Miracles

I finagled the ribbing issue by splitting the difference and making one p3 on each side of the continuous line rib where it was least obvious.  Everything then lined up, so good enough for me.

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Tomorrow I weave the ends in, wash it, and steam block it since its acrylic and I want it to lay nice for gifting.  It amazingly pretty much is the size it’s supposed to be straight off the needles,  but a little manipulation will just make it look Goldilocks’ just right and straight.

…I won’t be making this one again unless it just downright doesn’t fit Grandmother and she wants one that does.  Logan tried it on and it fit him and he’s much larger than she is, so I think I’m in the clear.

Off to burn that pattern!

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Set it on fire!

I think I’m an idiot when it comes to this cardigan pattern.

I’ve had so many issues with it that I just don’t think I should have had…and then I feel like a jerk for complaining about it because is it really the pattern or is it just user error?

I’m on the very last bit of it — just an 1.5″ of ribbing left and I weave in the ends.

…but for the life of me, I can’t get the set up stitches to line up right.  The whole thing decreases from 215 to 214 to force it into a 2×2 ribbing scheme.   …but it does so through a series of makes and decreases, so it’s a bit bizarre but I’ll go along with it.

The problem happens with the ribbing.

There’s a line of 2×2 ribbing stretching across 14 stitches that has traveled from the armpit down.  It’s supposed to continue down through the ribbing at the bottom that I’m supposedly working on now.  The instructions even mention the marker in the middle of the armpit ribbing and how it’s supposed to be purled on both sides.

BUT when I follow the directions for the rest of the pattern about where to add and decrease and where to start the 2×2 ribbing for the rest of the hem, it doesn’t match; it ends up exactly opposite of what it should be on one side.

I even wrote out all of my stitches and all of the stitches in the pattern to make sure I wasn’t insane and misreading something.

I counted everything at least a dozen times last night to make sure I wasn’t especially crazy.  I have the correct number of stitches and in the right places.

Sure enough, when I checked Ravelry and started digging in everybody’s notes, and it seems several other people that are making the cardigan in size L are having the same issue — some noted the issue with the pattern because they’re crazy and have made this damned thing several times and some figured it was just them having made a mistake along the way.

…so at least I’m not alone.  That always helps with sanity levels.

Now, how the hell do I fix this thing to force it to look right?

 

 

Thanksgiving blues + knitting guts

Knitting stuff is at the bottom if you want to skip to it.

I had to take a break from social media yesterday.  I probably should have today as well but at some point you just have to suck it up and move on, you know?

It’s funny how taking a break from Facebook and other sites is a big deal these days, but it really kind of is.  I’ve always been fairly connected to the internet; I loved chatting as soon as I had access to the internet and anybody who knows me well knows Logan and I met online before it was a more acceptable thing to do.

There’s your warning, this isn’t a happy post but I need the vent.

Thanksgiving has long been a holiday I haven’t enjoyed.

I loved it as a kid — I’d get TWO Thanksgivings.  We’d have Thanksgiving lunch at my Grandmother’s with Dad’s family and then we’d truck over to Granny Boo’s and have who knows what at her house with Mom’s family.   …usually a wild turkey that Uncle David had shot that was inedible so I was usually pretty glad I was already stuffed on turkey and could just enjoy the sides Granny Boo made.  Sides and family are the best parts of Thanksgiving anyway, right?  I’m pretty sure turkey (or green beans, but I’m unfairly biased since I’m allergic) is the least best part.

Then we get older and things change.

Grandmother’s was always particular fun because I still had great-grandparents living.

…and then Grandma died on Thanksgiving right after we’d eaten and Granny sat there crying, wringing her hands, saying it should have been her and she was next.

Mom’s family is miserable at best — the ones that are still alive don’t seem to really talk to each other anymore.  I’m not really sure what the falling outs were all about or if they all just finally got sick of pretending to like each other…but it seems the only time they talk to one another are at funerals or when the cops are involved, so family gatherings aren’t really a thing.

So yah, the thought Thanksgiving has lost a lot of its luster.

To make yesterday worse, it was Dad’s birthday.

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He would have been 57 and for some reason I’ve just been having a really hard time with it this year, I think because it was the 10th year anniversary of his passing on the 20th of this month.   …or because I just really, really miss him.   It could also be because it’s the double whammy of his birthday and Thanksgiving kicking off my sad season — my sister’s birthday is coming up in a few weeks and then I just have to ride it out until Christmas.

…things usually get better after Christmas.  The world quiets down, quits throwing celebrations in your face, and you can pretend to be normal again for eleven months.

Knitting stuff starts here.

Oh, and just to kick me in my teeth while I was down, as I working on the cardigan yesterday, I noticed something horrifying.

I had crossed one of my cables the wrong way.  15 rows back.  Without a life line.

WTF was I thinking getting cocky enough not to put in a good life line?!

The rows for the body are 215 stitches long, so there was no way I was tinking 3,225 stitches.  It takes long enough to knit those in moss stitch, much less tink them without twisting stitches.  I also wasn’t going to rip out 15 rows of work and then have to deal with picking up 215 stitches in the right order, without twisting them.

…the good news is, I’m a pro at now knowing if my stitches are twisted — something I wasn’t always so good at before starting this project.  I can also drop a whole column of stitches know and zip them right back up with a crochet hook in the right direction no problems.  So I could have done tinking or ripping, I just didn’t want to.

I’m only 4 rows from actually finishing the durn thing (minus the 1.5″ of ribbing that will fly by because no cabling)….so I did one of the scariest things I’ve done in a while.  Why not make this another opportunity to force myself to do things that have scared the snot out of me before?  Worst case, I have to rip it, which I just established I can do but just don’t want to do.

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I dropped the entire portion of the cable that I’d twisted wrong and pulled it back for the 15 rows and reknit it in place with DPNs in a size smaller than I’m using for the rest of the project — having chubby DPNs worked in my favor for a change (just so I could manipulate the working yarn)!

It took me two episodes of suffering through Logan watching the old Ghostbuster’s cartoon to fix….much faster than tinking and knitting everything again.  It’s slow going because the slack yarn gets really tight at the end and then I had to even out the stitch tension across the row, but it was definitely worth the effort and time saved.

I did have to shift and drop another small section two rows from the top before I finished, but only because I had a cable at the end that ended in purls and the yarn was too tight to finish it properly.  I’d already dropped and fixed 15 rows with 20 stitches each, shifting the last two rows over 10 stitches and redoing them was nothing at that point.

Due for an update

I’ve been so distracted with other things lately that I haven’t had much time for crafting, but as of yesterday, Grandmother’s cardigan is merrily ticking away again.

I’m about to start what I think will be the 5th and final skein of yarn, but I guess time will tell — I’ve always been horrible at judging exactly how much yarn a project will take.  I’m getting really close to starting the final ribbing, though, so I’m very excited.

I’ve been watching “The Great British Baking Show” on Netflix (or the Great British Bake Off when I caught a few episodes overseas) while doing this last bit and it has really been making me want to baaake…which is probably a horrible thing since I’m a fairly decent cook but not the best at baking.  I can cook a good cake or pie, but this show really makes me want to take out my great-Granny’s old recipe book and make her bread.  We’d have it every holiday, so maybe that adds to wanting it.

I asked Logan to add yeast to the shopping list this evening; he’s grabbing a few things for the long weekend on his way home…so I might as well, right?  😛

We’ll see how that adventure goes.

My KnitPicks yarn arrived a during my few days absence.  It’s all lovely and squishy.

Logan dove into it as well and had to rub his face in it all.  He chose the Stroll Sock Yarn in Aurora Heather as his favorite.  Lucky for him, it’s the yarn I had purchased to make him socks!

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KnitPicks does a better job photographing their products than I ever would. 😛

I’m still nervous about making socks and I’m not sure why.  He’s really excited about having some fancy, home knitted ones.  He even bothered to discover what Ravelry was and picked out a pattern.

I’m pretty sure he only picked the pattern because of the name but I’m not complaining.  Any time/interest that he invests is welcome.

He chose “Gimli Socks” by Claire Ellen.  He actually said he’d like the entire Fellowship set (go figure) but that those were his favorite, even though he’s an elf, not a dwarf.

I think the pattern is going to be a bit complicated for my first foray into socks…but I’m comfortable with DPNs and cabling and usually up for a good challenge, so maybe it won’t be so bad?

I’ll still probably procrastinate starting it for a bit.  I have this cardigan to finish and baby hats to make after all!  😀

Along with his sock yarn, I took advantage of the sale on KnitPicks and finally grabbed some tiny DPNs.  For some reason I only have rather chubby, metal ones and I’ve been drooling over the majestic ones for years.  I know that when I do make socks, I’ll want wood so the yarn doesn’t slip off as easily.  I didn’t want to miss my chance to get pretty things!

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Again, KnitPicks does a better job at photos than I could. 😛

…and they’re SO much more yummy irl.  I wish they weren’t quite so spendy, I would’ve snapped up an entire set just to have them and pet them.

I hope they hold up well and don’t bend.  They seem pretty sturdy.  I’ll let the world know here if I have issues with them when the time comes.

Easily distracted

I really should be cleaning since there are contractors coming over in a few hours…

…but vacuuming is never any fun.

So what do I do instead?

I pull out all of my yarn, weigh it, and enter it into Ravelry like I wanted to do yesterday.

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I have to admit, it’s super satisfying.  Bonus, I got to pet my own stash of yarn!

It looks kind of sad all squished down into a single image like that but when it’s all spread out into baskets and a drawer, it feels much better. 😛

I also have some bits and bobs I can’t identify what they started as anymore, but none of them are even remotely large enough for a project.  They’re in the corner of my yarn drawer and I use them for provisional cast ons, lifelines, or little amigurumi projects.  They’re pretty inconsequential in the end.

What did I learn from doing this?

I like to be organized…ridiculously organized.  I don’t like to clean, though.

I need to quit being quite so cautious when I order yarn for projects — I way over order because I tend to use more yarn than designers estimate and then I have all this gorgeous yarn left that I have no clue what to do with…other than make a million hats.

I’m super sad that KnitPicks has discontinued the Diadem yarns.  It was definitely my favorite to pet.  Chroma was probably my second favorite, so I’m glad it’s still around and that one of my upcoming projects is using it!  I’m going to be making this Phoenix-Wing shawl in it after I finish Grandmother’s cardigan and my scarf.  I’m also really happy they still have their Hawthorne Kettle Dye yarns, because what I have left over from making Mom a shawl a few years ago is sooo gorgeous and I loved working with it then…and the shawl turned out beautiful too.  I’ll definitely have to buy more of those in the future.

…and on a final note, I think I might make some hats for the Little Hats, Big Hearts project as my car project for the holiday traveling extravaganza that Logan and I always do.  Hats are something I can easily knit or crochet and if I only make one, I only make one…but if I make a bunch more, good for me!  Only downside is looking at my newly created Ravelry stash, I don’t have any red yarn that qualifies — the only red I have is metallic or lace.  Guess I’ll have to go yarn shopping?  Bummer!  ;P

I also found a really cute idea for a car craft caddy and I think I’ll draft one to fit my own needs and whip it out before the trip.  I’m always dropping stuff when I’m crafting, especially while traveling, even though I tailor-made my purse to hold a cake of yarn and my travel-tin of yarn goodies, so that seemed like a really neat system to help prevent my clumsy scattering of supplies.  We’ll see if I get around to it!

 

Heeeat!

I’m excited we have heat again!

The plumber came by yesterday morning with the new parts and had everything taken apart and reassembled in less than an hour and half — including the time he took to fully inspect our system and make sure the whole house came up to heat properly.  Way, way faster than we could’ve done anything and it was completely painless other than to our wallets; but, to be fair, he charged a very reasonable rate considering all the work he did and parts that needed replacing.  We’ll definitely be adding him to our list of recommended services.

Other than that, KnitPicks is KILLING me with their yarn sales.  I just have the cuff left on the sweater’s remaining arm then a few inches left on the body and it’s ready to be blocked…so it’s time to think about more yarn (when am I not thinking about yarn?), so a horrible time for them to be waving $1 and $3 skeins in my face.  I definitely bit on a few things and will share those and for what projects later. 🙂

I’m feeling a bit itchy and organizational — maybe because we’re having the plumber’s dad and brother over tomorrow to give us a ductless A/C quote — so rather than clean I’m wanting to pull out all of my yarn and actually put it in my Ravelry stash so I have a digital record of what I have.   I’ve always wanted to make a digital stash of my fabric too but I have so much more fabric that it may be easier to start with yarn…but that’s complicated because a lot of my yarn was given to me so doesn’t have a brand, much less weight/yardage…and is likely older than I am so who knows if I’ll ever get around to it.  XD

Frozen solid

Our heating system went kaput.  Right in time for the record low temperatures.  Huzzah!

Logan and I were able to diagnose the problems…that’s right, multiple cascading problems with auxiliary parts in the plumbing that caused the boiler to depressurize and be unable to refill.

We got a few things from Home Depot and cannibalized together a fix that trickle fed the boiler enough water that it repressurized overnight and we could turn it back on this morning so we have heat in some rooms and hot water again.

We did have to call in a guy to help out this afternoon, though.  We diagnosed four parts that failed, one catastrophically and the other three on the brink of death…so might as well have a pro do it can probably do a better job than we can definitely get the parts cheaper and sooner than we could.

Bonus, he’s also going to work up quotes for fixing another plumbing thing we hate but didn’t want to do ourselves and ductless air conditioning.

Still no heat in our upstairs, though.

Mitzi has no complaints; she loves any excuse to snuggle.

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He’s a free elf!

Our cold snap keeps rolling in and I’m loving it.  It’s supposed to get down to 16 tonight, which is a record low for this time of year.  Huzzah!

The bad news about that is I’m sending Logan out to a Tiesto show, so he’s going to freeze his butt off walking to the venue tonight over in Albany.  The wind off the Hudson can be wicked.  I’m not a fan of techno/club music and he conned some coworkers into going with him, so I’ll enjoy the break and get in some quality knitting.  I’m hoping I can finish off the skein from the arm I made the other day by adding some length to the torso and then start the other arm; I didn’t want a join in the middle of an arm.

The good news about the cold is that it’s cold!

…but while I love cold, I established yesterday that Mitzi doesn’t.  She shivers and shakes if it gets below freezing and starts demanding her clothing.  Yes, we’re that type of dog parent.  When your dog is miserable without a fluffy sweater on, though (and fights you when you try to take it off in winter), it’s hard not to be.

Yesterday, I had to do a supply run for dog food and cat litter to Target and the clothing section siren-songed me.  I ended up getting Mitzi a fluffy new “bathrobe” sweater made of minky and wouldn’t you know, they had an XL that fit Thorin too?!

Now, Thorin, being a big dog, has never had clothes before.  He has a tie he can wear for formal photos and a backpack for hiking but that’s the extent of it.  He likes blankets and being snuggled just as much as Mitzi — even though he’s also just as happy running in the snow — so since the robe was only eight bucks, I thought what the hell, let’s do a hilarious family photo for our Christmas card this year!

We tested the robe on him last night.

We put Mitzi’s robe on her first since she’s already cold and acting like a burr stuck to my butt.  Thorin was dancing around hoping we had something for him in the bag but when he saw it was clothes, he went and lay down on Mitzi’s little bed and pouted a bit — he never gets clothes after all.  Surprise, big dog!

We wrapped him up in his fluffy, canine robe; his tail was wagging and he was wiggling around in glee the whole time.  His reaction was on par with his “going to see Bella” reaction**.  Then he strutted around the house like he was the most special dog in the world (he’s one of them, but don’t tell him that).

Then he came upstairs to our bedroom, decided he was clothed so was was a free elf — and therefore human now — so invited himself onto our bed where he did his bizarre wuffle-purr that he does when he’s uncontrollably happy.  He also had his doofy dog smile most of the night, so we let him break the rules and sleep with us.  It was worth it.

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Joule, seen in the background, isn’t sure why Thorin is on the bed where she normally sleeps.  She was okay with it though, she loves Thorin.  As a kitten, we joked that she was his kitten, not ours because they were inseparable…now she’s more of my shadow, but still loves the big guy and snuggles him often.

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I know I’ve seen research that says most dogs don’t like being hugged, but he’s totally the exception.  He’ll seek out hugs and put himself in positions to be hugged, snuggled, or wrapped up in blankets.  I’ve used this dog as a pillow before and he’s completely chill with it.

Added bonus: Mitzi is a bizarrely small Mini Schnauzer and her robe fits the cats.  We tested it on Sagan since he was the only one not eating when we had the idea and he had zero objections to being wrapped up in a minky bathrobe and fell asleep within minutes, doing his own species appropriate purr.  Our Christmas card this year is going to be fun indeed!

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**  Bella was my sister’s dog, so lives with my Mom in Virginia.

Thorin loooooves Bella and looooves car rides and loooooves playing in VA where they get to run around in the mountains and cause all sorts of mayhem like stealing deer carcasses and killing possums.  Just saying the word “Bella” around Thorin results in him rushing the front door and wild leaps and yips. …he knows the entire 12 hour car ride, down to the correct interstate exit 18 miles from Mom’s house; none of the other exits for gas or food phase him, but at that exit, he starts to flip out again and wants to ride the rest of the trip with his head out of the window.  He starts whining incessantly a few miles away from Mom’s house — he knows.   He once tried to climb OUT of the window  –lesson learned, we only put the windows down far enough for his nose now, not his entire fat head — when we get to my Grandmother’s house so he can beat us all to Bella (no worries, we slow to a stop for the sharp turn to the road to my house, so if he had managed to get out, the car wouldn’t have been moving).  Nothing is better than Bella in Thorin’s eyes.

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Thorin and Bella refueling on water last year after playing in the cow barn.  So, so stinky.  No wonder he loves it there. 😛

Partial finish

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One sleeve finished and a lap full of shivering Mini Schnauzer.

The small circulars worked the whole sleeve, so I’m quite happy about that.  Now back to the body for a bit then I’ll do the other sleeve.

We also finally have a cold snap and Mitzi is having none of it.  I can’t peel her off of me for anything.

Back in my crafting room for a bit.

Just wanted to throw out a quick crafting update.  I haven’t been doing much lately, as I’ve been distracted with other things, namely trying to help Logan tackle the epic amount of parts breakdown and disassembly of stuff in his lab.   …but there has been a small amount of progress!

The first and happiest of news, I had a package arrive at my house last week.  I’m pretty sure the people over at TheFabricMarket had to sit on it to get it closed.  It definitely took the “if it fits, it ships” thing to the limits.

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In it was the ultimate of fluffy treasures:  the llama minky!  I love it, it’s perfect.  It matches the cotton I already had for the flimsy quite well for an internet purchase, so I can’t wait until I have the time to really cut into the fabric and start making this quilt!

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I’ve also made some progress on the cardigan front.

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The little green markers are where I was designating the cabling on the sleeves.  I’ve made a good bit of progress since that photo and only have about 9 inches of the body left to knit.

When I finished the last skein of yarn I was using, I decided to switch over to working on a sleeve since I’ve never done one of those before and was worried it was be needlessly tedious.  I didn’t have any dpns in the same size, so I just used my smallest cable (8″) and so far it has worked fine.  I do have to decrease every 6 rows, so it may become an issue further along and I’ll have to buy some dpns in that size, but for now, it’s not a problem at all.  I am glad I started the sleeves early, as turning all the bulk of the cardigan around and around to make the sleeves in the round is annoying as anything.  Adding another 9″ worth of cardigan and yarn weight would only exacerbate that.

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Lastly, Mom’s husband bought some My Pillows and they came with some little travel size pillows.  Mom laughed hysterically when she saw that the cases for the travel sized ones were $15 each on the site — the pillows are already ridiculously expensive — and asked if I’d make them a few.

Mom regularly gives me their old sheets after they’ve torn or something else; I typically use them to make muslins for clothing patterns or as foundations for fussy quilt blocks.  This time, though, I used one of their sheets to make the pillow cases since it had a nice high thread count (and obviously was to their taste and color scheme).  I chose to make envelope cases, a little smaller than the pillows so they’d be nice and tight on them.  I personally get annoyed at floppy pillow cases, so if they don’t like them, I’ll remake them.  They took all of 5 minutes and 4 seams, including the French seam, to sew. 😛

Joule helped, as is her way.

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I’ve also had the chance to throw a bit more of the PMC3 paste on my project of ultimate nervousness.  I had to order a new batch of it and the new container was in much better condition and actually a workable slip, which makes me wonder if the old one hadn’t been tampered with or purchased and returned — it was dried up a bit and didn’t have a seal (which I didn’t know to expect since it was my first time purchasing it and an online order).  I was able to reconstitute it since I’m comfortable working with clay but otherwise, it would have been a nightmare the first time around.  I’m much happier with this container of it, as there is nothing to fiddle with, it’s perfectly workable right out of the box.  I’ll update that one this one with photos after it’s actually fired in a few weeks.  *nervous*