Merry Christmas Knitting

I know it’s been a while and sorry for the lack of posts but 2 things are keeping me away. One, the remodeling in the house is at fever pitch as we try to get the living room done for Christmas. This means a daily parade of workmen with painters tripping over electrician’s ladders, central Vac guy’s climbing over insulation installers and me trying to save the newly finished floors. This doesn’t include several sets of furniture delivery people setting up the living room furnishings while I hold my breath and hope the paint is dry.

Then of course we got our Christmas Tree and my husband insisted on a 12 footer to match the 12 foot ceiling height. Since we only own a 6 ft ladder and lights had to go on…well, you do the math. It’s been a little insane. We still don’t have walls around the new fireplace, or tile or a mantle. I may have to nail stocking directly onto the wall. And don’t forget, one must carry on with laundry, groceries, cooking and (laughable) cleaning.

Ok, with excuse number one out of the way, excuse number 2 is that some of the readers of this blog might see their present if I post all about it so knitting will have to remain anonymous until after the Big Day. But I’ve been taking photos and have lots to show for when that time comes. In the meanwhile, just know that I ran out of yarn and am waiting on pins and knitting needles for one last skein to arrive from the UK.

Oh this is a wonderful time of the year!

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Heart of Texas

NASCAR RaceLast weekend was fast and fun. I flew into Dallas and spent Saturday at Dallas Cowboys Stadium. Dallas Cowboys StarBeing a huge Cowboys fan this was a bucket list item for me and it didn’t disappoint. We were able to get right down on the field and play football games, take photos and just soak in the whole Cowboys football experience. Then returning to our hotel we decided to get last minute tickets to the NASCAR Xfinity Race (we were right across the street from the track). I’ve been to Daytona and Miami Homestead Races but never been to the junior level race. It was exciting to see not only these kids race but see them race for their level championship. Even though one of the rookie Cup level drivers won, it was exciting to the photo finish. 

The next day we had our Texas style breakfast and headed back to the track for the Big Race at Texas Motorspeedway. It was a hot day in more ways than one. The first 30 thousand attendees got a Kevin Harvick (one of the drivers) Bobbleheads and we got some tee shirts, hats and fan memorabilia. If you know NASCAR you know one of the most  beloved drivers is retiring: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Texas is very patriotic and loyal so there was a lot of fanfare, flags and flyovers. We saw an amazing race and made another mom/daughter wonderful memory. This was a holdover graduation present for my daughter who is now attending graduate school here in the Lone Star State. 

Needless to say, not a lot of knitting got done, but this week, as I am staying on here till Thanksgiving, I have hit the needles with a mission to finish the Gray Tic Hoodie and the Cabled Poncho. For a knitter, Christmas is always just around the corner and most of my gifts must be mailed. Oh, and while the rest of the country settles in for winter, it’s like end of summer warm here in the Heart of Texas. 

Cabled knitting Stockinette Stitching

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One Shawl Down

Monkey toyI was busy busy again and promised myself that between carpenters, landscapers and masons I would slip in some knitting and a post. Walls came down and walls have gone up, debris was hauled and cement was poured, and a new fireplace is about to be added; but rows of knitting got accomplished. Work is going on at a good pace for both the house and knitting projects. The sage and lavender shawl is complete. I just need to block it to expose the pretty lace stitches. But now that my craft room is set up and functional, it should go fairly smoothly. I hope the fireplace install and front porch blue stone walkway go as smooth. Since I travel next Friday back to Texas (I’m going to the NASCAR Playoff Race) I won’t be here to supervise (which isn’t technically true since my husband is a design contractor and handles it just fine). So my biggest issue to sort out was what to bring with me to work on for the month I’m away. I started the Hoodie for my little grandson in Paris but the rest of the yarn is still in Texas (I didn’t have room in my suitcase last time I was there). So I started it and will bring it along to finish, but in the meantime I found just the pattern for my daughter in the California foothills: a Poncho by Rowan. I have some lovely cotton blend, soft as butter and the brown heather color of a sock monkey that I’ve been saving for something just like this. It’s knit sideways with lots of cables and moss stitches. Just the thing to go with the Pink Poncho I made for her little daughter. I’m saving them all for Christmas. This should keep me busy for a while.

Poncho Knit shawl

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A Little Time (Off)

BoxesThe question is where have I been? Moving. That should say it all. After moving my daughter into her first apartment in Texas, where she will attend graduate school, and dealing with putting it all together during Hurricane Harvey, we sold our house in Massachusetts. So after 3 weeks in Texa (where I did finish the Citrus Sensation Socks) I flew home to start the monumental task of packing a 3 story house in 10 days. That’s how long I had before the closing. Initially I panicked. Then I just kept packing boxes. I was still packing them the day the movers came to load the vans. We had 5 days lag time between closings and only a mile to drive to the new house so I spent 5 needless days watching Netflix and, you guessed it, knitting. It was the first time I had in almost 3 weeks. I’m working on another shawl for my daughter-in-law for Christmas, using her favorite colors from their wedding: sage and lavender. Lucky for me something got mixed up in my order of the yarn from Deramores and I got a double order! I can’t send it back since it’s shipped from overseas so this may be a very big shawl! 

Socks
I’m happy to report that once we actually moved in our new home I have unpacked those 150 or so boxes, set up bedrooms and the kitchen and ordered new furniture for the lovely rooms (the person who bought my old house also bought most of the furniture). The master bedroom and living room are being remodeled so they are either gutted or empty but it is coming along nicely. We have cleared out all the overgrown trees and shrubbery from right on top the house so light is now pouring in. I am camped out in the family room knitting away and making fall food in my new-to-me kitchen. Such fun to start a new adventure. 

Shawl

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Hurricane Harvey

RainSorry no post for this week. I’m in Texas moving my daughter into her first apartment (for grad school) and Hurricane Harvey is happening. We are ok so far but it is still raining and we are under constant flash flood watch. Her apartment is in the ground level so we are worried. We are about 100 miles from Houston but we are in the path of the rain and tornado bands. Between moving, getting ordered furniture delivered, assembling it and setting up her life here in Texas plus that hurricane, not a lot of knitting is happening. We are hoping for the best as we watch constant downpours for the last 3 days. 

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Heat of the Summer



I have been traveling so long that I don’t have a clear sense  of what day it even is. My daughter had 2 days to pack up her life after her summer internship ended and get on the road to Grad School in Texas. So off we went on another road trip halfway across the country in the broiling August heat. Everything she owns was squeezed into her Ford Escape with only a tiny bit of room for me and our chihuahua. After 4 days we arrived to a new apartment and life for her but not a stick of furniture. We have been ordering and shopping for all the things that make up a home. I managed to finish one of my Citrus Sensation Socks on the trip and get a good way on the second sock. I did finish my second shawl minutes before we left on the trip. I’m not sure how much knitting I can get done in Texas in the next two weeks without any real furniture to sit on except the outside patio chairs. I’m just saying 110° is a bit warm for knitting! 

Knit shawlStriped knit shawl

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Block Party

Clean, eat, sleep, knit, repeat. If you've ever sold your house you know the drill. Constant cleaning "just in case" they want to show the house at a moment's notice. Since I've never used blocking wires I had no idea how long it would take for the piece to dry. So I timed it 2 days before the open house and hoped for the best. I am happy to say that the purple did not run onto the carpet I was tacking it to. (Whew) And it only took basically over night to dry the lace probably because I helped with a dehumidifier parked right next to the "Block Party". After soaking, squeezing, weaving the wires and pinning to the carpet with my handy Clover U-shaped pins, it was just a matter of waiting. Things were going so well I decided to block the Pink Poncho at the same time. The results are fantastic and the process was not nearly as difficult as I anticipated. Now hopefully the house will sell this weekend. Crossing

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Wired for Sound

This was a busy week. We are selling our house and the whole thing needed to get ready for a weekend of Open Houses. I helped by quickly getting chores done, running to the gym (my new thing and my "muscles" are screaming) and then securing a chair at the pool to knit. I'm happy to say the Pink Poncho is finished. But like the Grape Crush Shawl, waiting for the lace blocking wires to arrive in the mail. Of course they got here Friday so the blocking operation has to wait till next week when I can pin the projects to the downstairs carpet. (kind of a distraction at an Open House). I promise pictures to follow. In the meantime I've taken up the Citrus Socks and got the heel done. I'm on a roll to finish the projects before I start another shawl. After all, they had another free shipping weekend at Deramores. (I'm hopeless). 🙄

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What’s Done is not Done

Well, the shawl is finished…sort of. It really doesn’t look like the picture yet. Oh, it’s off the needles alright and the knitting is thankfully finished. This was one of those patterns, that either through difficulty of level or inexperience on my part, was a bugger to follow. I finally printed out the two charts and dragged them around as I worked on the thing. I also finally figured out it was being knit from the top of the shawl down to the lace edge. We all wish patterns would explain these little things but probably a more experienced lace knitter would have already known. Even so, the pattern was an 8 row repeat on needles so large for the yarn that the stitches kept wanting to slide off. Needless to say, I’m relieved the knitting is finished. But it’s not done. Next comes the blocking, which I’ve never done. I know, how can I have knit all these years without blocking? But baby sweaters knit in one piece really don’t require that. Blankets, eh. Even adult sweaters on size 10 needles; a little steam from an iron flattens out the pieces. But lace REQUIRES blocking or you can’t see it. So tomorrow I’m off to my neighborhood yarn shop where I’m hoping she has some (it’s a tiny shop crammed with so much yarn you cannot move. Heaven for some, hell for someone with OCD). I’m also hoping the shawl will get a little larger with blocking because it does not look the size in the pattern photos. Yet. Famous Last Words. 

Knitted lace shawl

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And Then July Happened

Harbor sceneAfter a little 4th of July fun and family, where knitting was replaced with boat trips, blueberry pies, lobsters, bar-b-ques (ribs, of course), NASCAR race watching and fireworks, it was time to get back to the needles and yarn. Oh, did I mention we bought a house over the weekend? So in between frantic sorting and cleaning to get our current house ready to sell, I managed to start another project. I’ve always wanted to try lace. Real lace, not just little bits on baby sweaters. So I had purchased what looked like the best deal ever on Craftsy – a shawl pattern and the yarn for $7.20! I have one daughter who loves purple so I chose a luscious magenta that looks a lot like a Welch’s Grape Popcicle. It’s cloudborne Merino fingering weight and super soft on size 5 needles. It took me 3 tries to figure out the pattern (seems to be my MO) and after reading the chart a little more carefully (ahem 🙄) I had her cranked up and clicking along nicely. I did listen to The Grocery Girls mini class on You Tube for lace shawls and got a ton of amazing ideas and help before I started. It’s a long but fully entertaining show and if you’re thinking of doing some lace knitting, I highly recommend it. They even showed some incredibly useful knitting tools I didn’t know existed. House and trees

But I digress. It’s been a week now and I have almost 10 inches. Mind you there have been some all day cleaning and house staging sessions interspersed but I can proudly say it is starting to take shape. Of course since that color is on the dark side, I switch back to the pink Poncho or my citrus socks I’ve been making forever. I never like to boat without a project to work on since it’s about a 20 minute trip down the river and out to the bay. You know: the Never Not Knitting thing. 

Lace knitting 

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