Tuesday, May 12, 2009

When did I have time to work?

Time passes and I wonder where it goes. I just don't know how I ever had time to work!

Things have been busy around our house! Finally got all the finishing touches of the house siding project finished. It is a l-l-l-l-o-o-o-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g story. Let's just say that the downturn in the economy that hit the construction industry affected our project as well. It cost us some additional funds but now it is all done! Looks great! We are very pleased.

We have been working on re-landscaping the outside of our house as well. We have taken many trips to various nursery's in the area to shop for plants and trees. We have also been working hard at getting the 5 yards of topsoil and compost into our various garden beds.

Greg put in a beautiful water feature in our yard and it is even more magnificent at night with the artful placement of lighting. Have I ever told you what a gem he is?

The next house project was having some areas of the drywall patched/fixed. This has been a pain because furniture is in the middle of rooms and we have to re-paint the interior of our home. Did I tell you that there is dust everywhere?

We are also in the process of getting estimates to have hardwood floors put in on the 3rd floor. Hopefully within 3 weeks that project will be done as well. I am not a fan of carpeting and I will be so happy to say "see ya!" to this carpet.

I will be glad when the home projects are DONE and we can enjoy our home, once again!

I hate to admit that Nihon Vogue homework has been giving me angst. I feel torn between house projects and the time reality of what it takes to get this round of homework done!

The aran and the gansey/guernsey are very time consuming. For both projects I have chosen to use very traditional yarns.

For the aran I am using Wendy Traditional Aran yarn. I am using a smaller needle than probably what is recommended. I liked the resulting fabric of my swatch but this has proven to be....not a mistake but it has been hard on my hands. Overall I like my design.

Here are the fronts. I still need to do the shoulder slope and I will be ready for class.

For the button band, I am using the XO design and have built in the buttonholes while knitting. The technique is something I got from a Beth Brown-Reinsel pattern. It is very clever because you do not see the button holes.

Here is the back. Originally I had planned to use the diamond pattern that I used on the fronts, repeated on the back. As I was knitting I didn't like how it developing so I tore it out and found a cable pattern with the exact number of stitches I needed. I didn't tear out the whole back, I just tore out the section I was replacing and re-knit. I think it looks rather nice, if I say so myself! :O)

I hate to admit this "rookie mistake" I made while knitting the back. I chart every row to keep track of patterns, decreases, etc. I used the same chart for the front and back. In Nihon Vogue, the armhole decreases are not identical on the front and back. So I happily knit away, finishing the back and realized...I used the decreases for the front, on the back. I had to rip out 50 rows. Those of you that have knit an Aran sweater can empathize on how painful ripping those 50 rows was! I ripped and moved on. No time for tears!

Here is the detail of the aran "ribbing". It is curling quite a bit without blocking. I am hoping it will hold a block well.

I still have to knit the sleeves. My goal is to get one sleeve done by class at the end of the month. Jean is going to show us how to sew the sleeve on to the fronts/back.

For the gansey I am also using British Breeds Guernsey 5-ply from Two Swans(thanks Karen for ordering the Navy!).

I am knitting this project for my husband. I showed him all different colors and he had to choose the darkest color. As my eyes age, I have to be near a good lighting source! This, too, is time consuming. I am knitting on 2.75mm needles. Yes, 2.75mm. Can you say "Very time consuming? Let's repeat that. Very Time Consuming!" It will be very beautiful when it is completed!

Here is my progress so far(I am on row 69 and I need to do 128 for class so I will be ready to knit the gusset at the underarm):

Here are a couple photos to give you more detail of the patterning on the sweater.

What is the purple stuff at the bottom of the gansey you ask? I did a provisional cast-on using waste yarn. The reason? I did not like the channel island cast-on(traditional gansey cast-on, usually used if you are doing garter stitch to begin your gansey). Also per Jean, decreases look better than increases. So I will take out the waste yarn and decrease the number of stitches needed for the 2x2 ribbing.

Some of my fellow students are also knitting the gansey for their husbands. Each year we complete, Suzanne hosts a dinner where the family member's attend and help us celebrate completing another year. We laughed and suggested that we do a cat-walk for the husband's to show off our completed designs. Now THAT is something I am looking forward to and I'll have to take video! Ha!

Oh, to update you on the caffeine withdrawal. Well, I realized I was feeling really crummy because of a medication I was taking. I did get off the caffeine but what I was feeling was not totally caused by the withdrawal. I am still trying to find the right medication for my gerd but I am not feeling bad like I was. I am also eating better by trying to minimize the amount of processed food I eat(I love junk food, by the way so it isn't easy - it is a process!). The biggest and most helpful thing to my overall well-being has been getting up by 6am and working out. I walk briskly for 4 miles to start out the day. It does wonders for my mood and outlook on everything. I highly recommend it!

Recently I went out to Suzanne's to meet and talk to some people that are interested in taking Nihon Vogue year one. People in the fiber community are top notch! One woman was from L.A. I forget your name but if you read this, leave a comment! It was so nice to meet you!

I leave this post with the best intentions. I would like to blog more. Maybe once the house projects are done I'll have more time!