Sunday, February 17, 2008

Can't . . . Stop . . . Knitting

Though you wouldn't know it from checking here, the past month has been extremely productive. One sock for me, two pairs of baby booties, including:

a baby hat plus a hat intended for a baby that I put on hold when I realized the circumference was 18.5", which is generous for an average adult. Of course, I started from the top down and had no measuring tape along, but it will either go to Washington or to Afghans for Afghans. In the meantime, baby William should have a warm head thanks to this:

My crowning achievement, though, was having a Valentines Day surprise for Ian, and having it be a good surprise. Ever since I made Ian a sweater with Wool-Ease Thick and Quick on size 13 needles on the sly, my daughter has been a little obsessed with the element of surprise. Now, Ian knows I'm making him the Aran cardigan from Opinionated Knitter. We picked the yarn together, he's tried it on at various stages, I've worked (and not worked) on it in front of him. He and I also know that he needs it for summer, when the office air conditioner is turned down to ridiculously low temperatures, so it's not my top knitting priority. On the other hand, finishing the body and preparing the steeks, lent it a certain air of excitement and urgency, so all of a sudden the kids and I thought maybe it could be finished as a surprise for Valentines Day. Now, Elizabeth Zimmerman's instructions are to make the sleeves from the cuff up, in the round, then sew them into the cut armhole steeks. I figured, Why bother, when I can pick up the stitches around the armhole steek and knit the sleeves down--less sewing! Unfortunately, when I read about picking up stitches for the neck and button band, I only registered on the 2 sts every 3 rows rule, not the fact that the button band is garter stitch, so, when I picked up for the armholes, I used the same 2:3 ratio instead of the usual 3:4 ratio on should use when picking up along the side. Well, the button band looked fantastic, and sleeve 1 was going pretty quickly, and I kept trying the sweater on, but Ian was out of the loop. We are pretty much the same size, except, being male, and in pretty good shape, his arms are a little more muscular and hence bulkier. Roughly two weeks before Valentine's, though, I lost my nerve, thinking what heartbreak would ensue if I gave him a finished sweater with binding arms. I had him try the thing on, and, of course, the arms were a bit too tight (because of the ratio).

The project was abandoned again until Washington could find time to unravel the whole sleeve, and Ian was assured of no surprise knitting gift . . . or so he thought. Very surreptitiously, hiding behind pillows and in bedside drawers, lurked a pair of black socks, his first ever handmade.

I hope you all had wonderful Valentines Days too.

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