Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I've managed to get everyone out the door on their various errands this morning, which gives me a few brief moments to post before I need to start all of the cooking that's to be done today.

I sat down yesterday to work on the first sleeve of Rick's sweater, but when I measured it, I realized that I'd gotten to the recommended 17 inches before starting the cuff. I thought I'd better get him to try it on before committing to finishing it up, which meant that I had time to knit up a swatch for the Dofuku kimono. I duly knitted it up: stockinette, then the garter ridge of the handspun trim yarn, then about an inch of the ribbing. I washed and blocked it, and then I took a couple of pictures to show you (as well as a few pictures of the Christmas tree), and I settled in to download the pictures and post. But my computer and my camera had taken agin' each other, and wouldn't talk, so that didn't work. I decided that any picture was better than none, so this morning I went for a photobooth shot, and here it is.
The colors are all wrong; the base there is more of a blue spruce color, but I think it gives a good sense of the way the yarns work together. I'm pretty happy with the results, so I think I'll go ahead with this. I'm using a needle one size larger than that recommended on the label, but I like the way the fabric feels; with that needle I'm getting about 5 1/2 stitches to the inch, instead of the recommended 5, but I did the math, and if I knit the larger of the two sizes in the pattern I'll end up with the measurements for the smaller size which is what I wanted, so that's going to be fine.

I also finished the first sleeve of Rick's sweater and am most of the way done with the sleeve cap on the second sleeve. Once that's done, the sleeve should go fairly quickly, and then it's just a few rows on the neck and I'm done. There's a small part of me that has hopes of finishing it for Christmas; we'll see. Does anyone out there have much experience working with cotton? Can I just wash it in the machine and dry it to finish it, or will it need a thorough blocking the way wool would?

The plan for today is to do most of the cooking for tomorrow night's get-together. That means two pork pies, pickled cabbage, cucumber salad, and rod grod (a berry pudding that doesn't translate well; imagine umlauts over those o's). Once those are done, tomorrow's work is mostly getting things heated up and put on the table, plus making the cardamom bread for Christmas morning, so getting most of it done today takes the pressure off.

This just in: we've just (as in, it's still getting loaded onto the tow truck) donated our (very) old car to the San Diego Rescue Mission. I can't watch them tow it away. It's an '87. I bought it from my dad after college, and I brought both my girls home from the hospital in that car (went to the hospital in labor twice in the back seat of that car, too). Before that, it was the car that I brought my carsick puppy home in almost fourteen years ago. I loaded our pets and plants into it when we moved down here. I got that car stuck in creeks (literally, and that's a story and a half), drove it on hundreds of miles of dirt washboard roads, drove it through blizzards and freezing fog on all kinds of adventures, took it to do fieldwork, and got more speeding tickets in it than I care to count. I've owned that car longer than any of my homes. It was freedom and speed and the open road when I most needed all of those things. It was road trips and loud music and adventures. It's time to let it go, and it's to the right people, but I can't watch them tow it away.


Anonymous said...

I like the combination of those yarns and your stories about the old car :)

Wool Enough said...

Here's what I've learned (the hard way) about cotton sweaters -- they STRETCH. Which is both good and bad. On the good side, IMHO, a cotton sweater doesn't really need to be blocked at all. It will easily relax to fit, unlike wool which is an uptight sort of fiber. On the bad side -- if you get the sweater soaking wet (like washing it), handle it tenderly until it gets down to being merely damp. Otherwise it will seize the opportunity and do what it does best (y'know, the "s" word).

Anonymous said...

I thought my family was the only one that made cardamum bread! Only we make it for Easter, not Christmas. What's your recipe? I'm curious now . . .

Also, the colors look fantastic! Enjoy!

Merry Christmas!
Sarah (Scienceprincess)

Anonymous said...

It's hard to let a good car go. But it's to a good cause and it got to go there in one piece after all those faithful miles.

Willow said...

It is always sad to see the old car go. We cried when the tow truck took away our big old mint green van that literally died (broke a crank shaft) the week we were in So Cal to attend our older dd's college graduation. Nine years of drive, drive, driving a family of six everywhere they needed to go, after many years of faithful driving for the national guard.

About the cotton yarn, I would agree with Wool Enough.

And about the swatch and changing needlle size and gauge: remember to check ROWS per inch too.

Stell said...

I'm not sure I could watch either - still good on you for donating. Ricks sweater seems so close to being done - whats next ?

Anonymous said...

It is funny how attached we get to things like a car, and it is wonderful that you are donating it so that others can still benefit from it.

Just wanted to say thank you for your interesting blog.

All the very best of the season to you and yours and a happy, healthy 2009!.

All the best,

Helen said...

The cotton shouldn't need blocking: it's not nearly as complex and magical a substance as wool. Some steam is all it should need until you wash it. I always dry cotton flat, and take a bit of time to pull it gently wider in order to stop it growing quite so much. I do this even with things that aren't hand-knitted.

I hope that all the cooking goes well and that you and all of yours have a lovely Christmas :)

Nana Sadie said...

Oh! I know the feeling about the car.
I felt the very same way when I had to give up my 1985 Mustang. (oh.yes.I.had.a.Mustang...SING IT!)
I hope the party went well...

Anonymous said...

Hard to say good-bye to our old friend cars. (Have to say I wasn't so sad about giving up my last one, which isn't really gone because my husband uses it. Because it made my son so nervous. Had a bad habit of turning itself off. And he was in it one day when the starter shorted out and we had a nice little fire.) Yours sounds like it aged much more nicely than mine.

I'm looking forward to seeing the sweater!

Anonymous said...

I think the handspun is perfect as the kimono trim...and what a great way to use a precious commodity!

I also am wary when washing cotton -- any heavy cotton yarn just soaks up that water and wants to do what gravity asks...S-T-R-E-T-C-H! TH exception I've seen is if it's a lightweight yarn knit at a high stitch count to yield a fabric with a very firm hand. That seems to stand up to the rigor of the washer and dryer pretty well.

EGunn said...

Congratulations on making it so far on Rick's sweater! Heading down the home stretch now. =)

The swatch looks lovely; I rather like the photobooth colors, though I'm sure the spruce is nice, too. Why is it that some colors just won't photograph?

Willow said...

I'm hoping to get to Jumbuk Fibres this week as we are traveling to SD to see MamaMia for 2-3 days. It's just a quick little stop off, right?

Katie said...

I just wash and dry cotton knit garments in the machine to "block" them. I find they shrink up a little bit. I am not gentle on them because I figure the recipient won't be either. I had a hard time letting my old car go way back when. I hear you.