NaBloPoMo Day 29: the end is nigh

Tomorrow is the last day of November. I'm kind of glad and sad. Sad because I didn't reach my sweater goal but glad because the daily posting was starting to get to me. I do want to post more regularly on my blog though, and I like how "having" to post made me post about things I might not normally have, like my "Why do I knit?" post.

I woke up feeling less sick today and was going to try to at least finish one sleeve on my sweater but then my husband went back to bed shortly after I got up and the kids foiled my plan. Poor Stefan is mostly better but still not 100% clearly and Niels took a nap this afternoon which hasn't happened in, I don't know, forever.

So, farewell November. It was nice knowing you. Of course, I have to post tomorrow too!

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NaBloPoMo Day 27: oh crap

Here I am, breezing along in my sweater, posting daily and then I suddenly realized today that if I want to finish this sweater in the month of November, I have three days to do it!



I think it's safe to say that isn't going to happen. My NaNoSweMo will have to be like National Gluttony Month (the time from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day): 6 weeks long.

The first sleeve is about halfway down my bicep right now. I tried it on a little while ago because I was afraid it was going to be bunchy under the arm but it looks great. Onward and sleeveward!

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NaBloPoMo Day 26: learning a new skill

Last night I finished sewing in the front panel and

 started on the first sleeve. I decided from the outset to do a top-down set-in sleeve following Barbara Walker's instructions in Knitting from the Top. I am doing this for simplicity's sake: I don't have to sew it in, but also because I don't want as slim a sleeve as Norah Gaughan likes on her sweaters. I got a bit of the sleeve cap done last night.



And the rest of the cap done this afternoon.


Since that photo was taken I have knit across the underarm and begun knitting down. I will put in the decreases as written in the pattern: one every 1/25 inches evenly down the edge with two inches straight at the bottom. I think it will make a nice sleeve and if not, it won't be too hard to rip back to this point and change the rate of decrease. Although, I hope I don't have to do that.


Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

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NaBloPoMo Day 25: pie!

I worked on my seam a bit today but I'm having trouble getting it to look like the other side where I picked up stitches. I have an idea for what to try next but I need to get the kids to bed before I can try it.


Instead I made pie.


The pumpkin on the left got a little dark as you can see, but the maple walnut pie on the right is gorgeous. I hope it tastes as good as it looks. We'll find out tomorrow!

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NaBlaPoMo Day 24: newsflash: I like reds and oranges

I noticed something odd today when I was taking my hand knit socks off of the drying rack.

Except for that lone pair of blue/purple panda cotton all of my hand knit socks are reds and oranges. I did not notice this before. In my defense (sort of) I also have three more pairs that I don't wear anymore for various reasons: blue fixation socks that got a hole, two pairs of panda cotton socks that have stiffened up so much I can't get them on anymore, one is pale blue and one is black with a variety of other colors. Oh, and one pair of orange fixation that I do wear but just didn't make it into this wash. So yeah: red, orange, blue, that's it.

Perhaps I should knit up my green mill-dyed Sock Candy next just to throw a wrench in the works.

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NaBloPoMo Day 23: make bread, not sweaters

I know this is not very helpful in terms of my NaNoSweMo goal but I made soup, spaghetti sauce and bread today and did not knit very much. Niels was sick over the weekend and was not fever free for 24 hours yet this morning so he stayed home from school. Every time I walked into the living room to sit on the couch and knit while they played there was some chaos in my way or something that needed attention. I got several loads of wash done (and folded!) and a lot done in the kitchen, most notably, the bread. I don't bake bread very often but I was looking in an old spiral notebook that has recipes I wrote down in the mid-90s, I think. My mom needed the recipe for Swedish meatballs that she gave me and that's where that one is. I was looking through it and found a recipe for Honey Whole Wheat bread which I say is from the bread book in Bon Appetit series of cookbook. I think that must mean it came from my mother's house so I am going to have to look at it again when we visit them because the recipe seemed woefully lacking to me.

There's no mention of kneading, just of beating the dough in the mixer. That made some sense to me until I got to the second "knead" and the bread was so incredibly sticky. I decided to knead it by hand instead. I had also substituted bread flour for the all-purpose and I think my whole wheat is pastry flour and I also added vital wheat gluten, so I wasn't exactly following the recipe anyway. I kneaded in a bunch more flour until it felt smooth, let it rest, and then shaped a loaf put it in the loaf pan rather than just beating it in the mixer and "turning it out" into the loaf pan. It was a success. (It's shiny because I had just brushed it with butter when I took this photo.)

The crust is very thick but the crumb is soft and sweet. I started to write that sentence in the past tense because I cut it and we all ate a couple of slices with dinner and it's almost gone! This is one of the reasons I don't bake bread that often, it takes all day and then is gone in an instant. I need to learn to make more than one at a time.

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NaBloPoMo Day 22: we have vest!

It's always exciting when a sweater reaches a point when it becomes something that can be put on. Today my sweater became a vest.

Granted, it's somewhat oddly shaped for a stand-alone garment, not having much front but it can be put on and that's something. I'm going to pick up along the angled edge and start the front panel tonight. I'm feeling slightly anxious that it's a touch small. We'll see how this pans out.

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NaBloPoMo Day 21: why do I knit?

I started knitting in a misguided attempt to save money. My first son was a baby at the time, wearing cloth diapers, and there were all these beautiful hand knit soakers (wool diaper cover pants) you could buy but they were pretty expensive for something that would probably get pee, or worse, on them. Yarn, though, and needles? Not so expensive. Until you start knitting different things and you need different needles and books with patterns and more yarn, of course.

I didn't branch out until I started going to the Stitch n Bitch that used to meet in Campbell. I don't know if it still does, actually, it might. I went there to knit on my baby pants and I saw all the beautiful things the other knitters were making, like socks and gloves and even sweaters and I was hooked even further. Somewhere between that point and now I have gotten to the point where I feel like I need knitting and I need knitters. The knitters who have ended up as my circle of friends are smart, funny, snarky and wonderful. When bad things happen to people in our group, we band together for them. When good things happen to them, we celebrate with them. Through it all, we knit. We knit baby blankets for each other and chemo caps and go to birthday celebrations and send sympathy cards. And we knit.

One of my knitting friends who has, unfortunately, moved far away, is having something big and challenging happen in her life this week. I actually went onto Southwest's website to see if I could get there to be with her, to sit by her side, and knit. I couldn't, it's the week before Thanksgiving and the flights are too much. Instead, I'm sitting at home thinking of her and knitting. Selfishly, what I'm knitting is for myself but I think that's okay. I'm thinking of her and I think she knows it.

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NaBloPoMo Day 20: 45 minutes late?

It's 12:45 and I should be sleeping but I was working on editing someone's pattern. Somehow I promised it to her before tomorrow morning and I had a dinner with my preschool moms tonight and soccer equipment collection tomorrow early morning so I had to do it tonight! Ack.

I wonder if this still counts as a post for the 20th. I hope so! Not that there's much here. Sorry 'bout that.

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