8:45. The babies were finally asleep. And then, I heard it.
The not so faint sounds of a guitar being played very close by.
No, it couldn't be, could it? Had bass boy gone back to his sleep-depriving ways? Didn't that guy know we had kids? Actually, how could he NOT know. The nursery was above his living room. I had absolutely no doubt in my mind that the guy knew we had babies -- and a 110 lb rottweiler.
So what was up with the musical stylings? Was he looking for trouble?
Was it revenge?
I sat silently cursing him while wishing for him to stop with the racket-making.
9:07. The music was still hummin on steadily and I was thankful that it wasn't loud, although it kept insinuating itself into my consciousness. I tried not to let it interfere with my updating of projects on Ravelry. Meanwhile, I could see Aden stirring restlessly.
I prayed silently, hoping that the music would just fade into his thoughts and got up to change the channel from "Deadliest Catch" to "Soundscapes" (aka, New Wave lullabye music). My hope was that the music and guitar would blend somehow but he woke before I got the numbers cued into the remote.
His fussing was insistent so I dropped the remote and got him a bottle. My little man was only partially awake but he was FULLY hungry.
Just then, Mark opened the door to the nursery... with a guitar in hand, asking if he could help.
I bit my tongue as I shooed him out of the room.
I then wondered how much bad karma I had incurred for my evil thoughts towards my innocent neighbor.
[Edited to add] 10:40. Bass boy, the one downstairs, decided to start practicing. The floor in the nursery is vibrating and I'm glad I sent evil thoughts his way earlier.
It's the end of another year and time for reflection on the good, the bad, the habits I wish I hadn't picked up and the things that have made me grow. Since knitting is the one thing that keeps me sane, I thought I'd devote a post to my past year in knitting.
I obviously got a lot of baby knits (times two!) completed this year, but I'm pleased to say that I managed to get at least one piece of major adult knitting done as well. My knitting-completed-but-still-unseamed Charming! Cape was my return to the land of adult knits, despite the pressing desire to make hundreds of cute baby things.
With the completed items, came finishing and I have to say that I did a lot of it this year. I'm proud of the fact that I'm getting much better at seaming and making things look fairly polished. I mean, nothing sucks more than perfectly executing some knitting, getting beautiful fabric and having the piece look like shit cause of a botched seaming job. I've also finally finally finally realized how wonderful and necessary blocking is.
I have fallen entirely in love with Ravelry, discovered Etsy (especially the Piddleloop and HideandSheep shops), bought enough stitch dictionaries thankyouverymuch, and discovered that I prefer online yarn stores to my local ones. Yeah, I have to wait for my goods to be mailed, but I find the customer service online to be far superior to my local bricks and mortar stores. (Maybe it's an NYC thang?) Online, I get no "snooty nose in the air" comments when I ask for a utilitarian yarn or requests for a special order. Also, I can find any yarn in the exact color I want at a good / competitive price if I try hard enough and nothing beats that. I don't even need to feel yarn anymore to know what it's going to be like. Honest. I can usually tell by the picture and description... And, if I feel uncertain, I can google the yarn and see what other people thought of it before I buy it. The internet is truly grand.
And speaking of yarn purchases, I've got way toooooo many things in my queue and in hibernation. And they're all scrumptious and delectable and stuff that I absolutely must make.
I've decided that next year I'm going on a yarn diet.* I have more than enough new yarn and projects waiting in the wings. I will alternate a new "from the queue" project with an old hibernating one and keep two projects in rotation at any given time. And... if I find that I just can't deal with the hibernating one, then I will frog it and move on. Life's too short to knit stuff you don't like.
So, without further ado, the lists...
Currently being actively worked on:
2 "Milan, darling. Milan" Jackets (Milan Jacket from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms)
Rosy Legwarmers (matching legwarmers for Tudora; my own pattern)
Genius Bib (Baby Genius Burp Cloth from Mason-Dixon Knitting)
Wishing everyone love, comfort & joy, hand-knit goodies, awesome family, fantastic friends, killer co-workers, fabu pets, the fullest of larders and all the other things that make life so freaking sweet.
Mark called me at work earlier but I was in the middle of a meeting so I let it go to voice mail. About an hour later, I called him back and asked what was up. (I find it quicker to call than to listen to my messages.)
I could hear the smile in his voice when he told me that Aden had a tooth. His first bottom tooth is just poking up past the gum line, finally visible and on its way to being free.
Suddenly, I felt very sad because I was at work and was missing out on a milestone. And, because I realized that this was only the first of many that I won't get to see firsthand.
When I'm trying to unwind or relax, I read knitting patterns. Yes, I know.
Back in the day when I had a different life and we had a different apartment set-up (and vastly different priorities), knitting books would be piled up by my bedside, patterns flagged with stickies or articles of interest marked with strips of torn paper with notes.
"Use this cast off to prevent tight edges," one of them might read. Or, "Interesting technique. Try out soon!!!"
Now my life is a lot more confined and organized. There are fewer books by the bedside since I've taken to sacking out in the babies' room. I sleep on the sofa-bed with it still folded up. This prevents me from getting too comfortable so that I never fall into a crazy deep sleep. It also makes it easy for me to spring up and attend to a baby. The couch, when open, takes up a lot of floor space and I find myself tripping around it in the tight confines of this room. The books, when they aren't immediately put back on the shelves, live on the bedside table or, more often than not, migrate with me from room to room.
Now I find it rare to have the time to luxuriantly flip through a new book, to ogle over a pattern, to study a technique. I usually flip to what I'm trying to find and call it a day.
But on rare nights, like tonight, I can sit and read a pattern word for word, translating the Greek in its abbreviations, imagining the fit, knitting it in my mind.
And I find, that this is as relaxing as the real thing for me. It allows my mind to keep working, knitting, creating, when my hands / eyes / wrists are tired. When knitting another stitch would lead to disaster.
It's a sort of knitting by proxy or intellect and invite you to try it some night, curled up on the couch with a cup of cocoa.
I've been obsessing about starting family traditions lately. Last night, I spent hours googling to find out what the proper order for opening presents was. I was trying to determine when folks traditionally opened their stockings — whether it was the night before on Chrismas Eve or first thing on Christmas Day or if it mattered at all.
While it may seem like such a petty — and mercenary — thing to obsess about, I'm focused on it because I want to start traditions that we'll fondly look forwards to. Like having a turkey dinner on Christmas Day or drinking hot chocolate while unwrapping gifts or getting new PJs to wear on Christmas Eve (all the better for holiday pictures on Christmas Day) or drinking champagne (the parents, that is) while trimming the tree.
I want the kids to have fond memories of the holidays, to grow up with hope and anticipation and to have some traditions that as grown ups they can remember fondly and pass on to their kids.
I guess this is important to me because my brother and I had very few traditions growing up. Christmas was just another day off for our dad and toys were replaced with practical items we needed early on. One year we got new beds. The next it was a bookcase for me, clothes for my brother. My dad rudely told us that he was Santa Claus when I was around 8, forever dashing my hopes that maybe I would actually get something I wished for.
And while my parents did their best to provide and I appreciated and truly understood that while growing up, they also sucked the joy out of the holiday season. We didn't have a huge extended family, so it was always the four of us for all holidays. We never did anything really special or festive as a family. Some years we put up a tree, some we didn't. It entirely depended on my mom's mood. The most we ever did was go to the movies as a family, but that's about it. To this day, I can't remember anything really special about any Christmas and that's pretty sad.
So while the embarrassment of goodies for the kids may be overcompensating a little for the poverty in my childhood, I know that the true meaning of the season isn't in the material things. It's in the memories of warmth and love an togetherness. And although I know that this year all Hunter and Aden will want to do is play with the crinky, crunchy wrapping paper, Christmas will take on a new meaning for them over time.
And I'm hoping to make it a special and dignified one full of laughter and joy.
I love this little thing so much I want to marry it!
Details: It took about six hours, on and off, because of my inconsistency in knitting while commuting this week. I had a holiday party, holiday shopping and an early morning meeting that bit into my time so I did no evening knitting twice this week and no morning knitting once. As a result this took a bit longer than I expected it to. And, last night, while I was knitting the buttonband, I kept frogging and reknitting because I wasn't liking how the edging was turning out, but I finally hit on a combo that I liked.
That combo consisted of me adding 2 selvedge stitches — one at each edge — for the button band. This made a total of 17 stitches. I then worked those as follows:
(WS) Knit all stitches (RS) Slip 1 as to
purl, knit until last stitch, slip last stitch as to purl
It was worth the fiddling because I got a very smooth and even looking edge from it that matched the rest of the pattern.
Other techniques I employed included:
Cabling without a cable needle
Using the suspended bind off so as to ensure that the edges would not be too tight
Here's a horrorshow pic of me modelling it:
This is me, first thing in the morning, no makeup or coffee. Be gentle.
Here it is right before I sewed the button on. I was checking the button placement and got it pretty dead on at first try.
Did I mention I love this little knit?!?!
Well, not as much as I love these two little cutie patooties: