Saturday, October 29, 2016

Almost Christmas? Not quite...

I'd like to say that I haven't always been this crazy, but then I would be lying. In that vein, let me tell you about some of my earlier crazy-times, marked by the OCD Pretty personality that you have (no doubt) come to know and love:

When I was a younger Pretty, I would set deadlines for myself. You know, like getting to an appointment at least 5 minutes early, or having pictures for Christmas cards done by the first of October, or starting to buy non perishables for Thanksgiving no later than November 1st...that kind of thing. These deadlines gave me plenty of room for getting behind without actually getting behind (the OCD, she is strong in this Pretty) and they also gave my friends plenty of fun-making opportunities.

"You know, I saw Pretty at Wal-Mart the other day, and she is buying her kids' clothes for NEXT summer, right now! It's a little crazy!"

"I's August! She says she does it every season. Something about clearance prices and wanting to be prepared...but how can she know what size they will be in a year?"

"I don't know. And where does she keep everything in the meantime? I've seen her house, and it's not that big."
"Yes, but the kids are small. Their clothes don't take much room..."

"I suppose... You know what else she was buying? Christmas presents!"

"What?!? Now THAT is crazy!"

Well, maybe it was crazy, but it's what I did when they were small. I bought their clothes at the end of the seasons, and my Christmas goals included having all the "big" Christmas items purchased before Halloween each year! From roughly 1990 until both kids were in school, neither of these things was that big a deal. The kids grew at a fairly predictable rate as preschoolers, and before the influences of friends and television caused them to change their preferences willy-nilly every week, it was easy to buy the gifts early. 

We had a rule in our family: No one may buy anything for themselves after the first of October. You could buy presents for other people, but not for yourself, and it worked pretty well. By the end of October, I'd have the toys and gifts safely stashed in the attic, and we would build the hype by watching MORE Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Elmo, or whatever matched the toys in hiding! Sometimes, I would even take them to the toy department, and show them the exact same toys I had already bought, letting them dream of a time that they might be so lucky to have such a great thing! 

"Do you think Santa might bring me that???"

"Well, let's write him a letter right now, and see what happens."

By the time Christmas morning rolled around, both kids were usually delighted to receive the toys they had been anxiously awaiting for months! (And their mother felt like a genius! lo1!)

As Halloween looms, just two days away, I am reminded of my sentimental deadline. I am also reminded that I do NOT have any of my Christmas shopping, knitting or planning even started, and I am starting to feel a bit less like a genius with every step closer to the holidays. I have set some deadlines, and I'd like to say that they are more realistic. In reality, I am just not quite as OCD as I once was. This means that I sometimes miss those deadlines, but usually I do ok.

Right now, two days before Halloween, I'm not sure what I will get for my Dollface this year, or for Mork and Mindy and the girls, or even for Sweetie! I'm sure that I will figure it out by the time December 25th rolls around. I usually do! In the meantime, I'm going to go see if I can find the Halloween candy. Even if I have a couple pieces, there should be plenty left for the kiddies, right? 

Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health! 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The More Things Change...

As I think back to when our own kids were small like this,

I remember that my Sweetie has always been a kid magnet. Even as Dad, our kids (and many of their friends) climbed all over him, just like this.

In fact, as they grew, the neighbor kids would often come to the door in the evenings to ask me, "Can your dad come out to play?" If he was home, his answer was usually yes, and each time I see him with these girls,

I am transported back to another place and time...but the here and now isn't too bad either. I mean, it is pretty cool to be Gramma to his Pop Pop, and I really cannot imagine doing this phase of my life any differently. I mean, look at these happy faces.

They are smiling at not just Pop Pop (although he does edge me out as their clear favorite for the outdoor activities)...they are smiling at US! Gramma and Pop Pop are a team, even though Gramma is the one taking the pictures (which means she's not usually in the pictures)!

I guess it just goes to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same. He is the rough and tumble one, I am the sit and read. He is the champion hide-and-seeker, I am the let's-make-something type. Thankfully, in this stage of our lives. we are both pretty snuggle-y!

This is a belated post, with photos from a couple weekends past, but the message doesn't change. Since we've been home again, he has been taking care of things around the house to be ready for winter, and I've been starting on the preparation for Christmas knitting and yummy-treat-making. It really is true, over and over again...the more things change, the more they do stay the same.

Whatever your plans are today, I hope that you are celebrating old traditions and creating new memories. Thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Little Distracted

I've tried to write this post three times, but I am too distracted. There is a piñata in my living room, and all I can think about is Trunk or Treat at our church tonight! So, here'a picture of the piñata, and a promise for a better blog next week, (I hope)!

Thanks for stopping by! If you live in my area, and you've got a family, I hope you'll come and see the Fiesta at Hope Christian Church tonight (between 6-7:30pm, see link above). If not, I'll see you next time. :) Until then, Knit in Good Health!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

So. Many. Mistakes.

I have finished the Hitofude, and it is beautiful. 

I have not modeled it for a photo yet, but I'll get to that a little later. First, let me tell you about the mistakes. So. Many. Mistakes. Starting with the cast on, which I casted on three times...which is a LOT for any project, but especially for a project where you have to cast on almost 300 stitches!

For my first cast on, I didn't do enough stitches. For my second cast on, I did enough stitches, but I messed up row 1, where I had to place almost 30 stitch markers to help me keep track of the lace. But, as they say, the third time's a charm! And it was. 

After that, I found that some of my stitch markers were catching my yarn, or "jumping over" the stitches at the edges of the repeats. There was some un-knitting, stitch by stitch (tinking) and there was a bit of mental cursing, until I finally just replaced the offending markers (of the jump-ring variety) with better markers and put in a lifeline.* I have never actually heard of anyone ripping back to a lifeline, but the only time I seem to screw up my lace knitting is when I don't have one. Couple this with the fact that skinny, cotton, crochet thread (which is perfect for lifelines and ridiculously cheap) is something I always have on hand, a lifeline is pretty affordable knitting insurance! The lifeline is that white string...see it?

It is in this pic, too. (Every few repeats, I moved it right up the knitting. If I ever had to use it, I reasoned, I wanted to rip back as few rows as possible...)

After a couple months of knitting, a few tears and much admiration of the project, I realized my biggest mistake yet. On the back of the thing, after the waist, I should have knitted Charts A, B, C, D and E. Now, I had read that the Hitofude was running short on some ladies, especially in the larger sizes, so I had followed the lead of some other knitters and incorporated a few extra pattern repeats among those charts...two here, one there, etc. What I didn't realize I had done, until I was working the final ribbing, was that I had completely skipped chart A along the way, and only knitted charts B-E. Egad! Would it be too short? Would the omission of chart A be noticeable? Did I really want to rip back and start that section over? Could I just add more repeats at the bottom?

What to do, what to do, what to do...

It may have been laziness, or it may have just been eagerness to be finished (I'll never tell!) but I just kept knitting that final ribbing, bound off as instructed and hoped for the best. After the requisite soak and block, which I finished on Thursday, I was delighted to find that it was all ok. 

I made mistake after mistake, all along the way, but the sweater was just fine! The fabric laid beautifully after the block, with great drape and a lovely showing of the yarn colors. 

It was long enough in the back, and the arms fit well, and I kinda loved it immediately. I might actually call this one stunning after the final finishing touches of weaving in those last two ends!

I wish I had a photo of the sweater on me to show you, but I do not. You see, the last mistake I made on this sweater had nothing to do with knitting. I made a scheduling mistake and did not make it to knit night this week, which is where that photo op had the best chance. But, there will be other knit nights, and there will be sweater wearings. I promise that sweater will show up on me, and in a picture somewhere on the internet, eventually. Until then, may I tell you what else this sweater has taught me? It actually ends up as quite the life lesson this week. 

You see, as many mistakes as I have made while knitting this sweater, it still turned out quite lovely. My life is like that, too. I make mistake after relationships, with my schedule and budget, in my car...but I am turning out pretty well anyway. I am not perfect, although I try not to make mistakes. I try really hard most of the time. But none of us is perfect, and perfection is not to be obtained in this lifetime. However, with each mistake I have made, I have also learned something. Some of the lessons are small (wear your seat belt...use your signals) and some are big (really, check all your blind spots...twice...before you merge!), but each one is valuable, and has made me a better driver...err, person.

There are some mistakes I can go back and fix, and some that cannot be fixed. There were many mistakes in that sweater that I could have fixed, but I chose not to, and that is true of life as well. But, if I don't fix the mistakes I can, as soon as I can, they just compound to make me more miserable. I do not enjoy being miserable, so fixing those mistakes, when I can, is usually a good idea. But, even if I cannot or choose not to fix a mistake, I always have a lifeline! The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, and His mercies never come to an end. He continues to craft me into His masterpiece, and (for the most part) I think I am coming along nicely. There is work for me to do, and I am on God's payroll as he provides for my every need according to his riches in Christ. (Quoted and/or paraphrased from Lamentations 3:22-23, Ephesians 2:10, and Philippians 4:19.) He's simply not finished with me yet.

You know what else? He's not finished with you yet, either. If you've been in this game of life for more than a few minutes, you may have heard something about that somewhere. It is never too late to ask for His forgiveness, His guidance and His Saving Grace. It is never too late to incorporate even your mistakes (which God can forgive, whether you think you can fix them or not) into the person you were created to be. 

Fix your knitting or not, your choice. Either way, thanks for stopping by, and Knit in Good Health. 

*In case you don't knit, a lifeline is a plain yarn or thread strung through a finished row of stitches while the work is in progress. If you make a really horrendous mistake that cannot be fixed, you can simply take the needles out and rip back your rows of knitting until you get to the lifeline, replace your needles into the stitches of that row, and you get a "do over" of that section. It is a pretty good idea to use lifelines in large projects, unless you enjoy starting over from the beginning!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

This. This is why I knit.

Remember these sweaters?

Check this out:

This. This right here. This is why I knit. 
Thank you for loving my knits (and me) as much as I love you and your little ones!

I knit to occupy my hands, especially when I am fretful, which I am a lot these days. 

I knit to occupy my mind, to distract myself from worry and monotony and apathy on the hard days. 

I knit to celebrate joyous occasions, like weddings, new babies and happy children.

I knit to care for the little ones in my life...sweaters to warm them to the core, toys to stimulate creative play and stuffies to comfort.

I knit because I like to create, and because stitches are often easier than words. 

I knit for you, because I care for you.

I knit so I don't kill people. It sounds crazy, but all of my regular readers know that crazy is part of who I am. People are people, wherever you go, and knitting keeps me out of jail. 

What do you do with your crazy? 
If your answer is knitting, I hope that you will Knit in Good Health this week!