What I’ve Not Been Up To

I have no exciting knitting to share. I’ve been very busy not-knitting, actually. I seem to have gotten into a bit of a knitting funk. I just have no motivation to pick up my needles. Savannah’s Harry Potter sweater is very close to completion and I just have not done it. I’m not sure what to blame this on. The pattern is very not exciting, for starters. It’s all stockinette. Once I finished the not-really-intarsia letter H there was nothing to keep it interesting. Is my attention span so short? Yes, apparently it is. And somehow, while I’ve been busy not-knitting it, it got to be May! At this point, I’m thinking there’s already no way possible that all my big projects will be completed for Christmas. And I’m thinking that’s okay. I’ll have to decide, once I’m feeling knitty again, which projects take precedence. I also think, however, that I kind of burned myself out with the number of projects I ended up making for last Christmas. Moderation: it’s good for all things. Anyone have any tips for getting out of my knitting funk? I really would like to start knitting again, but night after night, I just don’t. Hm.

While I’ve been not-knitting, we’ve also been not-sailing, which is a bit of a bummer. We spend Mother’s Day down at the boat trying to finish up the maintenance necessary before putting it back in the water. It’s very close now and it’s scheduled to go back in Memorial Day weekend. Of course, this would be easier if Alan – who is not a runner – hadn’t signed up for a 50k race on June 1. Why would he do such a thing? So… getting the boat ready and finishing up training will both be packed into the next two weeks. This should get interesting.

So what have I been doing whilst busy not-knitting and not-sailing? There have been softball practices and games and church activities. There was a First Holy Communion and a party. And there has been reading, which is a plus. It is hard to find the time for both knitting and reading (and I found out the hard way not to try to mix the two). I was inspired by the release of the movie (which I haven’t seen) to re-read The Hobbit, which I just finished. I intend to go on and read The Lord of the Rings books and The Silmarillion, but we’ll see.

So what have you not been doing that you should be or would like to be doing?

Intarsia, or lack thereof

Intarsia, or lack thereof

I finally got to the point of inserting the initial in Savannah’s Harry Potter sweater. I had been working under the assumption that this process would involve intarsia color blocking techniques. Then I got there and read the directions again. They actually tell you not to use separate bobbins, but to strand the yarn behind like you do for fair isle and weave it in every few stitches. I actually did read the directions when I first got them, but at that point I had no clue about multi-color techniques so it didn’t mean anything to me until I read it again after some research about intarsia. I’m a little disappointed. I was looking forward to trying it. Looks like that experience may wait until I get to making this firetruck sweater, specifically requested by Sammy when I was browsing Ravelry one day.

Anyway, here’s my H starting to appear:

IMG_4648It doesn’t show up in the picture, but there’s a little bit of puckering in some of the places where I weave in the stranded yarn on the other side. I find I have to be super careful about tension in doing that. I don’t want to leave it too loose, but too tight and I get a little pucker.

And the back:

IMG_4649I’m not sure why they would want you to do it this way. It seems like it would make for a neater finish if it was done as intarsia, but what do I know? I’m happy to see it coming together though, and glad for something interesting to do. Nothing but stockinette was getting boring, which becomes a factor in how quickly I get things done. Hopefully the rest of it will fly by and I’ll be putting it together soon – with nice, neat seams.

Recent reading

I just finished The Poisonwood Bible, which has been on my to-read list for at least 10 years. I need to read more Kingsolver, I just love the way she writes. I can add The Poisonwood Bible to a couple of other books I’ve loved that have dealt with the history of the Congo in various ways, particularly Heart of Darkness and King Leopold’s Ghost. My historical education has been rather lacking in African history, which is a lack I would really like to fill.

Savannah is flying through the last third or so of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince a while ago but needed a bit of a break before finishing the series. I loved the Harry Potter series and I love watching her experience it as well. She thinks it’s rather funny that she’ll have read the whole series in second grade, as her school doesn’t allow kids to check the Harry Potter books out from the library until third grade.

Savannah has also read Friendship with Jesus, which is a beautifully illustrated picture book that includes children’s questions about the Eucharist, and answers by Pope Benedict XVI. It’s a perfect book for kids preparing for their First Holy Communion.

Sammy and Lissie have loved How Rocket Learned to Read. This book is adorable, and perfect for pre-readers and budding readers. Felicity at this point can recognize a few common sight words and knows letter sounds but isn’t quite at the point where she can start to sound out words she doesn’t know. This book is great for gently starting to introduce that skill. The sequel, Rocket Writes a Story, is definitely on our to-read list.

Well so much for that…

Multitasking, that is. Despite my efforts at making the most of my free time by knitting and reading simultaneously, I have merely succeeded in confirming that multitasking is inefficient and leads to errors. I measured my work; I was just about at the point to start adding the letter H to my first Harry Potter sweater when a mistake caught my eye. I’d managed to pick up an extra stitch on one end. After counting my stitches it turns out that I had in fact managed to pick up two extra stitches. Enter a brief mental struggle over whether to fudge it by knitting a couple sets of stitches together and be bothered by the error every time I looked at the thing, or rip a couple inches and do it right. I ripped it. It was painful. Lesson learned. I suppose I’ll finish this sweater eventually; it seems to be taking forever. It’s probably a mark of my generation that I so greatly prefer projects done with bulkier yarn and bigger needles. If not instant, gratification that comes at least a bit faster is so nice.

Hermione Hat

Hermione Hat

After knitting many hats for Christmas, it began to get depressing to put on my old $5 Target hat every day. I decided to make a hat for myself. Of course, it had to be geek chic. That’s just how I roll.

Isn’t this hat lovely? Hermione wore it in the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince film.

hermione hatI used this pattern of an interpretation of the hat. I made it as written, not using the possible modifications at the bottom. I think mine turned out quite nicely.

IMG_4497 IMG_4483I think my gauge must have been a bit off because my brim is a lot longer than it’s supposed to be. It’s all good though. I like a rolled brim anyhow. I am very bad though, I rarely check my gauge. Who wants to spend time doing that when you could be beginning the project?

Now I have a hand knit hat, too. 🙂

Big Projects Ahead

Big Projects Ahead

So I’m finishing up a couple little projects I started the year off with and planning and preparing to start the year’s Big Projects.

The first Big Project I am so excited about I can hardly contain myself. Who remembers these sweaters?

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I’m making them! Eep! This weekend a very, very exciting package arrived all the way from the New Lanark Yarn Shop in Scotland, containing the actual pattern and yarn used to make the sweaters for the film. I know, I know, I’m still geeking out about it.

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Three kits, one for each of my children. The pattern comes with the chart for a letter H. It’s so convenient that our last name begins with H. H’s all around! This will be a Christmas present. The only part of this that might give me a bit of grief is knitting in the initial. I spent some time this past weekend clicking around tutorials for intarsia or colorblock knitting and I think I’ve at least got the basics in my head. We’ll see about the execution, however.

The other Big Projects on my list will also be Christmas presents. How adorable are these?

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It’s Purl the Little Knit Girl! You make the doll, Purl, and then there are different outfits for her for each of the little things she goes in. For example, she wears the daisy hat and jumper and fits into the little felted flower pot, so she just looks like a flower in a pot. Then there is a coordinating daisy hat for the child! I thought they were adorable, so each of the girls (my daughters and nieces) will be getting one of these for Christmas.

I’m already worried about budgeting my time. I think I have to plan a month for each sweater and probably a month for each complete Purl set…. which makes a total of 10 months already and it’s the end of January, yikes! I hope I’m over-estimating the time required.

Now, obviously I have to also do something for the boys (my son and nephew). I don’t think they’d be into having a Purl, even if I made it a boy doll, so here’s my plan for them. A football hat and a scarf in Redskins colors to go with it. Not so much a Big Project, but I think it will go over well, and thank goodness, because I have enough of those for now, I think.