Thursday, December 8

The thing about Forbes Forest...

...is that I'm afraid it's going to take for-ever to finish. Well, melodrama aside, I'm afraid it will take me, at least, beyond Christmas. And that simply won't do for a project that I intend to give away as a Christmas gift.
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Now, I have knitted past the point shown here, but not much. You know why? Because it takes for-ever. Don't misunderstand; I adore this pattern. It's incredibly satisfying to work on, it is a very valuable lesson in knitting for me, I love the yarn (KnitPicks Merino Style). I could go on. But the sad truth of the matter is that the random snatches of time I have to knit it coupled with its slow, slow growth is causing me a lot of extra holiday stress. And nobody needs extra holiday stress. Malfunctioning strings of lights on your tree and worrying how snow and/or airlines might affect your travel plans (last year, we got snowed in at the airport on Christmas Eve and, on our way home after the holidays, the airline "misplaced" our reservation) and brainstorming present ideas for that one really pesky relative who is only into Star Wars and, thus, has every-Star-Wars-thing-ever-marketed--these types of holiday joys cause enough stress without any help from slow-and-steady-wins-the-race knitting.

[By the way, I'm not a Scrooge. Lest anyone get the wrong impression, let me state for the record that I love Christmas. Everything about it. I love the food, the decorations, the music. Everything.]

Besides, this scarf was a slight deviation from my original plan for my Dad's gift. See, I had wanted to make him a cashmere scarf ('cause, you know, he's my Dad). But forces conspired such that I was never able to find appropriate cashmere, and I settled on this merino concoction instead. But hubby and I are going to New York this weekend, and I'm determined to make it to School House Products (something I am mysteriously never able to do when we visit the Big Apple), and I WILL find cashmere. Then I can knit a much simpler pattern and it WILL be completed much quicker. (And I can finish the FF at a more relaxed, leisurely pace, or make the yarn into something else entirely.) For The Cashmere Scarf of Renewed Hope, I was thinking along the lines of the ever-popular Irish Hiking Scarf (Jess just finished a beautiful one. And in cashmere, too), or Grumperina's Sharfik or even this one. Or maybe I'll just make up my own. And my dear old Dad will love it just as much. Don't you just love Dads?

Friday, December 2

On the first day of Christmas

Christmas knitting, that is. And it isn't really the first day at all. See, I was good and planned my Christmas gifts all the way back in November. Gosh, who can even remember November? I'm so on top of things. (HA!) Yes, I made a list. Yes, I checked it twice. And then I tweaked it about forty-seven times. I'm still not convinced it exists in a completed and untweakable state. Here's where the list currently stands:
  • Clapotis for my mom-in-law: DONE
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  • Backyard Leaves for sis-in-law: DONE (see previous post)
  • Fiery Bolero for sister #2: DONE (I'll get around to photographing it, but for now it's hanging in the LYS where I work, enticing other customers to buy Cathay and Debbie Bliss patterns)
  • Cressida from Rowan Classic Woman for sister #1 (I don't actually rank my sisters as one would college football teams or "reaons why you should break up with him" or something. It's just my handy way of referring to where they fall in the birthing order. [It should be noted that I am the eldest.] [Why doesn't anyone say eldest anymore?]): pieces knit, duly blocked into submission
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and now merely awaiting seaming and the completion of miles and miles of this obnoxiously dull-to-knit garter-lace trim:

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  • Alpaca Silk scarf for my own mommy dearest (again, see previous post): knit, but awaiting finishing and lining
  • Forbes Forest for my pop: as the Carpenters would say, it's only just begun. (This is a topic for another post)
  • And finally, for sister #3, what started as a shrug that should have been finished in two nights, after much ripping and re-knitting and designing on the fly, has morphed into this cropped wrap sweater from hell (only because it was the most devilish little project. Seriously. It was a fierce battle. Either the sweater was out to get me, or I am merely the sad victim of my own indecision and lack of proper planning. Probably it's the latter. But I'm not eliminating the possibility that the sweater was possessed with some sort of impish spirit):
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Yarn: It's just Lion Brand Wool-Ease, folks. One and a half skeins. My mother's hatred of hand-washing (I can't blame her, really. Raising six kids gives the woman enough to do. She doesn't really have time to lovingly and delicately bathe hand knits.) compelled me to find something cheap and washable, but still fairly nice. You may disagree with me on this one, but the Wool-Ease isn't so bad. I'm not rushing out to buy a sweater's worth for myself anytime soon, but it does its job.
Pattern: What started as a cheap-and-easy shrug pattern we sell at work turned into essentially my own. (Gotta love top-down raglans)
Needles: I think they were Addis, US 8. Who can remember these things?
Notes: As you can see from the pictures, I did almost all the increasing with yos. I like that little bit of lacey detail it provides.
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Basically, I started with a certain CO number (54?), placed markers for the sleeve seams, and increased on both sides every time I hit them. After I bound off for the sleeves, I started increasing on each edge (again via yarnovers) to create the wrapover parts. I did a knitted hem on the bottom edge.
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See? Basically, I knit the length that I wanted to hem to be, knit a purl row, then knit the hem length on smaller needles. Then, instead of sewing, I wove a needle through the wrong-side row that the hem would attach to when it was turned under (as shown in the first photo below) and did a three-needle bind-off to finish the job.
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Now, the only detail that remains is how to secure the sucker. Buttons? Ties?
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And if I use buttons, do I put a decorative one in the middle where the wraps cross, then use snaps or hooks-and-eyes to secure the flaps, or should I sew a bigger button on the flap itself? Or maybe weave a ribbon through the bottom row of yarnovers and just use invisible closures?

See what I mean about indecision?