It's late on Easter Saturday night. The 'youth' a few doors down are partying and their drunken sing-alongs to too-loud music are starting to grate. Don't they know what time it is??? (Yes, I'm 100 years old.)
Tonight I've been sewing, trying to complete pyjamas for my girls. As kids, we always got winter PJs for Easter, and this year, with my new sewing thing happening, I thought I should make some from scratch rather than buy. The babes have got pants only - I'm not up to pyjama tops yet. And for Lola, there's a nightie in lairy hot-pink and yellow flannel, chosen by the little lady herself, as much as I tried to steer her towards something more sedate.
For all my knitting of late, this week I've hit two road blocks. I cast on a cardigan for sweet baby Olive within 24 hours of her birth. The request from her mum had been simple - white with a single button at the top. I found the perfect pattern, a round-yoke cardigan with just enough detail to keep it interesting, but simple enough that I might finish it while Olive still fits into a 3-month size.
Now, if you're a knitter, you'll understand the importance of gauge and swatching. Every bit of literature on knitting, and every pattern, seems to rave on about it. It's the requirement that you knit a small sample with your yarn on the suggested needle size, and then count up the number of stitches in, say, 10cm (or 4 inches, if you're in the States). If you have more or less than the stated gauge - quite possible given everyone knits with a different tension - then you need to adjust your needle size until you hit the magic number, otherwise your garment will be too big or too small or all higgledy-piggledy, and what a waste of all that effort, yada yada yada.
Suffice to say, as a rule, I do not knit gauge swatches. I'm too lazy. I figure nine times out of ten I'm gonna hit gauge, and why not discover that 30 rows into an actual garment than 30 rows into something that's never got a chance of becoming anything. And if 30 rows in I discover I'm way, way off, then it's no great loss.
Unless, of course, it actually happens, and then it's just a right pain in the bum. This is what happened the other night with Olive's cardigan. After an entire evening of knitting, I realised I had about 3 extra stitches in my 10cm, which would have equated to about 18 extra stitches in the entire width - about 8cm which, on a newborn baby, is quite a sizeable addition. Sadly, I realised I had to rip it back and start again. I conceded and knit a gauge swatch on some smaller straight needles. Spot on, first time. But I don't have the requisite circulars for the job, and it's the Easter weekend, and the knitting stores are shut. So all the knitting I hoped to do on Olive's cardigan this weekend now has to wait.
So I did the next best thing - cast on a new hat for one of my babes in a stunning new red yarn purchased just last week. I knit the evening away, but when I picked it up the next day I had lost my enthusiasm. I think it's a sign that this beautiful yarn is not meant to become this particular hat. I will need to rethink.
So here I am with three days left of the long weekend and nothing much on the needles (if we ignore the dozen or so works in progress in various bags around the place.) So I thought I'd preview a few photos of a little red scarf I knit recently for my girl. It's in some lovely organic cotton and has a little keyhole in one end to thread the other end through. I came up with the design myself, and just have to tweak it a bit and I might post it here sometime soon. Alas, the kid refuses to wear it, as much as I tell her how Frenchy chic she looks in it. It actually fits quite well on the little ones, but I can't bear to see all that one-year-old teething dribble landing directly on such lovely yarn.