Monday, December 31, 2007

No More Chilly Dog

Miss Wanda's sweater is done. I made this one very, very fitted this year. Last year's sweater got so stretched out that she was walking right out of it. I had to grab a handful of it at the back of her neck and put a rubber band around the handful to keep it on her. This year I swatched a lot then knitted and tried it on her several times as I went. I'm particularly happy about the collar which I did a nice cable pattern on. It is nice and snug so that when it stretches out, it will still stay on her. The thing that cracks me up is that this dog really seems to like her sweater. Whenever I took it off her after trying it on, she acted all disappointed!
My big plans for New Year's Eve? I'm casting on the Eris sweater for my sister Margaret. She was so funny when I was measuring her for it. She was all worried that it didn't look long enough in the picture. I was like "Sweetie, then I'll just keep knitting until it's long enough." She was totally missing the concept of Custom Made. She was the same way with the sleeves. I had to explain the whole top down concept where if it isn't long enough, I undo the bind off row and fix it. She is definitely very particular so I'm going to have her try it on as I go. This is the great thing about a top down, knit all at once sweater. I want to make sure it is something that she gets a lot of use out of. Once I'm done with hers, I'm going to make one for myself!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Conversation

A little conversation we had about a week ago on the way to school.

Little Nephew: Auntie Lucy, do you love me?
Me: Yes, Sweetie, I do.
LN: Do you love me more than knitting?
Me: Well, you know I love knitting an awful lot.
LN: Do you love me more?
Me: Yes, I love you more than knitting.
LN: But you love knitting a lot.
Me: Yes, but I love you more.

Just trying to figure out where he fits in, I guess. Pretty perceptive for a six year old, though.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas FO Round-up

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas whether you were actually celebrating it or just having a quiet day off.
I’ve had better. Remember me complaining about how tired I was last Friday? It became apparent by about 2am Saturday that I was actually coming down with the mother of all head colds. I spent the majority of Christmas day sitting in bed, watching TV and blowing my nose.
(Warning: If you don’t appreciate runny nose talk, skip ahead now. I, somehow, feel compelled to blog about it. Sorry. I’m twelve.)
I was mentioning this phenomenon in knitting group and Annie described it perfectly. She said that it’s like evil aliens have opened a portal to the Mucous Dimension inside your head. There’s just no other way to explain how otherwise normal and fairly mild-mannered sinuses could possibly be producing that much snot! I, literally, could not be out of reach of a tissue for the entire day. I came to understand what the Yarn Harlot meant when she said she felt she must blow her nose or end her life.
I am feeling much better now, thanks in large part to my humidifier. All hail the mighty humidifier! I think mine cut this cold down by several days.
I'm fairly pleased with how much I've gotten done this holiday season.
When I last posted about my progress, I'd just finished the nieces sweaters and was doing battle with the first stocking. Here is that stocking with the bow recentered.
I then made this one for my sister
and this one for my brother-in-law. After that came Little Nephew's presents. He asked me for a hat that was also a mask, a scarf to match and some socks. He picked all the colors himself, BTW.
Last, but not least, were socks for the two zen masters at CZC.
The first pair is made from Regia Silk which is my new favorite sock yarn. It is soft and really great to work with. I'm ordering it in every color it comes in when I order Regia next!
My next project is a sweater for the Divine Miss W. She's a little chilly but will, hopefully, will be warmly clothed within a few days.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all of us here at Chez Full Service.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Good Grief!

I don't know about the rest of you, but this week has kicked. my. ass. I am so glad it's Friday, I can't even tell you. And I don't seem to be the only one. Everyone I've talked to is just about beside themselves. I'm even skipping a party I wanted to go to tonight because I can't face the thought of going to bed later than 9pm. I plan to be in my nightie by 8, sitting in bed, watching TV with a warm doggie and my knitting!
Christmas knitting is on track though I'm slowing down and if you haven't been by for a truffle, your time is running out!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ah, Snow

So lovely, so pristine. There's only one real drawback.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Slip Sliding Away

For those of you who don't live in the New England area, we've been having a bit of an ice storm today. It wasn't enough to make the roads very bad but walking was another story. Every property owner is resposible for taking care of their own bit of sidewalk. Most people do some work on their sidewalk since you can get a ticket if you don't but not all of them get to it first thing in the morning, say, when I'm walking Little Nephew to school. I have to say, a lot of the sidewalk was in pretty good shape but what wasn't was downright treacherous! Little Nephew, however, was having the time of his life. He's slide around, fall down and yell "That didn't hurt!!" Every once in a while exclaiming "This is GREAT!" To which I'd add "For me, not so much!" Eventually, he'd yell "This is GREAT, but for you, not great!" The worst part was a spot they'd missed right by the school. I got lulled into a false sense of security until we hit a big ice patch. LN fell down (laughing, of course). I managed to stay on my feet but spun around and, according to my nephew, 'screamed like a little girl'. This, apparently, was the highlight of my nephew's morning. I live only to entertain.
I did make it home alive though I had to give a hand to an elderly gentleman at a spot where the business had salted around their building but had neglected the part of the sidewalk that sloped down to the street. Erg! I'm seriously considering getting crampons for my boots if this keeps up.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Makin' a Break For It

Have you ever noticed that every once in a while the yarn makes a run for it? This happens a lot apparently. My friend Annie had a skein jump out of her bag on the way from a friend’s house to the car. She noticed a tugging on it about two blocks later only to realize she had been trailing yarn through the streets of Somerville. I’ve had any number of times when I’ve come out in the morning to find yarn that has flung itself off the shelves. I’ve always thought the shop had elves though wouldn’t you think they’d tidy up?
Just last week, I got a panicked call from Laura claiming she’d accidentally shoplifted some Noro from me. She had been sitting very near the Noro shelf during knitting group when a skein leapt off the shelf into her bag. She was quite horrified! And this week, poor Miren came in to tell us that three skeins of yarn had fled from her bag somewhere on a bus, never to be seen again. It wasn’t the cheap stuff either but nice yarn she’d bought to make Christmas presents. So be careful everyone. There are skeins of yarn out there just waiting for their chance. Don’t let them get away!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Chugging Along

I'm doing pretty well with my Christmas knitting. I've managed to finish both of my neices pinwheel sweaters. I think I've finally got that pattern out of my system after making three of them. When I first saw it on the Blue Blog I had that reaction that we're all familiar with. I saw the picture of it on her daughter just went must. knit. sweater. I was powerless to resist!
Here's Little Niece's sweater front
and back.

And Big Niece's sweater frontand back.They still need to be blocked but I'm just not in a blocking mood today. Maybe next week.

Now I'm working on Christmas stockings. A couple of years ago, I made Big Niece, then Only Niece, a stocking. I had planned to make stockings for my sister and brother-in-law but never got around to it. You know how that goes. Well, this year, I'm making the rest of the family stockings. Unfortunately, this one seems to be giving me some attitude.

Notice how the bow for the top of the bell is not centered?This comes from me fiddling around with the pattern, knitting it in the round instead of flat, doing duplicate stitch instead of intarsia. This problem came mostly from switching what side the motif was on. Can't have one child's stocking facing one way and the whole rest of the family's stockings facing the other. It could give the kid a complex. Am I right or just compulsing out? One way or another, I'm now picking out this duplicate stitch and moving the motif over two stitches which should get it centered. Blahhhh! Oh well, at least my wrists aren't sore like last week.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Little Finished Object Dance, a Little Neh!

I'm doing pretty well on my holiday knitting so it's time for a little finished object dancing.
So far I've finished these socks, this hat, these socks, these socks,and these mittens.
I'm about half way through a Pinwheel Sweater for Little Niece. That leaves another Pinwheel for Big Niece, Christmas stockings for my sister, brother-in-law and Little Niece (Big Niece already has one), socks, hat, mittens and scarf for Little Nephew and a pair of socks each for the two Zen Masters at the Cambridge Zen Center.
I'm also having a great time on Ravelry. I love the project organizer and am absolutely addicted to updating the percentage finished I am on my projects. Thanks to omly, I've been seeing who has my yarn and/or has been knitting with my patterns. I've also been trolling around seeing who else I know and friending them. It's turning into my latest guilty pleasure!
So, what's making me go "Neh!"? Well, after all this knitting including all day and all night yesterday, I woke up this morning with my left hand fingers very sore and actually swollen and some of my right hand fingers going numb. Not. Good. After a trip to the chiropractor, I'm much better but still am taking it easy. I always thought repetitive stress was something that happened to other people but apparently not.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ravelry's Kinda Fun!

I got my invite to join Ravelry a couple of weeks ago. I'm not really such a joiner when it comes to these things but I have to say, I'm having a good time. I've got all my Christmas knitting set up in the queue and I can go to my WIPs and update how far I've gotten that day. As an obsessive list maker, this is like crack! I can't wait to have some time to troll around and see what other people are making, maybe get some ideas.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

OMG! Christmas is Coming!

As the Harlot often points out, this is not news but for some reason, between yesterday morning and yesterday afternoon, I started to go nuts about my Christmas knitting. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I just finished the gardening project. I tend to not let myself think about upcoming projects while I'm in the midst of a current one.
For whatever reason, I'm making lists, digging the stash, pulling yarn off the shelf and starting to knit like crazy. I'll have some pictures soon but right now I must knit!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Got My Bulbs In!

Hooray, the bulbs are in! With the help of my new friend here, I was able to finish digging up and turning over the side yard. It took a loooong time! I started last Friday and finished just the turning over part yesterday. I was also able to put in the peat moss and lime as well as a generous serving of bulb food. If there's any soil that needs amending, it's this stuff. It's like acidic, black talcum powder. Actually, I don't even think it qualifies as soil yet. I think it's still just dirt. I'll put a couple hundred pounds of manure and another sixty of peat moss in it this spring and then maaaybe we'll start calling it soil.
Anyway, today was planting day! I had read a weather report saying it was going to rain all day but when I got up this morning, the sun was out. So, as soon as I got back from dropping off Little Nephew at school, I got to work. The first thing I wanted to deal with was the downspouts. I didn't want them dumping all this water into my newly dug bed and having runnels of it down into the neighbors driveway. Also, for years, I've been trying to think of fun landscape things to do with all the slate that I keep pulling out of the yard. I swear, our yard grows this stuff! So, here is the answer:
I just wanted something sort of rustic but that also gave the water the right idea where to run. Then it was time to get the bulbs in. I actually bought about another $80 worth of bulbs when I was out on Tuesday and it is a good thing I did. It's a very big bed and I needed them all.

I really splurged getting all kinds of fancy tulips, irises and crocuses. I even got some frittillaria and some snow drops. If they all come up, we should have a real show here come spring.

Well, I finished just in time because the sky had started to look like this and the rain was starting to come down. It's great that it's raining today because otherwise I would have had to water in the bulbs. There's no hose on this side of the house so I would have been walking back and forth around the house with the watering can until it was done. Hooray for Mother Nature!

Friday, November 09, 2007

What Have I Been Up To?

Monday, I dyed yarn. I actually dyed about twice as much as usual and it took Kerry and me until after 5pm to finish it all. We really dyed until we died. Near the end, I got into this eye-watering hot pink and used it in a few colorways. Strangely enough, people like them. Look for them on Etsy soon.
Tuesday, I recovered from dyeing and then did some housework! For real!
Wednesday, before the shop opened, I cleaned more. (I know! It must be some kind of virus.) Then I had a bunch of lessons during shop hours. This seems to be a big lesson week. The only reason I'm writing to you now is that my four o'clock didn't show.
Thursday, more house cleaning (holy crap!) followed by many lessons and then an evening talk at the Zen Center where I told them about my trip to Korea.
Today, I didn't clean house. I gardened! I've decided to reclaim the side yard.
It is the only place in my yard that is safe from both dogs and children. Way back in September, I bought about $60 worth of bulbs that I really need to get planted. Unfortunately, the side yarn is a real mess. It is full of rocks, glass, bricks, nails, cigarette butts, you name it.
And it has already claimed a victim.
I worked on it for about an hour today and plan to do the same tomorrow. I have some fun ideas for it though I know it will be a long term project. Right now, I'm just going to try to dig it through, add enough peat moss and lime to take the curse off it and get my bulbs in. I'll worry about more planting come spring.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Purple Sweater Done

The purple sweater is fully reincarnated from a skirt and I'm wearing it right as we speak.
I now have three new winter sweaters which is good because it's stinkin' cold in here and I'm trying to resist turning on the heat. I broke down on Tuesday and turned the heat on for a bit but then turned it off again on Wednesday. This gets me to the end of all the half finished winter sweaters I had lying around here. I have a half finished cotton sweater left but I'm going to leave that one until at least after Christmas.
My newest project is this pair of socks which I've owed to a friend from his birthday in April.
After that I have a several more small things before the Christmas knitting starts in earnest. Also, I just received 45 lbs of sock yarn which I'm madly winding for dye day on Monday. I won't be dyeing all 45 lbs but I'd like to dye at least 20. We'll see how I do!
I have to include a few pictures of the ghoulish visitors I had on Wednesday. Here we have a very scary Little Nephew. Looks a little like Eddie Munster, doesn't he?
This pirate and witch came to see me too.
What a fun night!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I just finished carving pumpkins with the kids and here are their masterpieces.

Little Nephew went for something traditional with vampire teeth since he is going as Dracula tomorrow. I'm very proud. He designed it himself and did almost all of the carving!
Here it is lighted up:

Big Nephew and I collaborated on this pumpkin though we can't claim any originality. We got the idea out of a book. I can't remember the name of the book right now but it is full of all these demented pumpkin designs.

Isn't it hillarious? I carved the little pumpkin.

Here it is lighted up:

Now, I'm going to be in the shop until 9pm tomorrow handing out candy so bring the children over and get some! I love me some trick or treaters!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Guess Who's Six!

Today, little nephew turns six! He's very excited. Earlier this week, I took him to my favorite bike shop and got him his first big boy bike! He's been having a lot of fun with it but it is a big adjustment for him. He's used to riding a Trail-a-Bike with me where he doesn't have to steer and he doesn't really have to pedal if he doesn't feel like it. Now, he has to do it all.
I have to say that he's picking it up pretty quickly!

Under the category of you never know what's going to happen at knitting group, I give you Laura standing on a chair.

She started unwinding some over twisting in her yarn when the phone rang.

Not to be daunted, she answered the phone and kept right on unwinding her yarn! That's some powerful multitasking!