Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Don't Do Christmas Stitching

First to answer a question. Carol asked, Have you started spinning the merino tencel? How slippery is it? I love the sheen of it but lack the gumption....

No, sadly I haven't started spinning it yet. I only have 4 bobbins for my wheel, 3 are tied up with the SW BFL. The fourth has a bit of white Shetland I started. Of course, there isn't much Shetland on there and I could wind it off on a toilet paper roll and start..... No, must stay on course. I would like another set, but right now, 4 bobbins keeps the Queen of Wipsluts honest.

I don't think it would be any harder to spin than merino/silk blend, which I love. It would depend on the spinner, I heard some think merino and merino/silk is too slippery for them. I'm one of those that taught myself on merino and had usable yarn in a week. Please don't hate me because I'm a reincarnated spinner who had a fairy fart on her hands.

Sorry, last posts video wasn't of great quality. They are mostly out after the sun goes down and the lighting isn't the best in here. Lexie's dark coloring doesn't help matters.


I don't do Christmas stitching anymore. Deadlines like that are enough to drive me to drink heavily. Twenty years ago, long before we had a Wal-mart and fabric was cheaper than already made, I decided to make all the women in my family flannel nightgowns and the men flannel shirts. From Thanksgiving to Christmas eve every spare moment was spent cutting patterns, pinning, cutting, and sewing the pieces together; rinse and repeat 15 times. Thrown in was sewing for my two young children, their winter wardrobe.

A week before Christmas, late one night, I was found by my MIL sitting in the middle of a pile of fabric, crying in frustration and spewing a hatred of a thousand suns the hatred of the holiday. My Southern Baptist MIL had my 22 year old soul's eternity set at that moment with Hell fires and brimstone. It was then I swore off Christmas stitching. Her small containers of homemade fudge got more ooohs and aaaahs every year.

Every once in awhile since then, I've given in to temptation and picked out an individual to bestow a handmade gift. This always ensues much anxiety, panic and many way too late nights of frustration. Then the anti-climatic receipt of the gift sends me into depression for weeks afterward. Stitched gifts are still received, but only because I happened to have something finished in the stash.

For the past few years, I have been giving large tins of homemade fudge, English Toffee and peanut brittle. The candy factory opens a few days before Christmas and requires only a few slightly late nights. While the receipt of these gifts is still very anti-climatic. My family does not indulge in expressions of emotion. Requests to be put on my gift list are growing.

So I'm wondering, was it the wool fumes of Rhinebeck that caused me to order this pattern, this yarn and this yarn, with the intention of making it by Christmas for my Mother, just a few days after we came back. It's not like I don't have a ton of projects in the works and planned ahead.

Much to my surprise it came very quickly. My mailman scared me when he knocked on the door that Saturday afternoon and I was still in my nightgown. Luckily, it was my wonderful regular guy who is never surprised by my often disheveled appearance. I once ran down the street after him in the middle of winter wearing my flannel gown and housecoat to mail out a package. He deserves a knitted hat and much fudge for Christmas.

So, I'm thinking I might just be able to get this done. It's all downhill from there, folks. First of all, the pattern calls for size 4 circular needles which are already in use on a second Peacock shawl. I decide to switch the shawl over to straights and free up the needles. While watching my Saturday night British shows on PBS, I cast on. I have very sensitive skin, the wool is causing my hands to itch. I'm hoping it softens up after I wash it.

Two nights in and I have the first pattern repeat finished. Except, I don't like the openess of the stitches on size 4 needles. So, I try a swatch on size 3, which is just off gauge by a smidge. I then check the math of the designers gauge against the dimensions given. They are way off and if I had continued I would have knitted a small tent just big enough for GD to play house in.

So, I recast on the 300 stitches on size 3, knit the first row, second row, the pattern row doesn't match up. Maybe I counted wrong. Rip out, recast on again. This time I put a marker every 100 stitches and double counted. Pattern row doesn't match up again. I check back and find no errors, so I tink back several stitches and fudge it. Start to knit plain the next row and 50 stitches in, I find my error on the previous row. Grrrr. There I sit at midnight on Tuesday night, rip or tink, rip or tink. I decide to tink all the back and stay up do so, and reknit. At this point, I was determined not let this sweater get the better of me. Game on, knitting.

Next night, I happily finish the first repeat and wonder why it's still curling around the needle. So I try to straighten it out. Now, if you are a knitter reading this, I bet you know what it is coming next. Yes, the cast on stitches had twisted the first row. Heavy sigh. Rrrrripppp. At this point, I stuff the whole mess in my knitting bag to put it in time and out. Let it think about it's defiance for awhile.

So yesterday, my Mom is over, she had visited my much younger sister who is out of town for awhile. She had told her how I knit GD a hat and mittens. My sister, who had learned how to knit last year, asked her if I would knit her a hat and matching gloves out of the same yarn for Christmas.

"Does the yarn match any of her coats," I asked.

"No", says Mom.

"So she wants a matching set to GD, for the hell of it?!?!?!?"

"I guess so," she said. She added, "I suggested socks and leg warmers."

My sister is moving back home next week and Mom keeps the house colder than an igloo.

"She knows how to knit. I can help her figure out the patterns and she can make them herself," I say.

"Well, I thought you could make them for Christmas," says Mom.

I don't do Christmas knitting, I make fudge.

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Currently, I'm on the third row. There won't be any stay up all night stress. If I get it done in time, yay. Nope, not stressing myself out. After all, I don't do Christmas stitching.

Dammit and Lexie say, Yeah, we know she's nuts.

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5 comments:

Carol said...

I want the fudge recipe! Not for gifts...for me....

Sorcha said...

Everyone in our families know that while I do knit christmas presents, the holiday is the reason for the present, not necessarily the date they will receive it. My stress level dropped WAY down after I made that decision.

yarnpiggy said...

I wasn't going to do Christmas knitting, but now that I'm unemployed, I think I'm going to have to. But I'm with sorcha...no promises about stuff getting done on time. :-)

Good luck with yours!

Daniele said...

And doesn't Mom want leg warmers already? HA! It sounds like we come from the same family!!

Just enjoy knitting that sweater. It is a lovely pattern and it should be fun for you to knit it. Mom's getting the nice blue leg warmers instead. She gets the sweater for Mother's Day. :)

dyedinthewool said...

Never rains, but it pours, heh? At least you've made a start now, so that's something!