Monday, January 13, 2014

Wee Things

I have a hunch that if my knitting projects didn't have deadlines, nothing would ever be finished.  My worst nightmare is being surrounded only by "almost finished" projects with nothing 100% complete.  This past weekend was a good reminder of that.

A new baby is going to be born into our circle of friends, and it's all very exciting.  My daughter Luz is the baby's godmother, and she has been immersed in looking at all things little.  I was delighted with another excuse to knit something tiny.  The baby is due next month, and the planning and preparation kicked into high gear with a shower over the weekend. 

This baby had to have a handknit sweater.  Luz and I looked at pages and pages of patterns. There were many emails with pattern links followed by text messages discussing colors and shades.  We knew the shower was coming, but somehow the holidays came and went, and we still hadn't made any decisions.

Finally I took charge of the situation and scheduled a little sit-down. We ironed out the details, and then I got to work.  I dyed the yarn and waited patiently for it to dry.  As soon as it was ready to go, I cast on.

We had settled on a straightforward pattern in worsted weight yarn.  I was feeling relieved because surely the hard part was over.  But as I was closing in on the finish line, I had a bit of a panic.

This was all the yarn I had left for 10 rows and the bind off of 103 stitches.  I had dyed more yarn than the pattern called for, but I felt certain I was going to run short.  It was almost midnight, and my first thought was to drop everything and dye more yarn.  I decided to sleep on it and assess the situation in the morning.  

The next day I felt calm.  I looked at the situation with fresh eyes and decided to run some numbers before mixing more dye.  Sometimes the amount of yarn you have left can be deceptive.  Weighing the yarn wasn't going to be accurate enough.  Yardage can vary slightly with weight, and I had a feeling this was going to come down to inches.

Instead, I measured the yarn.  For starters I measured off 60 inches to see how far I could knit.  I didn't get a complete row out of 60 inches but did discover I needed a good 70 inches for a row.  I bumped it up to 75 inches to give me a cushion.  I calculated the amount needed for the remaining rows and the bind off.

Then I measured the last of the yarn.  According to my numbers, there was enough.  I forged ahead.

I was right.  Just enough yarn.

It's a good thing I didn't have to dye more yarn.  The sweater was finished without much time to spare.

in threes:  a baby cardigan.  This was a fun little project, and it gave me a chance to sample a new worsted weight base.  My only advice is make sure you have more yarn than the pattern calls for.  Just in case.

Somewhere during this whole process, I thought of a new baby in winter and cold feet.  As if I weren't cutting it close on time already, I decided to make booties to go with the sweater.  The pattern I settled on called for fingering weight yarn, so I dyed yarn to match the sweater yarn.

Cutest Booties.  And they are.  I finished these moments before we had to leave for the shower.  If I'd had an extra hour, I would have made the pom-poms, but I didn't.  Either way they're adorable, and the baby's feet will be warm.

The weekend filled with baby chatter is bittersweet as today dawned with the news that a dear friend has lost his spouse.  Once again we've come full circle, and I'm reflecting on the highs and lows of life.

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