Wait five minutes.

This is why I don’t have a hat when it gets really, really cold. In a few days, it’s over and I’m on to other things, and no longer freezing my ears off when I have to be outside. The fact that it’ll probably get that cold again at least once more before the end of winter never really occurs to me.

Knitting:

I was out on Friday with my husband and the toddler, and before we reached our destination, the toddler fell asleep. So husband went in to his appointment, and I sat in the car with the sleeping toddler, and for a change, I had my knitting with me. I hadn’t been bringing it because I would drag it along and then not have time to work on it, and if I’m not going to use it, I don’t want to carry it. I’m already trying to keep track of the toddler’s things. If I lose my knitting, it’s bad; if I lose the blankie or the Talking Percy, there’s going to be a scene.

(If you don’t know what a Talking Percy is, I’m envious.)

As it happened, I got far enough with another pair of Phalangees mitts that it seems do-able to just keep going and finish them. I promised them to a friend for her mother:

The second time around, these are really quick and easy. The pattern has an intrinsic rhythm: groups of 5 stitches shifted this way and that to make the design. The thumb increases are regular, every x many rows. I barely needed the pattern for this one, and I’ll need it even less for the second one. I can’t believe I thought these might be too difficult for me to make. If you’re on the fence, jump. People think you’re some kind of wizard, unless they’re knitters, and then they know the secret.

That’s my beloved JennieGee project bag, btw. Most of the time, I get more questions about that than I do about my knitting.

Doings:

Three minutes left! And sadly, I barely have doings enough to fill them. I’m on the last Maggie Sefton book, mercifully. Other reviewers are complaining that the books are repetitive. Are they ever. I don’t know why I felt like I had to see them through, but I think I’m done now. I’m still watching The Office, after all, and that stopped being funny years ago. I started with the knitting mysteries as an effort to force myself to branch out. Otherwise, I’d hang around watching and reading only stuff I already know is good. But I think after this, I’m going to read Pyne’s book about Voyager, even though it’s a paper book and I’ll have to prop it to read while I knit. I can be reasonably confident that won’t make me feel like my brain is melting and running out of my ears. Perhaps if I get through the sweater and the afghan, I can knit Celestarium with a relatively clear conscience, while I read about space. Meta!

I’m going to try to get out of the house by myself next weekend. Fiber Loft is having a Super Bowl sale and while I don’t need any yarn, I do need a change of scenery.

If lightning moved very slowly…

Yes, it’s been a long time. Things around here have been backing up on me in a way that, had I advance information, I would not have said were possible. I can’t believe it’s been ten months since my husband’s stroke, nearly a year of radical change for all of us, and such a long time just focused on Surviving This and Getting Us Over This. The worst thing about it is no longer having any preconceived notions about what “over this” will look like. I don’t know. It could be years until I know. That’s a little crushing to the spirit. One mourns not only present, but possibility.

That said, I was so glad to see the Mason Dixon Knitters blogging more this year, and it seems to be because they introduced the 10-minute “lightning round” where as the name implies, they work on a post for 10-15 minutes (it seems to vary) and throw the thing on the blog. That seems like a good idea to me. The perfect is the enemy of the done, yes? So here goes:

Knitting

I’ve had two projects since Christmas: the Gwendolyn sweater in green heather Valley Yarns Northampton, and the Hue Shift afghan in Rainbow from Knit Picks. The sweater has the back finished and the right front half finished–I was going to knit both fronts at once, but I was afraid that when it came time to do the shaping, I would blow a fuse trying to keep up with both, so I’m going one-at-a-time. I may do the sleeves at once, though, because they don’t have mirrored shaping. It’s been so cold that I put aside the afghan, which is about 13% finished, since it’s for a baby who won’t be here until spring. I want to be able to wear this sweater before then. It’s pleasantly warm to have on my lap, at least.

I really love to do cables. No strong feelings about colorwork, though I do enjoy when it comes out, but cables are like magic to me. When we were small, my mother made countless pairs of cabled mittens–really simple, single cable up the back of the hand in this oatmealish tweedy acrylic that is what color the 80’s would be if not for neon–and I was just fascinated by the cable stitch. It was the first “hard” thing I taught myself to knit. I think somewhere I still have these dreadful bulky acrylic mittens in double moss background with a braided cable on the backs of the hands. I didn’t know from gauge, so these things are stiff enough to stand up by themselves. I also have a green Lopi cabled sweater that I knitted 15 years ago from a Reynolds pattern that is heavy enough to wear to the Arctic, and itchy, too. But we lived in Syracuse then, and it got a lot of use.

Whatever my feelings about acrylic in general, I’m getting along all right with the afghan in Brava:

I started with the pink/red/purple corner.

It’s soft enough and the colors are nice and it’s squooshy as far as a sport-weight can be. I find it splitty, though. It’s unwinding as I knit with it and trying to wander off. The effect is great, though, and I was considering doing a second one for us in superwash wool. I like the colors. I am not usually a rainbow person. The dark green of the sweater is really my thing. My stash is full of blues and greens and purples. But this winter, I needed to see some really serious color. I snapped up the kit when it came out in the fall, and saved it for after Christmas just to have the delight of casting on something new when I knew I’d need it.

Things I’m Liking Lately:
I’ve been reading, but not especially enjoying, the Maggie Sefton knitting mysteries. I don’t like the heroine, the plots are simplistic, the characters are two-dimensional, there’s no sex, and they’re all over much too quickly. I am, however, enjoying writing scathing reviews of them on Goodreads, and also offering alternative readings and cheeky plot suggestions. Lately, I’ll take my fun where I can get it.

Still reading Miss Silver. I think I have eight or so to go. They remain delightful, with the exception of the occasional clunker. I don’t even care that there’s no sex, and that, clearly, is how it’s done.

I have also been shopping for a new dishwasher, finally, since ours has been on the bier for 16 months and a major component in my damaged psyche is facing a family’s worth of dishes every day. Only the prospect of serving them Top Ramen three meals a day until Valentine’s Day is preventing me from running right out and getting one now, but my spring contract begins paying in a few weeks and then we will have the rest of the money we need.

I believe I have become truly old. Dishwasher! Dishwasher! Dishwasher!

I feel like I should complain about the cold, but I’m okay with it. Spring is one step closer to summer. For now, I’ll take being cozy with knitting and books and new Antiques Roadshow. I also recorded The Following; perhaps I’ll get to that this week. No Downton spoilers! I still haven’t seen season 2. I could theoretically watch it in bits and pieces in the evening, but I saw the first one when everyone else was away and I got to immerse myself in it for a weekend, and I want to do that again. Finding someone to take the husband and kids away has been problematic, though. Isn’t it always?