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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Time Flies When You're... Insanely Busy

Wow, has it really been three months since my last entry? Time flies when you're getting married. I certainly didn't write the best wedding blog in the universe, but I gave it a decent try. Maybe I'll write a Wedding Tips entry when I finish processing my wedding!
This entry I am going to write on the Yule gifts I am preparing. As I've mentioned before, DH and I are both members of large families. If you add in my addiction to creating evidence for future genealogists, you've got the makings of a hard-made Yule. I wrote my original gift list in January, but found several people missing after closer inspection. After adding them in and pondering what to make them, I finally got a more rounded list hammered out. The next step is to create a mailing list for the Yule letter we'll be mailing out. DH is iffy on the idea, but I've got my heart set and he is going along with it.
The Train Job
One of the Yule gifts I'm making is a double knit scarf in a train motif, named the train job. The project is based off the Chugga Chugga Pattern by Laura Chamberlin. I've made a few general alterations to her pattern, mostly for personal preference, and after only one day I am more than 30 rows in. Normally this would not impress me (I tend to knit quickly), but I had to learn the skill of double knitting before starting this project and I was rather daunted. YouTube and KnittingHelp.com provide excellent videos, however, and I was able to pick up the technique in a few hours.
Lesson Learned: Never be afraid to at least try.
I must point out that, despite being a fast learner, I've made several mistakes. I actually cast on two days ago and made it ten or fifteen rows in to the engine's chart before I realized I had mangled the first wheel. In my frustration (also born of knitting my first piece of double knit work at five in the morning) I frogged the whole thing, cast on with 24 stitches (I originally cast on with 22) and knit the nine plain rows. The next morning I started the chart again and have only made a few mistakes since. Here are my suggestions regarding mistakes. If you...
*Use the wrong color for a stitch: you have to unknit to the mistake, undo it, then rework back to where you were. I tried the crochet hook method one would normally use and it doesn't work.
*Use the RIGHT color, but have the contrast thread in the wrong spot: Just isolate that stitch (slip all the stitches in your way to another needle) and use a crochet hook to keep the offending stitch from slipping. Carefully move the contrast string behind the stitch (or in front of, as the case may be) and replace your stitches on the proper needle.
*Purl instead of knit (or knit instead of purl): As long as you've used the right color, your standard crochet hook method will work. Just isolate the stitch (see previous tip) and drop the offending stitch from the needle. use a crochet hook to pick up it before it drops too low, then work back up the "ladder" until it's back at the top. This is not a very good description, so here is a video:
The video is for fixing a dropped stitch, but it is my recommended method.
Alterations Made to the Pattern: I cast on 24 instead of 22 stitches. It allowed for the first and last stitches to be outside the chart, making it easier for me to read. I also knit nine rows before beginning the color switches, but that was out of personal preference and nothing more.
Tutorial Videos Used:
Move It and Lose It
 Close on the heels of our wedding and DH's job change is yet another exciting change in our lives.
We are moving to a bigger apartment.
It's still a one room, but we don't need more than that. It simply has more space. Now, I know everyone hates moving. Hell, I've moved more times than I can remember (literally) and I still don't like it. But there is an upside that many people forget about.
Moving provides you with a great opportunity to go through everything you own and weed out things you don't want or need any more. DH and I have been doing this little by little since the wedding, but we never wanted to risk the mess that ensues when you truly tear apart a room and clean it out. Our impending move is our big chance to do this.
We recently packed up a chunk of our living room, in order to move the bed in to it. While this may sound weird, it was the only way we could use our AC unit and feel the temperature change at all. Apartments with AC units are never set up with proper air flow in mind. To remedy our temperature situation, we started packing a wee bit early, and the benefits were plentiful. More stuff will be donated and we got a clear view of what moving our furniture in a month is going to feel like. I'm also a fan of the "slow and steady" mentality, so I was happy to get started on the packing well in advance. You really learn what you can live without when you pack up to move.

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