Mother’s Day Mending

My mom has always been one of my favorite people to knit for.  She graciously accepted my first-ever knit, a garter stitch scarf out of nubby acrylic yarn, and still wears it from time to time.  Over the years, as my knitting has gotten more adventurous, she has been the enthusiastic recipient of my first lace project, a pair of beaded socks, and various other scarves and hats.  I love that she wears these things when I’m around her; it reminds me of what I already know deep in my heart: she love and supports me very much.

So when I noticed that one of her handknit scarves had a little hole in it, I wanted to fix it immediately.  We were at Stitches at the time, and I kept my eye out for some of the same yarn to do the repair.  It was Malabrigo lace in a green-blue colorway, and I thought it wold be easy to find a skein in a close color.  Not so.  When we parted ways, I forgot to get the scarf from her, and it left my mind.

The next month she came to visit for my birthday and happened to be wearing the scarf.  I was relieved to see that the hole at not grown!  It appeared that a small snag near the garter stitch border had broken the yarn, and just a couple of stitches had unravelled.  Fortunately, the yarn is a fuzzy single ply and very grabby, so it wasn’t going anywhere fast.  But how to fix it?

My mom left the scarf with me this time.  Quite by accident, as I was getting down a box of old Interweave magazines, I found a ziplock bag of yarn labels and tags.  This is a remnant of the days before I uploaded my stash to Ravelry; I saved every single ball band, just in case.  You know what happens next, right?

Malabrigo yarns come with a hang tag that is attached to the skein by a small length of yarn.  I did the yarn worshiper’s Alleluia and danced with joy!

The fix was relatively simple once I set my mind to it.  I got out my size 0 double-pointed needles and got to work looking for live stitches and pulling out tufts of broken yarn.  There were more stitches on the bottom of the hole than the top, so I fudged it a bit and picked up some intact stitches, then grafted the hole closed.  I took care to weave in the ends on the top and bottom of the graft, hoping to add further reinforcement.

I think it turned out pretty nice!

Next I gave the scarf a nice bubble bath and re-blocked it.  I think my mom will get many more years of enjoyment out of this scarf.  And I have about 6 inches of yarn left, just in case.

Easy Come, Easy Lace…

The scarf is finished!

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  • Yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Lace in Emerald Blue (137)
  • Needles: Size 4 Circular Needles
  • Pattern: Easy Flame Lace Scarf by Wendy Bernard (it’s free!)

I started this project in October, thinking it would be a quick and easy introduction to lace knitting. I thought I would have it finished in plenty of time to give to my mother for Christmas. Well, it was an easy pattern, and a fabulous introduction to a simple lace, but it took me a lot longer to finish than anticipated. It felt like it would never end: 470 yards of lace yarn…ahhhh….

The perfect opportunity to buckle down and knit until it was finished came last week in Newport, RI.  My mom and I drove over for some coastal R&R, staying at the historic Francis Malbone House.  It was during their afternoon tea service, in front of a roaring Colonial fireplace, that I was able to muster up the energy to finish.  The two lemon squares I devoured may have helped things along a bit too.  FYI, this is a great time of year to try out some of Newport’s high end B&B’s at a deep discount; we got our room with a harbor view for about 2/3 off the usual price!

Back to the scarf:

As soon as I bound off, I tossed it to my mom in the wingback next to me.  She received the scarf graciously and encouraged me NOT to throw the leftover yarn into the fireplace.  I left it on the mantle, instead.  In any case, my mom has been very good about making a big deal out of my knitting, and especially this project. I am happy to have completed it for her, and hope she will enjoy it for a long time to come.

Before blocking, the scarf measured 68 inches long, 5 1/2 inches wide. I used a spray bottle full of warm water to wet the scarf, avoiding the potential stretching that fully submerging it in water might create. I then used my yoga mat to pin my work down, stretching it to about 6 1/4 inches wide and 71 inches long. This material seems to work perfectly for blocking; it holds onto the pins, and seals itself up once they are removed. It also allows for the fabric to dry faster since it is non-absorbent.

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Spike was not impressed, as usual.

Procrastination Vacation

Dear readers,

I will be going into holiday hibernation tomorrow. We are loading up the car and heading to Michigan for 10 days, and I cannot make any promises as to whether or not I will be posting. Right now I am writing when I should probably be packing provisions for the trip. I would rather be looking at knitting sites and writing here than thinking about how cold it will be in Northern MI and how many pairs of thermal underwear I should be packing.

The in-laws do have wireless at their house, so I could take my laptop…

All the presents have been packed and stacked by the door with care:

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We always try to gift lightly, meaning we try to buy small, easily transportable gifts for family who are traveling (ourselves included). Things that can be put in the checked baggage and will survive a cross-country flight, for example. And I always hope to leave Christmas at my in-laws with less than we arrived with. This never seems to happen, however, and while I appreciate their generous gift-giving, I can’t let go of the year they gave us a queen size bed-in-a-bag. We were flying home for Pete’s sake! Oh, the number of times we’ve had to ship boxes home to ourselves because we couldn’t get them home on a plane… Fortunately for us, we’re driving this year, so the loot can expand to fit the confines of our car.

There’s always room behind the front seats for my knitting bag, I make sure of that. I will be taking the slow-going Easy Flame Lace Scarf, the yarn and pattern for the Citrus Yoke Pullover, and the Jaywalker socks I started this week.  Yes, I have reluctantly jumped on the Jaywalker bandwagon, but after some research found that it’s probably the best pattern for the yarn I already had.  So what if I’m a knitting lemming, joining the thousands of people who have already cast on.  I’ll just have to accept that some things are popular for good reason, and this may be one of them.

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Jaywalker Socks by Grumperina in Knit Picks Felici in Atmosphere

This is the first time I have knit with this yarn, and it is wonderful so far. It’s a superwash merino/nylon blend, so it’s soft, a little bit stretchy, and the color is wonderful. I plan on making these for a friend’s birthday in the first week of January. Since I must be one of the world’s slowest sock knitters, I plan on working almost exclusively on these while away, damn the conseqeunces!

I have run into a couple of snags while knitting the cuff of the first sock, and can’t decide if I should frog back and start over…

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Can you see what I’m talking about?

It’s there, on the right hand side of the sock: my imperfect stitch counting on the decreases. This is a simple knit 7, kfb, knit 7, sssk pattern, but for some reason I had trouble lining up my decreases in the beginning. Also, the ribbing is super stretchy, and since my friend does not have elephantiasis of the leg, I’m a little worried. The ribbing stretches farther than the leg; is this a problem? Should I knit the ribbing in smaller needles and switch when I get to the stitch pattern?  Should I ignore it and keep a knittin’?

I think I can put off packing a little bit longer while I look this up on Ravelry

Happy Holidays!