Reading While Knitting

Nothing complicated; nothing too exciting, but yes, I do knit while I read. As well as during many other domestic activities.

Monday, March 27, 2006

I promised you sleeves

So I've been wondering what they do with all their knitting. You know, the folks who can knit more than about 2 rows per day? Do they have sweaters spilling out of every bureau? Do they gift total strangers with knitted throws, gloves, and hats? Socks for their dogs? Do they inundate charities? Focus on fiddly heirloom knitting? Just have more freaking finished objects than I do?

I'm back at the needles after the Week Where Most Of Them Got Disgustingly Sick. I've done more laundry, wiped more floors, and changed more clothes (and diapers) than I want to even think about. I think it's gone now, though, that horrid something stalking my family's digestive systems. Knock wood, I never got it. I did manage to finish the back of the sweater, which made me cheery in the face of sick kids. Here it is, unblocked. It's less lumpy and curvy now.
Even more excitingly at the time, I used my kitchen scale to turn the one remaining ball into two cakes-for-sleeves: the same weight, wound by different helpers children and one is much tighter. I'm going to have plenty of yarn.

Speaking of cakes, today is actually my birthday. Whoopie! I managed to spend it running around like a whirlwind -- kids to houses for play dates, grocery shopping (to the exciting store far away, then to the regular store in town), back to get the kids, taking Thing 1 to the fencing club. By celebration time, I just wanted to crawl under the table and rest.

How could I, though. See this?
It's not a jumble of dirt-colored food, no, it's a made to order by my kids (mostly Thing 1) ice cream cake. Coffee ice cream and chocolate cookies, topped with more cookies and pecans. The way to this mama's heart, I tell you. And the little packet is a "made all by myself" gift from my dear Thing 2. She drew bunnies on the wrapping, but even better, had an argument with them while she was drawing them. "Be quiet!" "No, we won't!" "Be quiet!" "No!" Makes me wonder if that's how I sound to her.

And that's not all. This, from my spouse,

is enough to make my heart go pitter-pat. It's a real-life adjustible light stand! He geekily made a spreadsheet to calculate the lowest cost per lighted square inch, including tax and shipping. My vegetables and flowers don't care about that, and they are as happy as I've ever seen them. I have fantasies of starting seeds and selling them at the farmers' market, just because I can. Do you think my friends will start to avoid me if I begin to sidle up to them and say, "Hey, take just one more lemon cucumber plant. I've started so many. . ."

During the cake devouring, Thing 2 asked about the "flag salute." (We've been reading a lot of Beverly Cleary aloud -- comfort fiction for the six year old set.) Since I demonstrated conclusively that years of schooling hadn't taught me the salute, hilarity reigned. We segued into the national anthem, which gave me a perfect opportunity to sing aloud, something I inflict on my family as much as possible. Then we talked about the strategic significance of "striking the colors," and I suggested that maybe a flag could be taken down for reasons other than surrender. My spouse suggested that I was demonstrating a sex-linked ineptitude for military leadership. "Oh, my, take down that flag before it gets holes in it!" were, I think, his exact words. I said something about knitting the flag, and he was off.

"'How many stars? Damn! This stripe has seven rows, that one has nine! Why can't I keep this straight?' If you were Betsy Ross, Washington would have been accepting Cornwallis' surrender at Yorktown before you had the flag off your needles. They would have been using underwear on sticks."

So, he knows me and my kntting fairly well. (And he gives great present, so we'll ignore his harassment.) This is a long way around to saying that the sleeves aren't actually finished. They're, well, barely started. Back to that revolutionary flag-knitting stuff, and the opening rant to this post, I knit on them more than it appears. It's sort of like hiking with a dog: you both go from A to B, but the dog goes a significantly longer distance. Great. I've just confessed in public that I knit like a dog hikes.

I do like to have it "right," although I'm willing to bag projects, as the infamous Olympic lace attests. So, as you can see in this picture,
if you squint really hard, the cable on the left displays the original plan, which was seed stitch all the way up to the cable. I'd finish things more quickly if I didn't try to reinvent every wheel. There's a reason that cables are on grounds of reverse stockinette stitch -- they look better. (Insert sound of me smacking head.) The right cable displays that option -- option Should Have Done It This Way First. I changed them both. I also used the same cable that's going up the middle of the back. I couldn't find a small, leaf-shaped cable that I liked to put up the sleeves. Thing 1 said, rather pissily, "So it's going to be more of a wave-cabled sweater than a leaf cabled sweater."


Are you hypnotized yet by a yarny closeup?

So I changed the cables by dropping all of the stitches down and redoing them. I was close enough to the start -- insert hysterical laughter here, I can't get these much past the start, no matter what I do -- that it was easy doing it that way. I like the result. And hey! I got to knit without altering the finished size of the object one iota! Apparently, that's my new goal.

I'm hoping to actually have a pair of finished sleeves by tomorrow. I'm not, however, going to tell my spouse that.

P.S. When I'm knitting something like the sleeves, since I'm the total ADD knitter, I write out a list of the row numbers, 1-90 or so, and mark increase rows with asterisks. Notice I always try to knit sleeves, cardi fronts, etc. at the same time? That helps with the no-brain-required part. So, I can read if I look at my list, say, "I'm on row 15, it's a wrong side row, I'm starting with a knit stitch, now, seed stitch, hmmmm, knit, purl, knit, purl. . .oh, a marker, purl purl knit, back of cable, purl purl purl purl, knit knit purl, marker, seed stitch starting with a purl this time. . ." and so on. The inner dialogue makes enough room for some reading, either aloud, like I did today for the reptile-lovers (did you know that Komodo dragons have a "third eye" on top of their head? Neither did I!) or to myself, as long as it's a magazine article or relatively escapist fiction. And that's how I knit and read, at least right now.


At 12:18 AM, Blogger Rain said...

Happy Birthday!

It sounds like you had a great if not eventful day. Hope the Things are all feeling better.

The back looks great, you must be relieved to have it done. Those sleeves should fly along now you have a plan. I knit like things simultaneously too, saves me from going mad.

At 3:32 AM, Blogger Emma said...

Grattis pÄ födelsedagen! ( = Happy birthday!)

At 4:08 AM, Blogger amanda j said...

Happiest birthday to you (repeat!). The knitting is gorgeous. Well done!

At 4:42 AM, Blogger A said...

Happy Birthday! Yum looking cake, sweater's looking beautiful, I am feeling your pain on the sick kids, for gawdsake whenwillitend? And for you, a birthday link:

At 8:03 AM, Blogger Stefaneener said...

Look, A, YOU knit the flag thingy, okay? I'm busy with these here sleeves ; )

At 9:35 AM, Blogger Brittany said...

Happy (belated) birthday!

And as for people who are able to knit more than two rows... no overflow of FOs. Just more frogged ones. ;)

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Janis said...

Happy belated birthday, toots!
As for what do we do with our knitted stuff? Mostly I give it to family members or stuff it in a cedar chest as if they were time capsules :--)

At 11:09 AM, Blogger String Bean said...

Happy Birthday!
The sweater looks like a pup to tackle. I hate piecing bits together (this from a person who wants to start quilting).
No FO's here either. Just slogging through the knitting swamp.
I'm envious of your reading while knitting ability. I still can't do it.
Nice plant stand! I could use one here, I just started my seeds the day before yesterday. Lucky!
The cake looks sinful. Makes me want to dive right in.
Hehe, Thing 2 arguing with the bunnies. I can just imagine it. Maybe they wanted to be a different color?
I only knit a few rows per day, too. We still make SOME progress, don't we? It's enough.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Wendi said...

I've got a garden that I want to could dish off as many seedlings as you wanted on me if I were local!

At 12:30 PM, Blogger aurora said...

Happy birthday!

Plant stand looks wonderful! No more naughty sparrows! I love the green back, too. It's lovely, and I am so impressed with how RIGHT it is :-)

I make notes as I knit. Otherwise I forget everything...

At 12:39 PM, Blogger bfmomma said...

OMG, I forgot your birthday! That's right... you and THing 1 were the March bdays... I remember when you were planning Thing 2 and wanted all March birthdays...

The sweater back is BEAUTIFUL! so very cool. Someday I promise to try something like that w/ a pattern.

And the seedlings... {sigh} Reminds me of time growing up. My dad made a very similar grow light that was adjustable...

(((hugs))) and bday wishes

At 4:30 PM, Blogger allisonmariecat said...

Happy Birthday! The back of the sweater looks absolutely wonderful.

At 10:13 AM, Blogger sewingsuzee said...

Looks like it was a lovely day, the sleeves are spectacular, and I can't wait to see it on the wearer.

And GEEZ LOUEEEZ you have 13 comments! You're like, totally super popular!

With good reason...

At 10:42 AM, Blogger jen said...

Fabulous idea about the simultaneous sleeve-a-thon!
If I weren't too scatterbrained and didn't have too much sock wool and wasn't on a strict, husband-inflicted buy no more yarn or face my angry scowl diet and I actually had yarn for a sweater, I'd totally copy you.

Seedlings. Light stands. Decadent desserts. Cabley goodness. Oh, the bliss!

Except for the puking kids part. :) But at least it's over now, right?

At 5:07 PM, Blogger K said...

Happy belated B-day!

Lurve the sweater - it's gorgeous. I hope hub was mopping up after kids too before he made his meanie flag crack! LOL (I'd like to think I have mine trained, but I don't!)



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