Although I’m not officially participating in the Knitting Olympics, I did some Olympic class finishing today. I plopped down in front of the TV with all the elements of the Baby Dale and the lady’s figure skating I recorded last night. I don’t mind knowing who won, I just like watching the performances. So, here’s my own version of the the long program: *Take a stitch, watch skater, take a stitch, watch skater, take a stitch, oops, back up the Tivo and take another look at that jump/spin/fall, repeat from * as many times as necessary. And here’s the result:

Finisheddale

The observant among you will notice that I did indeed knit a wider front band (9 stitches instead of 5). I really do appreciate all the kind comments about the other band, but you have to understand something about us native Missourians. We are stubborn. Once we get an idea into our heads, we will NOT let it go! Ask my parents and husband. The more I looked at the skinny band, the less I liked it. All turned out well, I stitched and wacked the lower edge and the facing covers all my sins. All in all I love the sweater, but am not sure I would do it again. It was a lot of work for a sweater that will fit Izzy for about 5 minutes. I love the Dale Baby Ull (it’s probably my favorite yarn), but because it is superwash, the floats don’t “stick” and I do worry about them getting caught. But I love the sweater.

All in all a good day – I finished a difficult project and I got this in the mail:

Stash

My Knit Picks order! From left to right: Dye your own laceweight (no project yet). Three skeins of Shadow in Vineyard scheduled for Peacock Feathers. Various colors of Wool of the Andes for CIC socks. And last, but by no means least, three luscious skeins of Andean Treasure (100% alpaca) for a scarf. I find myself not itching to cast anything on yet, which is unusual for me. I think I have so much on my plate to get ready for the trip to Orlando, I’m just trying to get it all done and am looking forward to relaxing on the plane and casting on for socks – probably my Trekking. For now, I only have three projects on the needles – St. Brigid, Kongsberg and Leda’s dream (lace scarf). I’m still conflicted on Leda’s dream. I love the pattern, but just can’t get enthused about working on it – usually I can’t put lace down! But for now, I’m going to enjoy having fewer projects going.

I have this theory about Dale patterns. I believe that in the original Norwegian these patterns are such technical works of art that they make knitters weep for joy. I also believe that somewhere there is a sadistic translator cackling in glee over the fact that stupid Americans can’t knit these properly because he/she has made deliberate errors in translation. Just a theory, mind you.

But for proof I offer the Baby Dale. This is partially my fault because if I had been thinking at the beginning I would have seen this coming. After the ribbing, the pattern has you put 5 stitches (plus one edge stitch) on holders on each side for the front bands:

Band

Later you go back and knit up the front bands separately and sew them on. As I said, I should have seen it coming – 5 stitches??? With #1 needles on fingering weight yarn, in ribbing, that hardly amounts to more than glorified I-cord. See?

Band2

This is too narrow to even qualify as a front band. Certainly too narrow for buttons or buttonholes. I took it to my LYS for advice and the general consensus was to knit a completely separate, wider band. But what do I do with the six live stitches at the lower edge?

It was suggested that I just fold those to the inside as a facing. But I have a better idea – I have a sewing machine and scissors, and I’m not afraid to use them. I think I’ll just consider that a mini-steek, sew and whack it off. So there, too! I AM the master of my knitting!

And, D is for – what else? Dogs!

Dogs

It’s not usual to get Kirby and Hester in the same picture. Not that they don’t cuddle – they do. They just don’t like to be caught doing it. This picture took some coaxing. I can’t imagine not having dogs. We’ve had them almost since the day we were married and will continue as long as we can. They bring such joy, such love and such hassle into our lives! It would be so boring without them. Kirby (the Lhasa Apso) is the one with character – he is the dominant dog, despite the fact that Hester is twice his weight. He’s gutsy, opinionated and a little paranoid. But he is the quintessential lap dog. He would be happy to sit quietly on my lap all day long. Hester (the Corgi) is not the brightest bulb in the lamp, but she is sweet and gentle and loves to ride in the car. She would sit quietly and ride with you all over, but her favorite is the bank, where they give her biscuits. In fact, I went through the drive-through today without her and the lady still gave me a biscuit to take home to her. She makes friends wherever she goes and especially likes to visit the assisted care facility where my mother-in-law lives. She will sit and listen to the Alzheimer’s patients as if they are the most fascinating people in the world. Hester is definitely the sweetest dog we’ve ever had.

Listen my children while I tell you the story of a fickle, fickle knitter. Not so long ago, this knitter was heard to mumble on her blog that she hated making socks and wasn’t going to make them anymore. Yet just a few short months later, this knitter was so enamored of knitting socks that all of her other projects lay neglected. She bought sock yarn, she bought sock books, she downloaded a least a gazillion free patterns from the internet (thanks Sockbug – whose link seems to be broken!). She even learned a new technique, two socks at once using a Turkish cast on:

Wildfoote_1

Despite her pleasure at this new technique and the wonderful colors of the Wildfoote, it didn’t take her long to realize that she wasn’t going to finish these socks. Why not, you may ask? Because the yarn seemed rough and harsh to her fingers and she knew that the socks would be rough and harsh on her dainty little feet. So she frogged. Then the knitter found some lovely Lorna’s Laces at her LYS:

Lornas

So she cast on for a new pair of socks. Despite her pleasure at the softness of the yarn and the delightful colors, it didn’t take her long to discover that these socks weren’t going to fit. The Lorna’s Laces is finer than the sock yarn previously used by the knitter and knitted up to 9 stitches per inch rather than 8. With a 56 stitch sock, there was a real and present danger that these socks would cut off her circulation. So she frogged. In the meantime, another foray to the LYS led to this:

Stives

A new sock yarn the knitter had never seen before – St. Ives. Oh, the colors, oh the humanity of it all. Soft grey heathered oh so subtlely with purple and blue. The knitter completely forgot about the Lorna’s Laces waiting at home and couldn’t wait to cast on with the new yarn. But wait, there’s more:

Trekking

What’s this? A package arrived in the mail. The long awaited Trekking. The knitter wants you to know that the photo doesn’t even begin to do it justice. The soft, pastel colors are not in the least garish. And the texture is guaranteed to caress the knitter’s delicate little toes like cashmere.

So, what’s the knitter to do? Three skeins of sock yarn are calling their siren song – all at the same time. To say nothing of the eight skeins of 50% off wool that the knitter picked up for CIC fingerless mittens. And what of the Baby Dale that is mere hours from the finish line? All I know is that this knitter is definitely the Bode Miller of the Knitting Olympics – all flash, no focus and too busy partying with all these luscious yarns to settle down and get to business. But one thing this knitter does know. One picture of a cute baby in a sweater Nana made for her and all is forgiven:

Newsweater

While watching the Olympics I’m engaging in some knitting of Olympic proportions. Uh, not! I’m working on little tiny things – namely the Baby Dale. I’m actually approaching the finish line! We’ll see if I can break the spell of being prone to cast on for Dales, but not actually finish them. Here is the sweater with the steeks sewn and ready to be cut:

Dale1

This pattern, unlike most Dales (I think – I’ve not done a lot) has you cast off at the underarm and then cast on steek stitches. I’m not sure I see the advantage. I think next time I would just continue on and stitch and cut the sleeve opening without a steek. And here it is cut and ready for seaming, sleeves, front border and neckline:

Dale2

Thanks to Chery for her neckline suggestions. Instead of going into back-and-forth mode once you get to the neckline decreases, Chery suggests continuing to knit in the round, but purl the neckline decreases and continue on your merry way. When you’re done, you stitch along the purl bumps and just cut out your neckline. It’s true that you end up cutting away some knitting, but we’re not talking a size 56 here! There’s minimal waste and considering the hassle factor, I’d do it on a size 56 too.

Apparently a lot of knitters are really afraid of cutting their knitting. That’s never bothered me. After all, it’s only knitting. No one will die, or even be seriously injured. Unless you run with your scissors, of course. I started on the front border last night and am about 2/3 done – it’s going very fast. I need to force myself to finish a paper for school and my reward will be to pick this up and plunk myself down in front of the TV with the Olympics. Thank goodness for Tivo – I keep having to backtrack on TV to see what I missed while I was looking down at my knitting. It’s almost as bad as watching movies with subtitles.

Can you bear it? Missouri Star is posting two days in a row! It just doesn’t get any better than this, does it? Of course, since I’m not participating in the Knitting Olympics, I’ve got all this time on my hands. And I couldn’t wait to show you Snowdrop, who did not disappoint. Before:

Snow1

And after (notice requisite upside down dog):

Snow2

Specs: Pattern – free download from Yarn Harlot. Yarn – Knit Picks Dye Your Own Laceweight handyed by moi with one pack of black cherry Kool-Aid. Needle size – I’ve already forgotten, but I think size 3. I think this one is about as easy as lace gets and would be a great beginner pattern. Placing the solid triange in the back takes some thinking, but you can leave it out. I wanted to highlight my hand dyed yarn (doesn’t that have a great ring to it?).

And this one is for Sandy. This was the view out of my front door a couple of days ago – I think it was the SUN rising!!

Sky

C is for Claudia:

Claudia

Claudia is my sister (my OLDER sister, despite what she may tell you). Well, not older by much. We are very close in age and my mom says I followed her around like a puppy when we were younger. We would play cowboys and she would be Wild Bill and I would be the sidekick. I still follow her around like a puppy and she takes me to all kinds of interesting places, like the ballet, the theater and art museums. She is not a knitter, but she tolerates yarn shops and even gave me a gift certificate to the Acorn Street Yarn Shop for Christmas (still to be spent – I got sick the weekend I was supposed to go). And did I mention I love her very much?

Here is my button for the Knitting Olympics (Nabbed from Sandy’s site, but I think Jen-La is the creator):

Watcherthumb

As much as I am dying to participate, between school, work, and upcoming vacation and other projects, I know better. However, I do have an Olympics goal. The first winter Olympics after I retire, I will knit an adult Dale sweater during the Olympics. If I like the sweater for that year, I will choose it. Otherwise, it will be one of the Olympic sweaters. You are welcome to remind me if you can remember.

I finished Snowdrop last night. It looks like a wrinkled, puckered mess. I always have this heart stopping moment when I finish knitting a lace piece wondering if this one will be the one to let me down at blocking. It hasn’t happened yet. I’ve got some time off coming and my husband is going to be gone, so I’ll have lots of free time. I’m going to try to really discipline myself to get some school papers written and my reward will be blocking Snowdrop, so pictures should be forthcoming. Other goal for time off – stitch and cut the Baby Dale. I’ll try to take pictures. And, if you have time, hop on over to the Fluffy Knitter. Deb has a great posting about laceweight cotton. I’ve never knitted lace with cotton, but her comments are enticing me to give it a try.

Rule #1: Never try to knit lace during a nail-biting football game. I ended up frogging a bunch and then realized that I probably didn’t need to frog in the first place – I had just slipped my marker over one. Sadly the Seahawks lost, but we’re happy they got as far as they did. Here’s to next year! And lest you think no knitting was accomplished:

Img_0033

I reached the halfway point on the lace edge of the Snowdrop shawl. I’m really pumped to be this close to the end, so I will probably work on this exclusively until it’s finished. This has been a fun project and I would highly recommend it as an introduction to lace knitting. It has enough repetition to be predictable and flows nicely. The lace edging is also a good introduction to a knitted on edge. For the free pattern, head on over to The Yarn Harlot.

And I also finished these:

Img_0031_1

Another pair of CIC socks. I made these in a larger size for older kids. I used some Cascade 220 left over from Rogue. This is one of four pair that will be donated in honor of the ladies in my quilting group.

Here’s the latest meme going around. If you’ve not yet been tagged, consider this your notice.

4 Jobs you have had in your life:
1. Histology technician
2. Sewing teacher
3. Knitting teacher
4. Office manager for pediatric dentist

4 Movies you could watch over and over.
1. Pride and Prejudice (Colin Firth version)
2. Sense and Sensibility
3. Persuasion (seeing a theme here?)
4. Close Encounters of the Third Kind

4 Places you have lived:
1. Thomasville, Missouri
2. Yokusuka, Japan
3. Anchorage, Alaska
4. Oak Harbor, WA

4 TV shows you love to watch.
1. Law and Order (all versions)
2. The Closer
3. Seinfeld
4. The Dog Whisperer

4 Places you have been on Vacation:
1. Ireland
2. England
3. Yellowstone National Park
4. Maui, Hawaii

4 websites you visit daily:
1. MSNBC.com
2. Washington State University
3. Bloglines (that pretty much covers all the rest)

4 of your favorite foods:
1. Cheerios
2. Frosted Mini Wheats
3. Sweet and Sour Chicken
4. Apple Crisp (hmm – they all have sugar!)

4 Places you would rather be right now:
1. Stranded in a snow covered lodge with my husband
2. Lounging on the beach in Maui
3. Sitting in a comfy room, knitting with all my blog friends
4. Anywhere Izzy is