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Archive for the ‘Rework Needed’

Miracle of Wet Blocking Part Two

Sally’s Favorite SweaterHi Ellen!

Voila! It’s definitely an oversized sweater, but at least now it’s oversized in more than one direction. And even if it’s a bit sloppy in appearance…COMFORTABLE!!! This will now undoubtably be one of my favorite sweaters to wear at home or running errands.

Love, Jan

The Miracle of Wet Blocking

Hi Ellen!

Lo this many a year I have resisted wet blocking. Too much hassle when you can just steam block, right? How can I afford the time to let it dry? Surely it doesn’t make that much difference, does it? Okay, I am so very wrong.

Entrelac BlockedI realized I had no choice but to wet block Marie’s shawl…it had to be done that way. And it wasn’t so terribly traumatic. I also was a little surprised (naively so, I suppose) at how much it stretched out. With this in mind I considered that short entrelac scarf that I finished last week. It needed to be longer. So, it sat on the edge of the bathtub till yesterday just waiting for me to see if the stretch factor only applied to lace, or if it would also work on stockinette — and yesterday, it took a soak and then a stretch. Now it is of completely satisfactory length and I am quite pleased. The entrelac blocks are a bit more diamond-like, but with a nice aesthetic.

Sweater and ScarfWhen I saw how much the wet blocking did for the length of the scarf, I pulled out the “Sally’s Favorite Sweater” that I knit over the summer that had somehow ended up wider than it was long. (As it was supposed to be a tunic, this was not good.) I broke the side stitching to allow the pieces to stretch and gave it a soak too. Amazing…it is now longer than wide and may possibly be wearable! The sleeves look kind of skinny, but I don’t like wide sleeves, so I think I’m good with them.  Once it’s dry, I’ll try it on again and let you know.

Lily of the Valley ScarfI’ve started a new scarf based on the Lily of the Valley stitch pattern. Frankly, it’s kicking my butt a bit. I need to chart the lace pattern as the pattern book I have has it written out and I keep losing my place. Also, I’m using a Donegal yarn that is surprisingly unpleasant to knit. Little give and lots of scratch. I had planned this for the Red Scarf Project in the first place. I won’t miss it when I give it away.

Love, Jan

Happy Boxing Day!

Hi Ellen!

Boxing Day is meant to observe the day after Christmas when British well-to-do “boxed” and delivered gifts for their servants…but having to drag my sorry behind out of bed and into work today made me feel like it was more about having survived a number of rounds in the ring! At least I came in with some wonderful memories from the last few days. Christmas AmaryllisWe did have a great holiday — lots of the stuff you’re supposed to have…togetherness, love, appreciation, personal and spiritual reflection. Our bunch ranges along the Christian line from believer to agnostic, but we’re all well invested in being part of a better world by “being the change we wish to see in the world”. (Oh, wait a minute, that was on the paperweight we put in Marie’s stocking.) As my lovely amaryllis from my lovely sister bloomed on Christmas morning, I’ve gotta stick with believer.

Marie Decoratespict0002.JPGCookies to DeliverThe cookie and candy making crossed three days of the holiday and we delivered collections of springerle, dream bars, cranberry bars, rice krispy treats, sour milk rollouts, lemon squares, peanut butter and chocolate fudge, light and dark peppermint bark and buttercream mints to 9 recipient families/groups. We still have quite a stock of leftovers — even after Heidi and Marie took another boxful home with them.

Marie and Heidi CookiesAllen and Tina CookiesDale and Jan CookiesMy favorite cookies were all of our self-portraits. I don’t know if Marie had read your post for inspiration, but she decreed that we would all have to create them. And all did. I’m particularly tickled by Dale’s conversion of the santa into an astronaut. Allen’s detail on his Sailor was amazing too. And I love that Marie chose to do a burlesque costume and Tina went for evening dress. Heidi said she was going to wear what she was comfortable in — a buttoned down shirt and slacks — and that’s why she’s smiling so broadly. All got their personalities well captured!When I got out of the kitchen and to the decorating table, I had a little problem in that none of the ginger ladies or ginger men were left. I settled for using an angel. Allen Max and Ruby Cookiespoints out that I am anything but an angel…I point out that not all angels are nice and she does have knitting in hand. And possibly most remarkable are the Max and Ruby cookies…what a surprise given that they don’t have opposable thumbs.

Oh Christmas TreeKids Wait to Come DownstairsMarie and Heidi with StockingsAllen and Tina with StockingsChristmas morning brought many happy rippings of wrapping paper and lots of ooh’s, ah’s, and exclamations of “I love it!” Stockings were well stuffed and everyone got more than they deserved was blessed with many lovely gifts. We rounded out the day by rounding ourselves out by mass consumption of the traditional steak and baked potato dinner, more cookies and candies, adult beverages and more cookies and candies. Heavy activity ensued — card playing and puzzle making.

And of course, knitting — but EASY knitting…a simple chemo cap pattern for a friend with ovarian cancer. I am very pleased with the feel of the fabric, but am ready to rip and restart as I’ve decided I designed for too much negative ease. It will go on the head, but I think to be comfortable for longer periods needs to have an extra inch or two. Dale, Allen and Tina encouraged me to keep going on it last night (they each wedged it on tried it on last night), but you know how it is when you just aren’t happy with the way something is turning out? You just know where you have to go, so on to the frog pond for me.

Despite the missteps on the cap, I would be lying if I intimated that we all were anything but happy and content…and at least I still am!

Love, Jan


Dear Ellen,

family-t-day-2007.JPGI loved catching you over at Mike and Becky’s when I called to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. It sounded like you guys were having a good time. The Hamby bunch had a very good time. We had both kids home along with their significant others and everyone helped prepare and clean-up. It actually gave me time to piece together Sally’s favorite sweater while the meal was cooking.

Hamby Turkey on Turkey Day 2007No pic of that today as I am once again foiled by my obsession that I must make things a size or two too large in order to fit me. (First sweater story below — second sweater I like, but didn’t intend to make it the cute “swing” sweater that it is.) I am pondering what to do. I believe I can pull off an attempt to take it in…with the sewing machine. The turkey, however, turned out mahvelous!

We all consumed to excess…and there was much excess leftover. We will be eating well for a good many days. Tina tells us that this is important as having excess on your table (during the Chinese New Year or at any celebration) portends surpluses in the coming year. We will have a big year. Especially if we keep eating like this!

Ruby Hypnotizes for TreatsPost Dinner T-day 2007Post dinner Ruby activated her hypnotism rays and forced Marie to feed her many treats. Then she and Max set the example for evening activities. We did our best to keep pace with them, but they are, after all, professionals.

Today — mother of the bride dress shopping. If it will fit me today, it will certainly fit me in February!

Love, Jan