Tanguy1Isn't it the cutest thing?  It still needs a tassel, and I think that's going to really make this hat.  I do believe his will fit a newborn, and I think I'll make another in the toddler size and switch up the colors.

NorthstarrippedAfter getting the hat off the needles, I pulled out the offending RH mitten and ripped away -- first the thumb, then the hand.  It wasn't as difficult as I feared.  Today I'll get it back on the needles, figure out where I am, and carry on.  I've got more than half a mitten to do, but considering everything, I feel like I'm on the home stretch!  I'd like to finish these by Sunday so Katie can take them back to school with her.  After having her home for a month, it will be weird when she leaves.

Kate helped DH put boards up on the ceiling yesterday before she had to go to work.  They did about half of what needed to be done, and I'll help DH finish it off today.  The last board might be a little futzy, but that's King Futz & Putz's department.

Question.  I've seen this come up now and then over the past few months, but 'til now I really haven't had a problem.  Now, my bandwidth usage is soaring.  I have read the recommendations to rename picture files now and then; I haven't tried that yet, but think it means that I'll have to reinsert the picture file with the new name in the post.  Am I right?  That sounds time-consuming.  What do y'all do?

It fits like a mitten!

I was anxious to unpin my LH mitten last night. I thought about it all day yesterday -- really had doubts that the blocking would give me the extra length I needed -- and was fully prepared, mentally and emotionally, for Plan B.  The first thing I noticed when I slipped that mitt onto my hand was how soft and pliable it was.  Mmm.  The second thing I noticed was that my middle finger, though touching the top of the mitten, was not trying to poke through.  There was room!  It's not Max Headroom, but room enough.  I had the fittin' mitten on my hand a lot last night.

So, the next step is to rip and re-do the RH mitten.  I'll need to rip to where I left off on the thumb gusset, knit the gusset to the proper length, and carry on from there.  Then I'll give it the same wet block treatment.  This will be tedious at the start because I already wove in the ends on that one.  I weave and hide 'em pretty well.  In the end, these mittens will be given to Katie; she has the smallest hands among us and, though I could wear them, they're better sized for her.  I'll move on to another pair, thank you!

I worked on the sweet Tanguy hat last night, but not as much as I'd have liked.  Interruptions prevented it being an FO, but I think you may see one tomorrow!

In the Land of Futz & Putz

Yep, step right up for your daily dose of lunacy!  Bonne Marie calls it "mitten mania" (isn't she kind!).  She linked me in her sidebar and she *hearts* me, she really *hearts* me!  I'll tell ya, it's better than a triple-chocolate brownie for breakfast.  It was while doing an internet search back in February or March for something knitting-related that I happened upon ChicKnits and what a treasure trove of information, inspiration and energy it was.  I sat bug-eyed at my computer for days and days and days.  Her site was my portal to the world of knitbloggers, too; prior to that, I had no idea that there was such a thing and only vague knowledge of blogs in general. I added her to my Favorites and she was my jumping-off point for a long time ('til I started my own blog, I guess).  I would have to say that, unbeknownst to her I'm sure, Bonne Marie is the #1 reason why I started blogging and why I look at my knitting so differently now -- the woman is fearless in everything she does (the way she cuts things up without even a tremble!) -- and shows everyone WHO's the BOSS:  You Are!

Northstarblocked_1I finished the thumb while watching the Eagles send the Vikings packing, then took Stephanie's advice and blocked it -- wet, no steam -- and it's still pinned out so I don't know the result.  I may have found a little extra length, but is it enough?  When I look at my fingers in relation to my thumb on my hand, and then look at the same on this picture, well, they're a lot different.  Results of the jury will be forthcoming tomorrow.  I didn't lose any sleep over it.

The little Tanguy hat is progressing -- the triangles and brim are finished and standing by on the needles to be joined with the hat.  The hat was cast on with an "invisible cast on," which I'd never done before, and I hope it's right; I followed directions from my Vogue Knitting reference book (the only book of three where I found directions).  I'm at the point where I'm making decreases every 3rd row, so it shouldn't be long.  This little thing may be small (I did not swatch), but it's so cute and quick that even if it fits a teddy bear, I'll be just fine.  I love the way it just sits there in Kate's picture and think it would make lovely decor, too.  I'm using lovely beaded stitch markers that Yvette sent me long ago -- finally something on small enough needles to use them.  They're very cute (thanks, Yvette!).

Kitjan16I had a hammer in my hand and nails in my pocket for a good part of the weekend.  This is where we were at game time (noon) yesterday.  If there was a Land of Futz and Putz, my dear husband would be king; he spent nearly the entire day on Saturday working on those little strips onto which we're nailing the beadboard -- cutting them "just so" in order to make the ceiling level, screwing them into the ceiling, putting in shims here and giving a shave there, and Good God, Let's Get On With It!!  The whole damn room and everything in it is off-kilter, but the ceiling will be level!  Anyway, we were more than half-way by the time we called it quits yesterday.  It's looking very fine -- and level.

In between construction and knitting, I finally hooked up our refurbished computer, installed a mouse with a cord on another (the wireless is great but very jumpy), did lots o' laundry, roasted a chicken, and watched a little football.  I didn't leave the house even once.  Too darn cold, for one thing!

Like my new mittens?


Faced with a case of Mitten Indecision, I did what any number of YOU would do, and "swatched" for a baby hat.  Kate's adorable Tanguy pattern, to be precise.  (Oh, and go look at her new shoes!)

I've received a number of very good suggestions about the mittens -- from frogging to blocking to using them as decoration.  Decor:  The decoration idea is familiarBlock:  I might be able to block the left-hand mitten, but that still leaves the right all funky and the thumb is just not right.  Frog:  How I feel about frogging depends on my mood -- sometimes I'm okay with it, let's frog 'em and start over, and sometimes I wonder just how much (or little) I'd have to frog.

Here's what I'm gonna do:  I'll try blocking the left-hand mitten to see if it shapes up.  There's no hope that the right-hand mitten would ever match with its misplaced and mistaken thumb. But if LH succumbs responds, I'll frog RH to the thumb, fix it, and carry on.  If LH does not bend to my will respond, I will rip it a little (maybe half-way or so), figure out how to artfully add the needed extra rows for length, and then rip/fix/re-do RH to match.

Then, I'll figure out what to do with the extra mitten yarn that I sent Kt to get yesterday.  It's wonderful having a daughter who is more than willing to make an emergency run to the LYS.  My cost for her services?  Two hanks of yarn from the sale bin.  Yeah.  And the yarn she brought me is a little different, anyway; I already wound it up, so it's mine in any case.

Meanwhile, the little hat swatch is adorable, no?  My baby sis with the growing bump is going to be 40 on the 23rd and wouldn't this be a cute little addition to her gift?  And then I realized mid-week that Mom's birthday is on the 31st!  When I asked her if there was anything on her wish list and she blew me away by saying that she's been looking at bed jackets!  She likes to read in bed, but doesn't like to take her arms out from under the covers because they get cold.  I said, "Huh, a person could knit one of those..."

Shot to hell

I don't know where to begin.  Let's start at the very beginning (it's a very good place to start) because it wasn't far from there that it all started.  I've been putting the mittens on and comparing feel and fit and trying to figure out what the difference is.  The hands of both mittens were knit from a chart, so there is no variation in the number of rows or stitches there.  The mittens are basically the same size, but they fit very, very differently.

The right-hand mitten has plenty of room for fingers, both length-wise and width-wise -- very comfy there -- but the thumb has always been a bit tight.  It's not uncomfortable, but it's not perfect.  The braid always bothered me a little bit, too; it falls at the bottom of my palm, not at the wrist.  Given that this was my first mitten of this sort, I was willing to live with these little things.

But the left-hand mitten has different problems.  My middle finger doesn't have enough room -- it keeps wanting to poke out the top of the mitten; the decreases for the top start way too soon and it's just tight, length-wise and width-wise.  But the thumb is VERY comfortable and the braid falls right where I want it at the wrist.

Hmm.  There's a perfect top on the right and a perfect bottom on the left.  There must be something wrong in the middle.  And there is.  It's the thumbs -- they're different.  They're in the middle, but they actually start at the beginning, and I don't think I knit the right one correctly.  I think I put the stitches on the holder as soon as I finished with the gusset increases, and I should have knit it straight for a while longer.

What it all means, in a nutshell (what? a nutshell now?? in the fifth paragraph??), is that they're just both wrong and if I want mittens that fit the same, there's a lot of frogging, re-figuring, and re-knitting to do.  I could lay some blame on the pattern -- the one that has directions for Women's Medium, Men's Medium and Men's Large and charts for Women's Small, Men's Medium and Men's Large, as well as directions for the pattern and thumb gore for two right mittens, but no left (mostly just typos, but still), and gauge given vaguely as "7 sts = 1 inch" (is that stitches and rows?).  I suppose I should have verified said gauge somehow, maybe by knitting a swatch, or just quickly calculating stitches/rows/inches.  Truthfully, my gauge is very close.

A small part of me wants to just forget it and move on, chalk it up to experience.  A bigger part of me wants to knit these mittens so they fit.  I love how they look and they really are fun to knit and I've worked so hard that now I want them.  It's like the gauntlet (they're mittens!) has been thrown down. I'm going to have a duel -- and I'm going to win!

Two more nutshells:  1) I was numb 'til nearly 5:00 last night!  2) The upstairs kitchen is looking fine -- very weird since it's empty and hasn't been that way in YEARS.  Work will continue there tomorrow.

Have a great weekend (it's very sunny here, but FRIGID).

Vicki Needle-Fingers

Northstar6I don't care how many mittens I knit, I don't think I'll ever stop trying it on in the middle of knitting the thumb with DPNs going every which way.  It tickles me.  Even when I'm somewhat displeased with the mitten (like now), this little trick humors me.

Yes, I am displeased.  I finished 'er off last night and tried it on.  Hmm.  Somewhere between the first and second snowflake on this little number, I must have given up my loose ways because this baby is SMALL.  I was so happy with the feel and fit at the half-way point, but man, things changed.  It even looks smaller -- noticeably -- than the right-hand mitten.

So what did I do?  I pulled out the Tanguy pattern and drew the Baby Ull near.  I knew that starting the hat, no matter how fun and new (and colorful), was not going to make things right with the mitten, but I needed a diversion -- even if only for a minute.  I read through the hat pattern and contemplated colors, then I picked up the thumb stitches on the mitt.  I'll knit the thumb, then tear out half the stupid mitten (that I really do love very much, just not so much right this minute) and re-knit it.  I'll do it all before starting the cute little hat (or anything else).

Upkit1Before leaving for my dentist appointment this morning, I cleared all the crap out of the upstairs kitchen.  We don't use it as a kitchen, of course (it's storage, what else?), but the cabinets and sink are still there (handy, too!).  The big hunk o' plaster missing from the ceiling came crashing down some time ago while my young nephew was upstairs playing.  I believe he thought that the sky was falling, or that somehow it must have been his fault.  Poor thing.  In reality, it's the result of having hired the roofer from hell some time prior to that.  Yes, hiring a shitty roofing contractor can have major consequences on the ceilings in your home.  Especially an older home with lathe and plaster.  Cheap can end up costing LOTS.

So, it's really been quite some time since that chunk fell down, and the walls suffered from some of our own happy hands at home remodeling downstairs (jacking up a wall, putting in a microlam beam), and we've decided that it's finally time to fix it.  While I was listening to Elton John (quite loudly) on headphones as the dentist broke a sweat scraping plaque and tartar off half my teeth, Kate & DH took the plaster off the ceiling.  He's up there cleaning up the mess (Kt's on her way to a knitting at the coffee shop date with one of her friends!) and I'm waiting for feeling and normal speech to return.  We left the lathe and will staple some plastic over it later today.  I can't staple with a numb mouth.  Then we'll be putting up beadboard -- I love that stuff.  We're going to do a panelled (but not really) thing on the walls that'll go up about 3/4, and I have some pansy wallpaper (scored at a rummage sale last summer) that will cover the rest.  There's a lot to do before we get to that point, though.

Celia's International Pajama Day is on my calendar.  Sunday, February 6th.  It's not official -- cripes, who would schedule that on a TUESDAY? -- but who cares, it's pajamas?  Honest to God, have you ever seen anyone looking more relaxed than Celia?  I want to look like that.  I will!

Okey dokey, how 'bout some knitting

Northstar4Northstar5It's nearly a pair of North Star Mittens!  I ran out of gas at the point where the top shaping begins.  These will certainly be finished by the weekend.  I couldn't be more pleased with how the second mitten is turning out.  I'm knitting looser and, so far, it fits and feels so much better than the first.  I may end up re-knitting the right-hand mitt.

Northstarinside1Northstarinside2See how nice the inside looks?  In both pics, the first mitt is on the left and the second is on the right.  I'm much more consistent with how I'm carrying the yarn.  I like the inside or wrong side of things to look nice, too.  That's been drilled into my head since before I even took up needles of any kind.  My maternal grandmother died when I was in third grade and I don't have any memory of her actually doing handwork, but she did a LOT.  (According to my mom, she rarely finished any of it.  I finished one of her cross-stitch pillow tops long after she died, and it's a treasure.)  Anyway, at every opportunity, my mom would tell us that her mother always said that it's important to make the back look as neat as the front.  I imagine that great grandma was a stickler, too.  With those words rolling 'round in my head, you should see the back of some of my cross-stitch pieces!

Baby20ullK27s20hairMail call!  The whole family shrugged and said, "Oh, it's probably yarn from one of mom's knitting friends."  Right-O!  It was Baby Ull in yesterday's mail; my recent effort to help Jody with stash reduction.  The first thing that came to mind is "Tanguy," one of the cute-beyond-words patterns that I recently purchased from Kate.  I haven't checked to see if this yarn would actually work, but I'm hoping.  Can't you see it?

My very own Kate is having fun with her new short hair.  I'm working on replies, but I'd just like to thank you all again for your comments about her gift to Locks of Love and her cute new 'do.  I was surprised at how many people are growing their hair in order to do the same.  It's really a wonderful thing.

Stop kicking me!

Jan6th0002Jan6th0001The mitten is kicking my butt.  I did not have the mistake I feared yesterday, but found an earlier mistake -- in the first row of the braid -- and ripped it all the way back.  I'd purled the damn row rather than knit.  That's the third time I've knit that braid.  It can only be lack of concentration -- I was so intent on following directions the first time and didn't have a single problem, me and my cocky attitude are being put in our place with the second.

There are no guarantees that I even did Meg's Jogless Jog correctly, but you see the result at right compared to plain ol' circular stripes (spiral) on the left.  What do you think; is it an improvement or a wash?  I think it's kind of a wash.

ClosureI've been playing with closures for the SP2 Shapely Shawlette.  I wear it a lot and had been making a knot, but then I look like I have a uniboob when I put on a jacket.  When Lynne sent my prize alpaca, she'd tied it all up and included was a sparkly, plastic belt buckle which I used the other day. This is one that I cut off an unused belt I had.  It works very nicely and lays pretty flat -- I'm looking forward to thrift shopping for potential shawl closures!

Jan6thmail_1It was a good mail day yesterday -- two packages!  The first contained books (the redemption of my B&N Christmas gift card), and the second was a leather coin purse that my sister made for me.  Every year, for the past several, she's made "Martha gifts" for our mom, her MIL, Inspectionsometimes sisters and SILs -- always a project from Living magazine.  This year, it was leather coin purses.  She had extra leather, so made one for me -- and look what I found inside!

DuncanI'm ready to talk about Duncan now.  Who knew that the best way to introduce a new cat is to throw 'em all off-guard with a dog, first!  When Ai's friend called before Christmas and asked if we could adopt her 4-month-old kitty because things weren't working out well at her house, my hesitations were 1) do we really need a third cat/fourth pet and 2) the poor kitties have just gotten used to a dog, how will they react to a new cat?  Well, apparently Scamp & Roxie figure that there's strength in numbers -- I cannot believe how well Duncan has been "accepted."  Hmmm, not with hugs and kisses from the others, but not nearly the amount of hissing and spitting and pet mayhem that I was expecting.  Duncan has melted our hearts, for sure, a real sweetie-pie, and he has obviously charmed the other felines, too.

Coming up on Monday:  someone's getting a new 'do.  Have a great weekend!