing new there.

On top of all of that, I'm trying to cope with a flare-up of my carpal tunnel/repetitive injury issue. I put down the red lace shawl because I couldn't knit a full row without my fingers going numb. I also have problems holding the telephone for very long, driving, and sometimes sleeping, even with the braces. This is my warning to reduce what I'm doing. (I'm never very fond of that warning!)

The current "I want to knit and wouldn't that be nice by Christmas" list includes:
blue toddler cardigan for Logan's 1st birthday on Dec 26.
The 'Must Have Cardigan' for mom
Crochet slippers for mom. (She wants slippers, and crochet would be quicker, a 'different' motion, and help stash bust!)
Scarf for my new niece-in-law.
Knee socks for my sil.
A sweater for my new niece/nephew due in January, and a blanket for that baby, and a quilt kit for that baby.
Oh! And we bought yarn to do a blanket for my dad. (HA! Like that's even possible.)
Remember that cool sock yarn that you unravel as you knit? It's calling my name.
Oh! There's a baby shower at church before Thanksgiving - wait, I think it's Sunday - and so I should have a baby thing knitted, right?
And we're adopting 2 families for Christmas, and so there are two mom's who would probably love a scarf.
I promised Lane a soap sweater.

Did I mention that I need more wool socks for this winter? And that it's snowing even as we speak?

Thursday I got a call from the owner of the LYS in Avilla. She asked if I would be interested in knitting 2 Christmas Stocking Kits for a commission. Of course, I mentally laughed myself silly, but I did listen to her. Someone had purchased these kits by
Judy's Colors, and wanted to pay someone to knit them. (This entire concept is foreign to me. Buying a knitting kit and not knitting it? I do not understand! Although I have to say those kits are gorgeous.) However, the commission was enough to get my attention, so I agreed to look at the kits.

I stopped by on Friday and talked to her. She had thought of knitting them herself, and in the end, we decided to each do one of the kits. (And while obviously the person would like to have them for this year, it isn't required. While we're shooting for it, I wouldn't promise.) It worked out that I was intrigued by the "Red Velvet" kit, and she wanted to knit the "Fairy Tree" kit. They are Fair-Isle, and it's been a while since I did much of that.

So, I cast that on Saturday evening. It calls for a 16" circular for the leg, which I appreciate. It starts out with a knitted braid, which took two tries and plenty of head scratching to work out. Then I started the red portion - I always think that I would like to carry both yarns in my left hand, but that really only works if you use both colors at approximately the same rate. If you use one more than the other, or you cover long stretches, using the two hand method is much easier - and I remembered tips that you gave me for catching the color that is being carried, so that helped me get back in the rhythm. And as I hoped, carrying the yarn in both hands is a real change of motion - I was able to knit quite a bit, and my hands did not bother me at all.

Yesterday, I was at the point in all of my current projects that I didn't have anything completely mindless. The sock I'm working on is ready for a heel turn,
the blue cardigan is ready to decrease for the neck,
and the stocking is Fair Isle.........SO, I cast on
this scarf! (I know, I have no self control!) My 'current' knitting basket now has 4 projects!

Since I am clearly insane, it would help me greatly if all you wonderful knitting bloggers could refrain from posting cool pictures of your knitting where I can see it because I can obviously not deal with this level of distraction. "Oh, my pretties..."
(I can usually resist tan colors. Just sayin')


Keep Knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Must Have Cardigan Progress

Greetings, and Dear Cynthia,

I'm a bit behind these days, though am going to share some halloween photos, anyway:I dug out my "standard" duck costume again:The boys went as Pokemon characters, so I just sewed a little vest out of fleece for each of them, and they embellished their costumes with little props, so not very labor intensive for me, and they were pretty happy to participate in the whole "design" process. (I don't have any photos to show of the boys, because I'm paranoid and like to keep their faces off of the air.)

I've had a couple of grueling weeks at school, though my next test isn't for another week, so I have a few days to catch up on some other things (like blogging)! We have a neuroanatomy online quiz roughly once per week, and here is a sample of one of our practice questions to prepare for the online quiz:

Which statement is TRUE regarding the neurological deficit(s) that would be present following a lesion of the shaded area in the right brain stem?

Sometimes it takes me five minutes just to figure out what I'm looking at... The material is a bit convoluted/complicated, but quite relevant to some of the deficits a PT would regularly see in a clinic or hospital.

I've been plugging along on the Must Have Cardigan. Shortly after I started the back, about four inches into it, I was having the "it's going to be too small for me" panic, so I went ahead and soaked it, right on the needles, and blocked out that first four inches. I'm happy to report that it should be a good size for me, though the partial blocking is why the bottom looks so much wider in this photo. I'm also having problems with the looseness of the stitch immediately to the left of the skinniest pattern. Thank you for your tips on how to fix that; I was so far into the thing already, however, and I decided I wouldn't be able to notice it on a horse driving by it at 15 mph, so I left it as is, though I do plan to try your suggestion when I'm doing the fronts. Back almost done, and one sleeve completed:
I have some crazy idea I'll have this done in order to wear when we travel to visit our families during the Christmas season. Yeah, and I'm going to sew three matching fleece jackets for my dh and boys. A girl can dream...

I'm so glad the election is over, though it's odd to watch tv and not be bombarded with propaganda, saying terrible things about somebody, and then calmly voicing over with "I approve of this message."

Well, time to get rolling here today. We don't have much planned, though I'll easily fill the day getting caught up around the house and for school. With the flurries we've had the past day or two, and the coldness, I'm thinking a big pot of chili for dinner, maybe with some homemade pretzels...

Have a great weekend!
Warm regards,
Laura (YarnThrower)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Weekend fun

Greetings and Dear Laura:

First of all - Happy Election Day! (
Lauren says I'm an election geek because I get excited about it, and go stand in line so that I can be one of the first voters in my precinct. I was 4th this year, which is a personal best! And I voted right behind a young first-time voter, which makes me happy too!)

Your sweater is looking beautiful! You do such lovely cable work.(I vote for the pink zipper as well!) It's getting to be sweater time, so I hope this zipper works the first time for you.

Wow, I had a fun Saturday! Earlier in the week, I had an email from Lea-Ann at Knitting Today, announcing a last-minute class taking place Saturday afternoon.

"Lorna Miser, knitwear designer and author and former owner of Lorna's Laces, is in Indiana right now and is available to teach a special class at Knitting Today this Saturday, November 1, from 1-4. It is going to be a class I had to leave out of the retreat offerings: Design for Baby,Knit for Baby."

It sounded like fun, and it really was - I'm very glad that I went. I have a Godson who is turning 1 at Christmas, and a sil who is expecting a baby in January (and hoping for a boy!) so I grabbed some superwash worsted in boy colors and headed off. Lorna handed out a basic template for a baby cardigan, and then talked about how to get inspiration for yarns, colors, textures etc. She showed us sweaters and the inspiration for them, which was really helpful. I had to laugh - after years of being told, "Knit the garment first and then you can see which buttons work the best," she told us "Pick some buttons you like and let that be your starting point!

I took that advice to heart - I found some cute "racecar" buttons, and the blue yarn that I had brought went well with it. I cast on for the 18 month size, since my Godson is quite the bruiser! I won't be able to do the entire sweater in the blue yarn, so I'm planning to do the body in blue and the sleeves in white.

Then I saw the cutest little tracker buttons, and since my brother and sil are farmers, I just couldn't resist them. I found a skein of Cascade 220 Superwash in a green that works with the buttons, so I'm prepared.

Lea-Ann was SO great - when I TRIED to pull the center of my yarn, I messed it up the worst I ever have. She got the ball winder and rescued me. At one point there were 5 little connected bunches of yarn on the floor, waiting their turn to be untangled! If not for Lea-Ann, I'd still be trying to fix the mess! Thanks!

I saw Laura, a knitter who lives in nearby Ari Indiana. I always enjoy running into her at knitting events (she reads our blog!) While I sometimes meet people who have heard of LaOtto (where I live) you have to be REALLY familiar with the area to know where Ari is! I myself have only been there a few times. (Hi Laura!)

I also finished off the Tulips cardigan on Saturday, and it is blocked and ready to be given to Whitny. I just love this pattern, and the yarn, and how it all turns out. I see me making more of these in the future. (Gotta use up all that Dream in Color!)
(I think Purl likes the sweater too!)

I have a really bad case of start-itis, which I think must be contagious, because it seems that lots of bloggers of suffering from it! I've decided to turn my back on monogamy for a bit, and I plan to cast on with reckless abandon! This should be fun!

Keep knitting!

Cynthia (aka Designated Knitter)