Monday, December 26, 2005

the right tools for the job

I hope that you are all not reading this and are instead busy having more or less peaceful holiday fun with your families and/or friends. Sis, HWWLLB and I have just returned from Family HQ (pictured at left), where we ate so much that it still hurts my stomach when I slouch over (it should be a bad posture cure, except I'm not that disciplined). But you may be a little tired of all the merriment or dysmerriment and ready to bitch with some girlfriends and some yarn, so... hello!

I wouldn't mind a little SnB myself, and so here I am at our usual SnB gathering place, except it's not Wednesday night and I have my laptop along. It's handy since there's internet access here - not like at home, where we're high & dry because whichever of our neighbors is kind enough to provide her or his wireless connection to the world must be out of town for the holidays with the computers turned off. Damned holidays, messing up my freeloader internet access! And blessed, blessed wireless caf├ęs... sigh. I really feel for the small-town dwellers paying dollars and dollars every month for sluggish dial-up connections. Here in the big city there's internets spilling out of windows for free, like juicy fruits ripe for the pickin. Whose orchard this is, I have no idea. But I'm sure their commercial messages are paying for all this gratis fun.

I do actually have yarn with me, because I am frantically finishing up the second pair of socks for my granny (the first pair is still toelessly awaiting its MIA yarn, so I had to get something else and start over). HWWLLB and I will be heading up to Extended Family HQ tomorrow for a few days, and I don't think the car ride will be enough time to finish this pair. I'm only halfway through the first one as it is, and for some reason these size 1 needles are really slowing me down. I'm just fine down through about size 3 or so, but with needles any smaller than that it's like my fingers have eaten from the wrong side of the toadstool and have swollen to enormous proportions compared to the knitting. Watching me knit with the size 1's is like watching a big man try to thread a needle or pet a small kitten with his big, stubby, pickle-shaped fingers.

The rest of the Xmas knitting came off quite well, I must say. My mom love-love-loved her sweater, and she psychically gave me an extremely utilitarian Xmas gift to finish it up with - a compact portable garment steamer! Oh, the rapturous joy of blocking with the compact steamer! I learned of this wonderfulness from Crazy Aunt Purl, who on her blog went into apoplectic fits over the one she was given as a gift by Annie Modesitt a few months back, and recently blogged some very nice instructions about how to block with it. People, the hype is justified! The steamer is the bomb, y'all!

Let me tell you how seamlessly perfectly easy it was to sew the buttons onto the insane slanting front of this cardigan with the compact steamer on my side (having my mom's dressmakers' dummy helped a lot, too). It's all about the tools, y'all. If your knitting looks like poo, maybe it's time to go out and spend a small fortune on some Japanese-made knitting tools. I'm just saying, is all. Cause look how perfect-perfect this sweater came out! The knitting was the easy part with this mo-fo. This was the "classic slant cardigan" pattern in Interweave Knits a year or two back, and I loved how it looked (it looked perfect for my mom). I also liked how it seemed to be piquant-ly challenging knitting, yet within reach. After finding the perfect cashmerino yarn ON SALE HALF PRICE WOO-WOO it was clear this project was meant to be, and I was ready to rock. I took it slow and worked on it on and off for a few months, only when I felt like being fussy over little details, and it was done this summer. So I put it aside to finish later, you know, because that was just a minor detail. I mean, read the instructions: "Finishing" is just one little paragraph. One little paragraph that should have started with a disclaimer stating that finishing will take you exactly twice as long as the knitting did and will require a compact portable steamer and a dressmaker's dummy. But the instructions definitely do not say that. And so finishing that lovely cashmerino thingy took up a lot of my Xmas knitting, cookie-burning and card-sending time (yes, that is my Official Excuse). It also took up my bathroom cleaning, vacuuming and violin practicing time, and anything else I said I was going to do this month.

But that's all over now, and as soon as these socks are done, I can finish the sweater vest I started for HWWLLB back in Buffalo in November. I decided to be extraordinarily tacky and give him the 2/3 finished vest as an Xmas gift. He didn't seem to mind - he was pretty excited just to know he was getting it. But of course, I won't be able to clean the bathroom or anything like that until I get that vest done, because it was a present and it's very, very important.

2 comments:

  1. Can I say? That sweater is positively stunning. Right tools for the job? Maybe. I'd credit the talent first, though.

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  2. Those important knitting projects just get in the way of the really fun stuff, don't they ;). The slant cardi looks beautiful, great job!

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