Monday, January 29, 2007

Frosted foggy flaky morning

I woke up to the ferry horns calling out through the fog. I love fog, especially in the mornings. It makes waking up so much more gentler when you only have to be aware of what’s right in front of you. The rest of the world is cloaked in an ephemeral white of amnesia and your only world is what’s right before you eyes. Makes it lighter work for my brain to pretend that the rest of the world doesn’t exist and the only thing I have to figure out is how much coffee to put into my French press.

Behind all that fog is a sunny, brilliant day. I’m just not quite ready for it yet. My brain is a tad fried from this weekend. We drove down the Rusty Coast to celebrate DH’s brother’s recent nuptials. The newly-minted married couple tied the knot in Vegas over the Christmas holidays and we were gathering together for an reception at DH's parents place. It was so great to see all the family and meet our new in-laws. We even had the latest addition to the family make his premiere appearance.

I managed to get the MIL sweater steeked, seamed and finished by the time we drove up to my in-law’s house Saturday afternoon. I was cutting it close, literally and figuratively. I didn’t get to steeking it until Friday afternoon. For those that aren’t knitgeeks, steeking means binding off and cutting into a knitted piece. In this case, I had to steek armholes into the body of the sweater. I chose to use a crochet steek since the Noro Silk Garden is a pretty ‘sticky’ yarn and would felt and hold together on its own.

Here it is in pieces, pre-steeking:































(the sleeves)

I measured, re-measured, and measured a few more times. I had a cup of tea. Wished I had something stronger like a gin & tonic. Realized that if I had a gin & tonic that I would really be in trouble. Finished up my tea and returned to the butchering of the MIL sweater. Can you tell that I was nervous about steeking? Actually, I can steek anything without batting an eye if it’s for me. It’s the fact that I’m steeking a sweater for my lovely MIL that had me a bit nervous. A sweater made of gorgeous Noro Silk Garden yarn. Yarn that I only have half a ball left of and probably is completely sold out on this island so if I do make a horrible mess of it, I’m don’t have a stash to dip into.

Here it goes:
















snip snip snip


Yes, I should be using smaller scissors but all I had were these large general purpose scissors. Talk about living dangerously ;)
















(The steeked edge of an armhole)

Phew! The hard part is done. NOT!

I seamed the first sleeve in and I don’t know what I did wrong, maybe I picked up the wrong stitches or something but the sleeve fell short of the opening by 2 inches!!!

I ripped the seam out, took a deep breath and prayed to the knitting gods to please find it in their hearts to not completely screw me over. I compared the sleeves to the sleeve opening and they matched. I allowed myself a half a sigh of relief and tried seaming the sleeve on again.

I managed to get both sleeves seamed on without much more drama. I decided to leave the shoulder seams and the turtleneck for the next morning. By this time it was a quarter to 9 and I hadn’t even thought about dinner. My stomach was too busy clenching and doing flips for the last few hours and wasn’t really in the mood for food. DH, however, was making hungry puppy sounds, so I whipped up a bison chili. Nothing fancy, just some ground bison meat from Island Bison, local mushrooms, carrots and onions all browned up. I used the leftover pizza sauce and a batch of frozen tomatoes and a couple glugs of leftover Philip’s Double Chocolate Porter for the base. With a big pinch of ancho chili and chipolte chili powder and a not so bit pinch of cayenne powder, I stirred it up and let it simmer for 15 minutes. By the time the chili perfumed the house, I was hungry.

Saturday morning I bounced out of bed, set on finishing the sweater before we headed down to see the in-laws. Due to my sleep-sticky brain and parade of unexpected friends knocking on our door and phone calls, I only managed to get the shoulders seamed up and had to do up the turtleneck during the drive down. I’m not a car knitter. Partly because I’m much too uptight about having sharp pointy things flying around the car. Partly because the knitting gods always choose for the most critical and complicated part of the pattern to throw a huge pothole, suicidal raccoon or erratic driver in front of the car, causing the driver to swerve and me to drop several important stitches. It’s fine to car knit if all you’re doing is stockinette or garter but heaven help you if you pull out a cabling hook. Mostly I don’t car knit because I get car sick really easily. As long as I have my eyes on the road, I’m fine. Luckily, the turtleneck was a simple 2x’s rib and I could do it without looking at my hands. I managed to get the turtleneck done by the time we hit the Malahat and arrived at his folks place with every loose end woven in and no more car sick than usual :o

Here’s my lovely MIL in her new sweater:















I'm so glad that she likes it!

BTW, here’s what I wore to the reception. My favorite shawl with my grey wool skirl and jersey knit shirt 'uniform' (gotta love those grey wool skirts).

I’ve deemed it the “Flight of Fuschia” from series of bird inspired shawls I did last year. I gave most of them away as gifts but this one I made especially for moi. I wanted a dramatic piece I could throw over myself for special events. I find that most big shawls swallowed me up and made me look short and stubby. That’s fine if you’re a beer bottle, not so good if you’re wanting to be chic maven. I wanted something light and airy that would deliver a punch of colour. So, I decided to knit a wing. It has the drama of a larger shawl but it’s asymmetrical shape wouldn’t cut me in half. I also made it a closed shawl so I wouldn’t haven’t to be forever fussing with it or needing to hold it around me.







Have a great week everybody!

Jen

4 comments:

Favorite Apron said...

I love shawls and never thought of making them "closed." It's a brilliant idea.

I'm assuming you've read Elizabeth Zimmerman's steeking instructions. After you cut you're supposed to go lie down in a dark room for 15 minutes. LOL.

Gina said...

The sweater is gorgeous. I love how fearless you are with knitting.

Ky said...

WOW!
I don't know what's more impressive, the sweater or the fact that you were brave enough to take a pair of scissors to it!

So what exactly do you mean by 'closed' shawl? Can I do it to the shawl I'm making for my grandma? Should I? Are you coming over to the continent this w/e? Can I book you for a knitting/cooking lesson?
Help!!!

Ky

Alison said...

Jen,
Thanks for sharing your recipes, the great food photos, AND your enthusiasm for local foods!

As a spinner, you may be interested in attending Distaff Day on Saturday, February 3, in Duncan. It's a day for spinners hosted by the Tzouhalem Spinners & Weavers Guild and will be held in St. John's Church Hall (corner of First and Jubilee) from 10 til 3. Last year's event attracted 80-plus spinners from up and down the Island and from Salt Spring! Bring your wheel and something for show & tell (you've got some fabulous knitted projects). Pot luck lunch, $3 charge to help pay the rent. For more info give coordinator Barbara Dowd a call at (250) 743-4116.

I've bookmarked your blog and look forward to dropping in from time to time.

Alison.