November 26, 2010

Home Stretch

010I finished shawl number 4 today, and (almost) immediately cast on for number 5. I have to admit to a brief break in between where I cast on for a pair of socks. I reasoned it thusly: I will be working on my own shawl (the last one, number 5) right up until the deadline most likely. This will mean last minute blocking and craziness right before we have to leave to catch planes and get to the wedding. I will not find time to put something together to bring with me on the trip to knit, which would be a travesty. So I rationalized that in order to preemptively prevent this outcome, I needed to cast on for the socks today.

These socks might very well be the only hand knit gift I knit this Christmas, which makes me very sad. But I was determined to get them in there somehow because my mother has been ill and I have been unable to get home to see her due to a crazy work schedule which has me working pretty much every day of the week. I feel bad and guilty, and I want to make it up to her. Also, she has asked for socks specifically in the past and I know she knows how much work they are and will appreciate them. Socks for Mom!

How’s the lace going you ask? You clearly didn’t notice that I was avoiding that topic did you? Well, it’s going well, mostly. I had planned to be a little further along at this point, but life (and the above mentioned work schedule) had other ideas. I spent two weeks camping in a tent, running a huge project involving 25 person survey crews, planning and helping Keith cook meals, and generally being on call to a host of teenagers, parents, undergrads (not much better than teenagers), grad students (not much better than undergrads), and various other folks.

Besides the fact that it’s hard to knit in a) the dark, b) cold weather, c) rainy weather, and d)while being asked a million questions, I attempted to knit by campfire on a couple nights a week. I got very little done, and just made the shawl I was working on dirtier and smell like smoke. But when I returned home, I cranked that baby out and now just have mine remaining.

In a great streak of luck, I actually was forced into thinking ahead. I knew eventually there would be blocking, and that it was going to be a bitch. I hate it normally, and I am not good at it. And I lack the skill or the tools to do it right. I was discussing this at the knit night at Cast Away a couple weeks back and they (as all knitters do) had advice. But it was good advice and I listened. And one of the ladies even had a blocking board and steamer she would let me borrow! You can’t beat knitters for niceness. So on a rainy night last week, I acquired a blocking board and steamer, and purchased blocking wires from the store.

Anxious to see how it would work and to take a break from knitting, I jumped right into blocking. It was a slow learning curve at first, but by shawl two I had it and it was amazing! I know the transformation when I block, but I had no idea how pretty these little grubby balls of knitting would become. Kassie’s blue shawl is stunning and the bridesmaids’ are lovely too. It was such a breeze with the wires. I will NEVER not use 020them for this sort of thing again, especially to get straight edges. Wow.

I sent the first one off in the mail to the waiting bridesmaid, praying that the post office doesn’t lose it somehow along the way. I have blocked the bride’s, and have two finished shawls waiting to be blocked. I will do that before Monday so I can send the three out together to Cincinnati. Then I will crank out mine as quickly as possible. I have motivation. I want to work on something (anything) else.

After a bustling Thanksgiving thrown at our house this year (a first for us both), it is so nice to sit quietly on the couch and knit, plan, and look at patterns while Keith sleeps (snores) on the other couch. It’s late, so I should go to bed, but it’s still novel being able to relax and stay up late with a) lights and b) no responsibilities tomorrow.