I love the holidays. We don’t travel like other families do, and I am secretly glad for this. TheCop put his foot down years ago when our daughter was born and he couldn’t handle loading up our small car with baby stuff, holiday stuff, packing stuff, a new baby and an under-slept, over-caffeinated wife just so we could drive to a location where he then couldn’t relax for a week. Instead, we stay home and create our own family traditions. This made great sense with each new kid added to the mix. It’s probably one of the few things TheCop has ever put his foot down about and with which I wordlessly went along.

That doesn’t mean company isn’t welcome to visit. On the contrary; I love cooking for lots of people, and holidays are one of the few times I get to do the June Cleaver domestic kitchen goddess thing (just don’t look at the rest of the house). This year my sister TheProgrammer came for Thanksgiving, bringing her newly minted fiance with her. These are two of my favorite people in the world. We have a lovely time together and I cannot refuse her anything. When I went out to stay with her when she had hip surgery a couple of years ago, she wanted to learn to knit, and I came prepared. She can cast on like nobody’s business but, by the third row, her stitches are so tight she literally cannot get her needle through the stitch. It’s practically a gift, that, because now I feel sorry for her. While I was there I made her a cropped red cardigan and, for her birthday, I introduced her to one of Portland’s lovely yarn stores, Knit Purl, and had her pick out Noro that I would transform into the classic striped Noro scarf.

You get the idea.

So during a few hours on Thanksgiving where I wasn’t cooking, we went downstairs and I let my sister shop in my yarnporn stash for her next project. I wasn’t terribly worried about her wanting something I didn’t want to give her — she fell in love with a new fibre or color every third skein. (I told you we were related.) But then I started showing her some finished objects, and that was the beginning of my downfall. She wanted to see my cream tweedish jacket I had been working on that she’d heard so much about. That was my first mistake. She loved it and now wants one of her own. Hmmm. Well, okay, but let’s redirect her to smaller projects that can be easily finished, shall we?  I thought she might like a hat next, so I brought out several for her to try on.

That was my second mistake.

She tried on my Rose Brown (Rose Red but in, well, brown) and fell in love with it. Totally, absolutely, completely in love with it. Cool! Because I happen to have another skein of ultra alpaca and can match it exactly. And then came the words a knitter dreads:

“Oh, so can I have this one then?”

What the what!??!? My second project ever! And then the horror of it all: I heard myself say, “Sure.”

What the what!??!?

And then I realized why knitters are the way we are. Our finished objects are nice, and beautiful, and finished, but they are so much better when they’re given with love. And that, ladies and gentle knitters, is why we find ourselves up at all hours trying to finish holiday WIPs as the hours draw us closer to those gift exchanges we’re not quite yet ready for, our knitting traveling everywhere with us, just trying to manage a few rows here and there. I think it’s why we do what we do. Even when we don’t realize we’re doing it. It’s all about the love.

Tis the season.


Originally uploaded by robin2go

Sometimes, no matter what you’d rather be doing, you just have to frog that shite and say, “Whatever.”


So I am finally working on the Noro my sister bought for her scarf, but then gave up because three rows after she cast on she was so tight she couldn’t even push a needle through to make a stitch. Like most people, I think the Noro is beautiful and I totally want a Noro striped scarf, but when it comes down to buying the actual yarn, I get overwhelmed by the color selections. And possibilities. And wondering, what if these colors don’t exactly work with those colors? Clearly, I need to man up. And so I thought we had come to the perfect solution: by working on my sister’s scarf, I get to play with her Noro before I buy and she gets a scarf that’s longer than three rows long.

So you’d think.
Actually, the colors aren’t bothering me in the slightest. It is cool to watch these stripes slowly turn to other colors as I continue to knit. However, I think the operative word in that last sentence is “continue” because really, that hasn’t been the overall feel here. More like struggle. Muddle. Frog. I’m just short of calling it the undo scarf, as the more I knit, the more I undo, but I think I might have finally gotten the rhythm of this scarf, and so we are at a detente, the scarf and I, and slowly the rows continue to build.

The irony here is that this scarf is supposed to be my easy off-project project. You know, the one you go to when you get overwhelmed b the intricacies of the difficult pattern you’re working on and long for some simple knit purl? Yeah, that one. And as this is a simple 1×1 ribbing, it should be relatively mindless, save for the one slight hiccup: the edges. Aye, there’s the rub. Because the edges are really the only drawback to this scarf, and perhaps not so much a drawback, but more like I don’t think I understood just how important those edges are, nor just how close I was to being pushed over them. Metaphorically speaking.

Okay, so why am I so whiny about the edges?

Mostly because the edges are the only tricky part of this scarf. It’s the first time I’ve used two colors at the same time, so you have to bring the non-worked yarn up along the edge as you’re knitting the other one. And that sounds easy unless you’ve ever done that before, and in practice, it befuddled me. Also, they suggest using a slipped stitch selvedge. Again, in theory I understood what was going on. In reality, I had no freaking clue. Slip sti– waaaait, what? Why the second row and not the first? On both sides, or not? Clearly, I was not going to be able to sort it out until I rolled up my sleeves and got on with it.

It was, in a word, painful.

I think I’ve ripped this simple scarf out 9 or 10 times. Never getting more than eight stripes through; sometimes less than two. Sadly, the reality is you need to get going for a while to see where your mistakes are, and how you’re doing it wrong, before you can correct it. And I am probably more likely to rip something out if I’m still relatively close to the beginning, as much as it pains me to do so. Or perhaps that was just me. Thank God for YouTube and @iAudrey, because they were the only things that could show me a) how to try to do it, and b) how to fix it.

So now I’m on the right track. So far. We’ll see just how long this takes me — or if I even want to do another one for me. I hope I’m not sick of it by the end; I still want to do one for myself in Noro’s Silk Garden.

That is, if I haven’t been pushed over the edge by then.

(PS. Photos of scarf in progress to come. Waiting for, you know, light.)