Tuesday, December 29, 2015

FO: Nurmilintu

I actually finished this a couple of weeks ago, but it's been awfully December around here, with all of the attendant busy-ness that is normal for our family this time of year.  (Actually, there was all the normal busy-ness plus a little extra, if you count Rhi's graduation, and I certainly do.)

Anyway, all of which is to say, I've finished up Nurmilintu!  This was one of the projects that was a serious contender for my January 1 Cast On last year (I ended up going with the Denver Cowl, if you'll remember, in my Coffee Break Yowza Whatta-Skein instead).   I ended up casting it on in March during my "Pinks and Neutrals" period.

It's a great pattern - asymmetrical, garter (including the lace), and it handles variegation like a champ.  

I started weighing my yarn every time I finished a section - I wanted to see if I would have enough left over to knit an extra garter stitch and lace section.  Basically I wanted to use as much of my yarn as I could.  In the end I just knit to pattern though - I had enough left over to knit another garter section, but I really wanted to end on the lace, and that I did not have enough for.  

See that lace?  It makes such a nice edging.  I'm glad I decided not to go on to add more garter (even if I do have around 90 yards of leftover yarn.)

Project Notes

Pattern: Nurmilintu by Heidi Alander
Yarn: Rowan Fine Art in the "Chiff Chaff" colorway
Total Yardage: 345 yards
Needles:  US 6 (4.0 mm)
Started: March 21, 2015
Completed: December 8, 2015

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Tidings of Peppermint Joy

When Rhiannon was very little, she misheard the lyrics to a classic yuletide hymn, and believed that the Merry Gentlemen in question were being offered tidings of peppermint joy.  

In that spirit, I started the weekend Thursday night at Starbucks with Koren, a Peppermint Mocha, and my sock knitting.

Peppermint Joy in Action

Then Carl and I celebrated our 16th and 18th anniversaries (married and first date, respectively) on Friday.  He's the best husband I've ever had and I'm keeping him.

Saturday and Sunday were spent shopping, getting a haircut and hanging out with Morgan, more shopping, thinking about baking (but not actually doing any) and of course knitting.

Taking a much needed break between Christmas shopping destinations

Christmas shopping the weekend before Christmas can be awful.  But if you go in with the right attitude, the right company, and a healthy sense of the ridiculous, it can be a lot of fun.

My life was empty and meaningless before I knew of the Tinsel Pig

In knitting news, my Christmas socks are moving along nicely.  One sock completely done and the toe well started on the second.  I rather like having a Christmas project that I can work on during the season, without any particular pressure to finish. I finished a pair of Christmas socks on Christmas day last year. I'm enjoying knitting these this year, and I'll enjoy wearing them next year.  (That's the great thing about Christmas.  You get one every year.)

So now I'm sitting in my living room, enjoying my tree, having a cup of peppermint tea, and ... watching Series 22 of Top Gear (3 out of 4 soothing things isn't bad, right?)

G-d rest ye, and let nothing you dismay.  I wish you tidings of peppermint joy this holiday season.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Big Doings

It's been the very best kind of busy here this week.

Morgan's holiday band concert was Thursday night.  It's set up so the music never actually stops from start to finish -- they rotate through the full band, the jazz band, various solos and ensembles without ever stopping.  There was a very cool acapella drum piece done by the drumline."  One of the drummers sat in the middle of the stage and played "air drums" while the rest of the drum line stood behind him and "sang" what he was playing.  It was seriously neat.   

They wrapped the whole thing up with their half-time show.  This year was Bruno Mars ... which works surprisingly well given the number of brass instruments the band has.  It was awesome.  Loud, since we were in an auditorium, but awesome.

This is what good parenting looks like.
I should back up and mention that earlier that day Carl helped Rhiannon move into her new apartment.  I wasn't there for that, since it happened while I was at work.

I mention it though because with Rhiannon here for a couple of weeks we had extra furniture in the living room.  Which further meant that there really wasn't room to also have Christmas in there.

So Friday morning Carl and I got up and cleaned the bejeebers out of everything, put up the Christmas village, went to all the stores, came home and put up the tree, discovered most of our lights are buggered (note to self:  buy new lights on after-holiday clearance this year), decorated the tree, ate festive Hanukkah fried chicken, had some wine, and then decorated for Rhiannon's graduation party.

Did someone say graduation?

That's right-- Rhiannon graduated magna cum laude, with university honors on Saturday.  We were at Murphy Center at 8:15 Saturday morning to watch my beautiful baby girl complete another major milestone with grace, excellence, and general ass-kicking.  (She smuggled in her knitting and worked on a sock throughout the ceremony.  That's my girl.)  I may have cried.  Just a little. Er... not about the knitting.  About the graduating.

Get a load of this beauty.
Right after graduation we rushed back to the house (by way of Jimmy Johns, because someone forgot to eat breakfast) to finish getting ready for her party.  

We had several friends over to celebrate with Rhi, eat a little nosh, and drink a little champagne.  It was completely lovely.

And then...

(you thought surely I was done, didn't you?)

...and then we got ready to go to my office Holiday Party.  The party was supposed to last from 6:00 to 9:00, but Carl and I bailed at about 7:15.  Lame, but I was so tired and I figured I'd done my due diligence and made an appearance.

I was sound asleep on my couch by 9:30.  What a party animal!

So today my major ambitions have been:  knit a swatch, weave in some ends (there will be some FO posts soon!), and embrace the lifestyle of the roly poly sloth.  

It's been a great weekend, full of really big doings.   As I post this Morgan and Carl are making latkes and jelly donuts.   When I announced that I was too tired and something had to give they looked at each other and decided that they were on it.  

I am entirely delighted, and am choosing to be at peace if some of them are pink.  (There was talk of beets).  There are consequences to choosing not to be involved, and I am prepared to accept them.

Happy Festival of Lights, y'all.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Gettin' Busy and FO: Leg Warmers for a Certain Young Miss of My Acquaintance

It's been a relatively quiet week here at chez woolly.  We have very brief respite between the overindulgence that is Thanksgiving, and the madness that is the entire rest of December.  (At home anyway.  At work we just launched our annual Performance Assessment process -- the first since the two companies merged, and it's a bit of a cluster... but here at home things are nice and calm).

Hanukkah starts this evening, and I'll be lighting the candles.  We probably won't have a big celebration this year, but we're making plans to enjoy some fried foods and listen to some traditional Hanukkah tunes.  

This coming week also holds lunch dates with good friends, Christmas concerts, and my baby girl's graduation (and subsequent move back out of the house after a very brief, furniture-filled visit).   Oh, an my work's Holiday Party, if I can't weasel out of it.

It's pretty much GO GO GO from here 'til New Year's, so I've spent this morning doing some quiet reflection, goal planning, and just generally soaking in some peace.

And Pie.  Peace, Planning, and Pie.

I've been hustling to finish a pair of leg warmers I'm making for Jess' oldest sprogling.  She's a dancer, and what dancer doesn't need sparkly leg warmers?  (I'm also totally cheating and combining an FO post with a weekly wrap-up post.  My blog, my rules. Fight me.)

I did a bunch of research (and by "research" please understand I mean "trolling for patterns on Ravelry") but in the end I just did my own thing.  The pattern goes like this:

CO 52 sts in worsted weight yarn on size 6 needles
K2P2 until you've lost the will to live (usually after around 4" or so)
Now K2P2 some more until you've reached ~18"
BO, using a modified JSSBO*
Sob quietly as you cast on for the second one.

*Okay -- so Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off does just exactly what it says on the tin.  You basically add a little extra space in each bound off stitch by doing a backwards YO before you bind the stitch off (please find real instructions here.)    To modify it for the leg warmers, I just did the YO between each K stitch and each P stitch, but not between the stitches that transition between knit and purl.  That gave me just the perfect amount of stretch.

Project Notes

Pattern: My Own -- Simple K2P2 Rib
Yarn:  Caron Simply Soft Party in the "Silver Sparkle" colorway
Total Yardage: 253 yards
Needles:  US 6 (4.0 mm)
Started: November 8, 2015
Completed: December 6, 2015

I've cast on another set for Little Sister, using the yarn that's left (#matchymatchykal -- is that still a thing?)    For Bu's I'm following the same basic recipe, but I cast on 36 stitches, and will go until it looks right or I run out of yarn -- whichever comes first.

In other news, I arbitrarily decided at some point during November that I'd like to bust 10K yards knit and crocheted in 2015 (note to self:  have this revelation earlier in the year next time).  I'm sitting pretty on 9622 yards so I'm only lacking just short of 400.  

I'll have Bu's wee leg warmers, but that'll only net me 75 yards at best (since that is how much I have left).  I also have a few more little gifts to tie up here and there. 

But if I want to make my goal, I'd better plan to get serious.   To that end, I pulled Nurmilintu back out of the work-basket.

That should do it.