Sunday, August 26, 2007

... and After

Our Minneapolis trip is over and done with, and I have finally recovered -- when you take a Monday off, you can just assume the rest of the week will find you in confusion. (Tuesday afternoon found me trying to arrange a lunch for the following day, which I ignorantly called Tuesday.)

A new Sheldon was made for the occasion (this makes three), to be bestowed to the second child of a couple of missionary friends home on furlough. I think orange Sheldon is my favorite yet, and I added button eyes, although I recognize this is a no-no for babies. Fortunately, Missionary Child #2 commandeered my earlier knit blanket for Child #1, so Child #1 will gladly babysit the turtle until the proper time.

Less than one week before our departure, I was overtaken with the sudden impulse of making a pair of socks, start to finish, for the mother of the Sheldon recipient. She had shown great interest in my first-ever sock, so it seemed appropriate. Not everyone appreciates the time that goes into a pair of hand-knit socks, so I choose owners carefully.

I did manage to accomplish my feat, but it was only possible with the driving and airport time. There was some hurried grafting taking place at our host's home on Day 7, but it was finished. I don't plan on giving myself such stringent deadlines in the future, but my comfort with this pattern eased matters (and I'm just tickled that I was able to make the socks match perfectly, given the fact that the repeats are random for half of the sock).

I really treasured the time we were able to share with friends. This was our second trip there in the year we have been gone, but it will be highly unlikely that we will be able to continue with this regularity. Our small group went from one child to five children in one year, so it was great to spend a rainy weekend with some of our former friends, getting to see them as parents as well. Now we just need to convince all of them of the merits (*cough*) of South Bend.

And for those curious among you, I can complete about seven inches of ribbing on the return journey, somewhat half-hearted efforts because of my earlier marathon.

To further continue with this yarn-themed post, yesterday I ventured to the Elkhart Farmer's Market with Carly, where we reviewed our yarn options -- we make no claims to the quality of the market, but it is thorough in its scope. As an aside, though, it does seem strange to have the opportunity to charge your purchases.

I empowered Carly to purchase the red yarn seen in the photo, and she approved of my Indigo selection, my first purchase of hand-dyed yarn. It is also the first hank I have purchased (think of all the images of girls holding the looped yarn around their hands as the mother gathers it) and the first yarn with a vivid sheep smell. Carly had the dubious honor of holding the hank while it was spun with my yarn ball winder, so she has fond memories of the stench.

Yes, I purchased a yarn ball winder -- do you like how I just slipped that in? -- just in time for the unplanned hank acquisition. This winder forms the lovely stackable creations seen here (I'm glad that only one of those yarn structures is mine, but only because this photo is from Carly's place). And once wound, you have center-pull balls that are preferable to the contrary option, the knitter's stilted dance: a sudden jerking move consisting of thrusting your needles and project aloof when you've run out of loose yarn until you can force the skein to flop around and release another few inches. This transpires at seemingly untimed intervals to the untrained observers, and often causes them to distance themselves from the unstable lady with pointy sticks.

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