Friday, January 02, 2009

Letting the Cat Out of the Bag

First of all, thank you to everyone for your condolences and safe travel thoughts. All in all, it was a good trip. I got to cuddle with the recipient of the Circular Chevron Blanket, and if he isn't the cutest thing ever, I don't know what is. I got to spend time with my girls and found out that one of them is pregnant! Yay for more baby blankets!! (And whatever else I can come up with to spoil the kid rotten. I have until July, I think I'm good.) Most importantly, though, I got to spend time with my family. It's always hard to leave them (particularly Dad. Mom, pointing out that I am the fourth generation of women who have moved far away from their hometowns on her side of the family, gets it. She misses me, and worries about me, but she gets it. Dad just wants to take care of me and it drives him nuts when he can't), but I am now safely back in California (with my luggage, surprisingly enough!), and although making connections was touch-and-go for a while due to my first flight getting delayed yet again, I was able to make all of them. My carry-on even got to travel first class from Chicago to LA!

I do have to say, though, that I have been highly underimpressed with American Airlines. First of all, they charge $40 for checked luggage EACH WAY. Another $80 to take two small suitcases on top of what I've already paid for the ticket?! Secondly, they no longer offer meals of any kind on four hour flights, and the snacks they offer for sale are overpriced and wimpy. ($3 for one chocolate chip cookie? Really?) They also no longer show movies or radio or anything, which I can't say really breaks my heart, because I rarely watch movies on planes anyway, but still. Third, and most important, only TWO of their people I dealt with the entire time I was traveling, total, both ways, treated me like I wasn't interrupting something Really Important at the very least. And only ONE of those was dealt with face-to-face (the other lady who was really sweet was the one who patiently figured out and rescheduled my nightmare itinerary to get me to Illinios...over the PHONE). I'm sorry, I get that the holidays and winter weather makes for crazy delays and lots of irritated passengers who probably try your patience to its fullest and strain every nerve you have. I get that. I really really try to be polite, understanding, and as flexible as possible as a passenger because I know things are crazy for you guys. But you know what? It's still YOUR JOB to be the person that passengers go to for information and concerns. Do it. And if it's been that kind of day where you can't do it personably (we all have those days, again, I get it), at least do it professionally. Argh.

Anyway, enough ranting and on to the good stuff. With a little help from the Illinois Branch of Supervisory Cats (aka Scud, my parents' oldest cat)
I can now show off the results of the Christmas Present Knitting Extravaganza! Ooo! No peeking! (Okay, you can peek. In fact, if you have a Ravelry account, you can get even more details and views of each of these projects. Flickr account holders just the extra views.)

First up, we have a finished Christmas Present #1:
Now known as Dad's Cobblestone Sweater. This is the Cobblestone Sweater from Interweave Knits Fall 2007 issue, designed by Jared Flood. I did the Large diameters with the XL length. It's actually a bit baggy on him, and if I did it again, I think I might go down a size either on the needles or on the torso. The length turned out extremely well, though, and he loves it. He's decided that it should serve him very well on their annual fishing trip to Canada. It was an extremely easy knit (although you do have to purl in the round a lot on the yoke to get that garter stitch going) and went quickly. Took me about a month to make, but I literally only worked on it while riding on the bus to Solvang and occasionally during shows. Yarn is Lion Brand Wool-Ease in 152 Oxford Gray, knit up on my US 9 KnitPicks Options.

Next up, CP #2:
AKA Kelly's Hacky Sack Hoodie. Pattern from Son of Stitch-n-Bitch, designed by Stef Pulford. Extremely super easy knit-in-the-round, top-down raglan. Love This Pattern. The only thing I would complain about is that it doesn't tell you to make sure you leave a long enough cast-on tail to seam the top of the hood with, but that was fixable. I made the XL size and added about 2" length to everything. He claims it's a bit too long in the torso, but Mom and I agree it actually fits him pretty well. The sleeves came out slightly different lengths, for some reason (must have lost count somewhere), but since he pushes them up anyway and wouldn't take the thing off long enough for me to look at it, that is apparently okay. Knit in just over a month (tech and learning that I needed to go job-hunting got in the way) out of Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Cocoa on US 10 KnitPicks Options.

Finally, we have CP #3. Now, this one actually got changed halfway through, if you recall. It was originally supposed to be a replica of this Aran sweater that my mom already has but can no longer wear. Either my great-grandmother or one of my great-great-aunts originally made it and any pattern, if there even was one, is long gone. I was pretty successful in re-creating it, but the knitting of it made me want to tear my hair out. It wasn't particularly difficult, but it did take more concentration than I was able to comfortably devote to it in order to get it done on time, and frankly, I prefer mindless knitting. So, instead, we have CP #3v2.0:

Mom's Rogue. Yes, my second Rogue (designer Jenna Wilson) , and this one actually turned out better than the first, I think. (Which makes sense, no?). I did the ribbed hem and cuffs instead of the turned ones, which I like better, although if I did it yet again (and I might), I'd change that to a twisted rib. I also added the kangaroo pocket to this one, and I really like it. I made the 44" size, with no modifications. (I think. I remember toying with the idea of adding an extra cable repeat to the sides to lengthen it a little, but I don't remember if I actually did that, and I don't have it noted anywhere that I did *shrugs*) It looks like it fits her pretty well, and she loves it, so I guess whatever I did worked. The yarn is, again, Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Fisherman, and this was knit on US 9 Options.

Three sweaters in just over three months. I have Kelly's slippers about 3/4 done (no, I didn't finish them while in Illinois), and then I think I might take a break from knitting for a while. There aren't any projects that are really grabbing me right now, although I'm sorting through ideas for baby blankets (this kid is probably gonna have too many, because I have so many ideas!) and I'm kind of in the mood for some socks, not that I need more. I really want to work on some cross-stitches and get those finished up. I got an awesome lettering sampler done by my friend Lorraine up in Alaska (they're a little weird up there, the cold freezes their brains, I think), and as soon as my camera battery charges, I'll post a pic of it, as mere description won't do it justice.

The TeddieCat is Mad At Me, although he's getting over it. He kept waking me up last night, though - no matter where I turned in the bed, he'd be there, batting my face with his paw or tail or tickling me with his whiskers. Today, he keeps jumping into my lap, which is fine, and then starts kneading my stomach, which tickles and is not fine and gets him kicked off. He's curled up in protest inside my duffel bag at the moment.

Gotta get out and run some errands today. Chrissy is going to come over to store some stuff in the garage for a while, and then I have class and pizza tonight, yay!!! It's good to be home!

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