Friday, March 31, 2006

Jacked Up

That's what happened to our house this week...literally. We live in a 1906 four-square that over the years has been modified. One of the modifications, probably done in the early 20th century, was to add a bump out to the dining room (which was probably the original kitchen) and upstairs bedroom. That little addition has slowly sunk about two inches, which caused some cracked plaster, slopey floors, and the windows to not close. We've debated for years whether or not to fix it; we suspected that it was still sinking.

This week, we went for it. The crew came on Monday and started digging. More digging ensued on Tuesday and they installed helical piers. Wednesday, they jacked. Let me tell you that hearing a house (or part of it) get raised is heart-wrenching. It makes the most hideous hissings, poppings, and crackings. The jacking only took about 90 minutes, but those were some of the most stressful 90 minutes of my life. There were a couple of times where I definitely felt like I needed a little lie-down. Either that or a good, stiff drink (at 8:00 in the morning).

Fortunately, nothing bad happened. In addition to raising the house, the workers also fixed the drainage on that side of the house and repaired the addition foundation where it had separated from the main foundation (it had never been tied in). So now we have a level floor, windows that close, an addition that will never sink again. And lots of cracked plaster to repair.

Knitting News
I finished knitting the blanket a week ago so it wasn't delivered to the wee babe, although I did show it to his proud parents. It's been washed and blocked and all that's left to do is the embroidery. I hope to finish that this weekend and mail it next week.

I started the Lace-edged Cardigan from Great Knits for Kids by Debbie Bliss. The sweater designs are gorgeous and this particular design, at least, will be challenging. It has five cable patterns, along with double moss stitch as filler. It's a bit frustrating that the she doesn't state up front just what double moss stitch is. I did a Google search on it and discovered that it is a four-row repeat of k2,p2; p2,k2; p2,k2; k2,p2. I happily swatched on the drive down to Rescue and got gauge, mostly. After starting the sleeve, I realized that her definition of double moss stitch is comprised of a single knit and purl stitch. So, I need to swatch again. But in the meantime, I'm merrily knitting the sleeve (attempt number three), realizing full well that I swatched the wrong stitch pattern and might need to start over again.

Can you tell that I'm in denial? Can you tell that I'm ignoring the fact that perhaps after three or repeats of five cable patterns that I might not feel so enamored of this sweater?

I keep telling myself: I love the process, I love the process, I love the process.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Where Does the Time Go?

Okay, so I posted right after the Knitting Olympics. And I look up and it's already March 20th. How did that happen? Maybe I've been immersed in my job. Maybe I've been heads down trying to get the baby blanket done before next weekend. Maybe I've just been lazy. It's probably a combination of all three.

I usually get home from work between 7:00 and 8:00 in the evening and after having worked on a computer all day, I don't quite feel like logging on at home. That means I'm woefully behind with reading my favorite blogs. But I have been managing to knit about an hour or so before I go to bed, which is wonderfully relaxing.

The baby blanket is almost finished. I've got about 40 rows of seed and stockinette stitch to go, then it's on to weaving in the ends and blocking. I'll post a picture of the blanket after I've finished it.

I've come to realize that I'm a process knitter, not a product knitter. There times, however, when the process drives me batty. I get bored easily, so doing row after long row of stockinette stitch has a tendency to be painful, at least initially. I feel like I'm fighting the knitting. What I found, though, is that at some point something else kicks in and I become fascinated with the way the yarn moves through my hands or the way the light catches and changes the colors. When that happens, the "conflict" goes away and the knitting just flows. My hands are more relaxed; my self is more relaxed. And I hate to see the project end.

Maybe it's because I'm a process knitter that I can't be faithful to only one project. It's taking every ounce of my self-control to not cast on yet another pair of socks (I've got two pairs going now) or the Debbie Bliss sweaters that I want to knit for my little nieces. A little voice in my head says "Just do a gauge swatch. You've got to do one anyway. It won't hurt." Ha! I know me. Once I feel the new yarn and start working on a new pattern, it's all over. The current project(s) will languish indefinitely (see the sidebar of WIPs...they've all been deserted for new projects). The feeling of waiting to start a new project is not unlike having a crush on someone unattainable. The anticipation is bittersweet because I know I can't knit it now. And when the "relationship" does start, there's a good chance it will be fraught with frustration and disappointment.

But then that's part of the process too, isn't it?