Nana's Knitting Shop

Knitting tales of a lifelong knitter
and yarn shop owner.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sometimes I scare myself...

2010 not only marks the first decade of the new millennium, but it is also a milestone year for my Prince. He will turn 50 in May.

Now, just a few short years ago, when I turned 50, he had a fabulous surprise party for me. Total surprise. When I walked in the restaurant, I saw lots of totally unconnected people that I actually knew! Since the date wasn't very close to my actual birthday, it took a while for me to realize that all of those people were there for me and my birthday. (The thought that I was attending my own funeral actually crossed my mind.)

How could I follow up on that? I could have a surprise party for his 50th, but the only people that would be there would be my friends and the Prince's friend, our dear neighbor, Chuck. What kind of party would that be if only one of the guests was actually a friend of my Prince?

I could have a surprise party back in Massachusetts where all of his friends live and since most of his relatives live in New York, it would be a hop, skip and a jump for them to come to the party as well.

Oh, but the logistics of such a party would be a nightmare. Not having lived there for 15 years, I wouldn't have a clue what venue to choose. Handling all of those details long distance would be no easy task either. And then there's the problem of getting all of those addresses and how would I know if I left anyone out? How would I get him to Massachusetts without tipping my hand anyway? Sure, we go to visit my family fairly regularly, but what would I use as a lure? May in Massachusetts isn't exactly good for golfing and who knows what fish are running at that time of year.

Cory, her husband, and the kids couldn't be there because it would be too expensive to fly them all out there. And no party is complete without Cory. If Cory were able to come, it wouldn't be a secret, she can't keep a secret. She didn't speak more than a few words to me for months before my party because she was afraid she'd blow it and it drove us both crazy.)

I'll just be a killjoy and ask the Prince what he wants for his birthday. Wow! He doesn't really want a party in Massachusetts and he agrees that a party with Chuck is always fun, but we can do that any old time.

Hmm, off the hook for all that party planning, the never-ending logistics, the hurt feelings as a result of someone being left out, the expense, the secrecy, keeping Cory on the straight and narrow so she wouldn't tell. I am off the hook for all of it.

Surely, there is something I can do to make myself crazy between now and the BIG DAY. This idea is sheer genius. It's an idea that is certain to make me crazy, frustrated, pressured, and oh so much more!

I can knit the Prince another sweater!

He was awfully jealous when I knit Dad that lovely vest for Christmas. He did look a little crest fallen when I just used him as a mannequin instead of actually giving him the fruit of my labor. He was green around the edges when everyone oohed and aahed over Dad's vest when Dad modeled it in front of the Christmas tree.

Despite everything, he's been really, really nice to the sweater I knit for him. He wears it on special occasions and when he needs a little luck. He folds it ever so carefully when he puts it away and if we're out to dinner, he's especially careful not to dribble on it. It really does look great on him, fits him like a dream and the color is oh so beautiful.

What harm would it be just to take a little look see at some patterns? I'll just pull out some magazines and books and spend a little time just looking. Decent mens' sweater patterns are hard to come by so it shouldn't take too long and the chances of finding something are pretty slim anyway.

(Aren't you forgetting about the ugly sock incident?)

Oh my! I forgot I even have this lovely book by Alice Starmore - Fishermen's Sweaters.

(Do not look in that book. Don't you have a Starmore still on the needles for yourself? Does the name Catherine Parr ring any bells? Did you also forget that Starmore, not unlike your lovely friend Theresa, knits everything at a gauge so tight, it can stand up on its own?)

Oh be quiet. I'll get back to it someday. Besides, the gauge is so tight, it'll be too hot to wear and God knows, too hot is not something I can't bear these days. Okay, no Starmore.

Well, take a little lookey loo at the sweater in the Spring Knitter's!

I can even show him a picture of the sweater if the urge to be a spoilsport overwhelms me.

(You surely couldn't show him a picture of the last sweater. The model was wearing a kilt, some weird headdress and a necklace for goodness sake.)

Hmm, no cables, no colorwork. It has sleeves, however, and the sleeves always get me down.

Wow, 5 1/2 stitches to the inch on a size 6. Not bad, not bad at all. I knit Dad's vest on a size 3 needle and it was fine!

(Dad's vest didn't have sleeves!)

But, there's no colorwork or even any cables so it will go much faster than Dad's vest.

Oh! I could use Princess! There's a lovely blue over there. It would take 12 skeins to make; I'll just check the inventory and see how many I have. Well, whaddya know. I have exactly 12 skeins. Sounds like fate, bashert, kismet, karma, destiny.

(Not so fast, Sister. What happened to your 10 shawls in 2010? You're on the last lace repeat of Haruni. What about Kingscot? Last week when Traci came in wearing hers, you wanted it so bad, you were ready to cast on. You even checked your gauge, for God's sake.)

There you go. I'll check my gauge and see what's what. Size 6 needle, 5 1/2 stitches to the inch - perfect. A sweater for the Prince. Here's my progress:

I've gotten pretty far on the back; I've been knitting it right in front of him and he doesn't even have a clue!

It's done, it's in progress, that's it. Phew, that's a load off my poor brain.

Friday, February 19, 2010

If I were a jealous knitter...

I'd be very green right now.

As you may know, we knit the Great American Aran Afghan as a class of one square per month. We finished it almost a year ago and most everyone put them together and have been enjoying them ever since. Joan, Patrice, Barbara, and Joanne can snuggle under theirs as they knit and I just heard from my friend Mary who moved away that she too, finished hers.

Mine's knit, naturally, since I taught the class and had every square done before each class. Each carefully blocked square is sitting in the back room of my Shop patiently waiting to be put together.

I hadn't been feeling too bad about it sitting there because I knew at least one knitter, had the finishing looming over her head as well. Who was that knitter? Why, it was Tracy of course.

To refresh your memory, dear Tracy made the same fair isle vest for her Dad for Christmas that I made mine. She shamed me regularly on her progress for said vest because she was always, always many inches ahead of me. She got me to rally, however, and I too had a lovely gift for Dad for Christmas. (For the record, I'm not competitive either, but the thought of her being so far ahead of me kept me up at night.)

As we feverishly knit our vests on Fair Isle Friday, we often discussed finishing our afghans. I even suggested that we do it together some afternoon so we could once again share the angst of finishing something fussy, sewing all those squares together and adding our borders.

Speaking of borders, I chose to do the Eyelet border which could be picked up and knit. Tracy chose to do the cable border as shown in the book which required miles of cables that had to be sewn on after the squares were put together. (Barbara and Mary beautifully did this border as well without any angst or complaints at all.) I had already decided to take the easy way out and put on the Eyelet border.

So I merrily knit other things because Tracy and I hadn't set a date and I didn't give my unfinished afghan another thought. It took quite a long time, but I had gotten over the fact that all those other wonderfully over achieving knitters were enjoying their finished afghans because there was something about Tracy not being done that comforted me.

So guess what happens? Tracy strolled into Open Knitting yesterday afternoon with her totally finished, totally lovely afghan all damn done.

I wish you could see all of the finished afghans in person because pictures just don't do them justice.

In keeping with the envy deadly sin theme, Kris and Linda came to the Shop recently with their newly knitted, adorable giraffes, Geoffrey and Eugene. You can read all about their adventures here and here. Too cute, aren't they?

Well, once again try to imagine how I felt when they shared this picture with me.

There's two precious knitted giraffes sitting on Mr. Ben's lap - Mr. Ben, the biggest, homeliest, sassiest, bad ass monkey to ever be created. Those two baby giraffes will probably never be the same after their exposure to that wandering, irresponsible troublemaker.

Do you see that little stripey monkey in the picture? The little guy snuggling up to the baby giraffe's arm? Well, he showed up by parcel post a week or so ago. And you know who he is? He's Mr. Ben's illegitimate son. Apparently, while Mr. Ben was in Texas over the holidays, he took off and went to Tijuana where he whooped it up with the locals. And unlike in Vegas, what happens in Tijuana does not stay in Tijuana.

Geez, Mr. Ben, if I find out that you've corrupted those giraffes in any way...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's on your needles, part deux

Kristen is making Veronik Avery's Gentleman's Scarf from Knitted Gifts using Fresco and it's really coming out lovely. She's making it for her Dad for Christmas - yes, she's got a plan for 2010 and it's well underway.

Also from Knitted Gifts is the Transitions Hat and Scarf that Joyce is making:

Many of us are still plugging away on the Great North American Afghan - we've got 6 squares done already! It's been a really fun project and if you're in the Shop ask to see them. We're working with 5 different colors and using Fair Isle, Intarsia and slip stitch color techniques. Six down, 18 to go!

Kamaca is making Ysolda's Liesl using Noro's Furisode yarn and it's really beautiful. I'm just sorry I don't have a picture of it. Speaking of Liesl, Kristen's is hanging in the Shop; stop by and see it before she takes it home.

Joan just finished Veronik Avery's Zipped Vest from Knitting Classic Style. She used Cascade 220 handpaint. We took it to Stanley's Tailoring here in Oak Lawn to have the zipper put in. They did a great job so keep them in mind if you need a zipper put in one of your knitted projects.

Chris, Joann, and Pam are knitting EZ's Surprise Jacket and their yarns and colorways are so different they don't even look like the same garment.

So, there's a sampling of what some around here are knitting!

As for me, I'm very lace obsessed right now and while I'm still knitting a sweater and afghan squares, I'm also knitting lace. I just finished this from Knitted Lace of Estonia:

It's the Scarf in Leaf Pattern. The yarn is Alpaca Lace.

I've now started this from Ravelry - the Haruni by Emily Ross.

Wow, right? I've also joined a group on Ravelry called 10 shawls in 2010 with the obvious goal of knitting 10 shawls this year. I must be out of my mind...

Shawl number 3 will be the gorgeous triangular Conifer shawl by Kate Gagnon Osborn from the latest issue of KnitScene. It's done in a worsted weight yarn and I'm planning on using one of my all time favorites - Venezia by Cascade.

Number 4 will be another Nancy Bush from Knitted Lace of Estonia. I'm crazy about the lily of the valley pattern.

So very busy...

Thursday, February 04, 2010

What's on your needles?

As always, we're very busy here. Here's what we're working on...

Tracy (of fair isle vest for Dad fame) is making Jared Flood's Cobblestone for her husband. She's making it out of Donegal Tweed.

Tracy just finished this lovely dress for her daughter from Classic Elite's Sunday Brunch book using Moorland.

Tracy is also working on Kingscot from Twist Collective in a lovely red Princess. It was so soft, I can't wait to use it.

Speaking of Kingscot, another wonderful knitter named Traci, walked in this morning wearing it! Hers was a beautiful blue. It looked fabulous on her too.

Paula just started this great Knit Simple Winter/Spring 2010 cardigan using Princess. We really love Princess around here!

Both Georgann and Joann are making this Fair Isle jacket from Cheryl Oberle's Knitted Jackets book using Cascade's fabulous 128:

Isn't it pretty?

Tammi, good, good daughter that she is, is making her Mom this beautiful shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawl book. It's the Kilkenny Cable Shawl and she's using Venezia, one of my all time favorite yarns.

Tammi's also making this beautiful cashmere scarf. It's a Classic Elite Marly kit here at the Shop.
I just finished this scarf too and wow, is cashmere nice to knit with!

Cory is making so many things, I can't really keep track! Now that her mojo is back, she's insane. I do know that she's making this beautiful blanket for my Dad using Silk Garden. It's the 10 Stitch Twist blanket from Ravelry. He's going to love it.

Watch next week for more projects my prolific knitting friends are working on!