White Christmas

I’ve alluded to the fact that it’s been a hard Christmas for me this year – for many reasons – but mostly these last few weeks have been an emotional distillation of all of the fears, mysteries and – yes – joys of the past year. What a year. What a couple of years.

I ran into a neighbor – a kind neighbor – and as we were chatting I found myself starting to weep. Not pretty weeping, either, but choking, sobbing, gasping, totally unattractive bawling that I’ve only engaged in so far in private, or in front of a classes in Austin, TX (hi guys! Mopped up that back room yet?)

So it wasn’t entirely a surprise when this very kind neighbor dropped by the next day to invite our whole clan to his extended family’s Christmas dinner. And, having no shame, we accepted.

It was an exceptionally wonderful dinner. Aside from the good food and drink, the company was everything that Gerry and I had been longing for.

Family is very important out here in MN, folks get together with their familial units at the holidays, and if you’re solo – well – you can be out in the cold (unless you emotionally throw yourself on the mercy of a neighbor – did I mention he was kind?)

Because Gerry’s been so sick, because we’re new here, because I travel so much and because we were away for an extended period this summer, we just haven’t been able to make the connections we might have made had we been ‘whole’ this year.

So we are especially grateful to the White family for a lovely white Christmas. Thank you!

Get Back To Work!
Enough of the sentimentalizing – I have to get back to work (because this sweater has to be sent out on Monday!)

I worked and reworked the skirt portion of the cardigan – I finally happened on this lace, which I really like, and I just have to figure out how to make the edges nice and straight when it’s knit up. I’ll fudge it in the sample if I can get the chart to work correctly with some further large swatching (and I do still have the sleeves to do!)

At the end of the ribbing/cable portion, I did a row of horizontal i-cord. This is a really cool technique, and I love to use it to divide different motifs or sweater sections, but it has a drawback. The row after the i-cord can be rather loose (in this case it falls below the i-cord because of the direction of the knitting)

Whether this bothers me – and HOW much it bothers me – is what I’m currently pondering. Do I let it go? Do I remove it and try to find an alternative way to divide skirt from bodice? Do I run with it and emphasize the loose row by weaving a cord through it (an option I used in Romantic Hand Knits)?

I spend a lot of time working on technique – trying to perfect certain things, working out new ways to do other things – and this has been a recurring theme in my technique work. One day I’ll solve this problem… The thing is, it’s such a cool technique that I feel it’s worth the loose row afterward, but I’d love to be able to control it better…

In the mean time, there are sweaters to be knit. And bills to pay!

Other Fun Stuff
I’ve been fiddling around with the Extreme Knitting Needles and polar fleece. I bought some fabric, cut it into a long single strip (see illustration) and then rolled it into a comically large ball.

Then I knitted it.

I made sure to do it when Max’s friend was over, so I’d look really cool in front of him (being known as the mom-who-knits can be dismissed – being known as the mom who knits with long wooden stakes is on the edge of cool for a 10 year old…)

I’m not sure what this piece will be – it would make a nice mat for the wet boots from my daily walks to give the dog some exercise and move the car (snow emergency parking rules – just like being back in Brooklyn!)

It’s pretty groovy, though, and I want to play with some rope and these needles to work up a knitted hammock. Yes, another sleeper book idea may be surfacing, I’ve been kicking the idea around for over a year, and now I have a few projects to consider…

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