There was one exciting shopping experience. Nine days ago I bought a pair of red shoes at Nordstrom, and I liked them so much I bought a black pair as well. Except they weren't in stock. Would I like them shipped to me at the apartment? Yes, I would, provided they arrive in time. No problem, they said - five to eight days by UPS. OK, I said. They sent me an email giving me the UPS tracking number, and this has been more exciting than most of the television. I log in to find that the shoes left Baltimore, they arrived in Vernon, California, they left there and arrived at Ontario, California. Days later (maybe they liked California) they leave for Honolulu. They arrive in Honolulu, but not in my hands yet. This is my last day here - we leave early tomorrow morning!! It is 3 pm. I call Nordstrom. Nordstrom call UPS who assure me that they will arrive. The front desk calls, and they have finally arrived, at the eleventh hour. Phew!
What of all the great plans for knitting? I had one ball of sock wool, (black Patonyle) and a sock pattern. Some tatting for the aeroplane. Some lovely baby alpaca lace yarn (thank you Lien!) which I planned to turn into the Leaf and Nupp Shawl from Nancy Bush's Knitted Lace of Estonia. I have the needles (from my trip to Isle Knits) and the yarn I ordered from Stitch Diva arrived (silk, Galactic Blue), plus the pattern for the Endless Cardi-Shawl. Quite a list, huh?
How did I go? Not too badly. I finished the sock. I wanted some black socks, and thought if I knitted them in a lacy pattern they wouldn't get nicked by someone who thinks all black socks are his. Never have I been so cavalier about a pattern. In the words of my daughter, 'it is just a sock', so I spurned the instructions on how many stitches needed to be on each needle (I like twin circulars for socks) and did what suited me. The Great Sock Maker (Julie) also talks about making a longer heel flap, so I tried a few extras to see how that worked. (Beautifully). I have wide feet, so didn't decrease back to the original 66 stitches, preferring 72 for the foot. The sock turned out really well. I made it quite long, not expecting to have enough yarn to finish it, but there was JUST enough. And I did the kitchener grafting from memory with no problem.
There is a cardigan on the needles at home (too bulky to bring with me), so while I was sorely tempted to cast on the nearly 500 stitches for the Endless Cardi-Shawl, I forebore, confining my lust for the yarn to winding one skein into a ball. Step away from the yarn now... you have to finish a couple of projects first... Ooh that is hard. Sometimes I have to be very stern with myself.
The lace shawl became a saga, and I have learned a LOT. I did the border with a lot of difficulty. The lessons I have learned are:
1. I was using my Boye needles, and the joins made it very difficult to slide the very fine stitches. Isle Knits came to the rescue with a very nice Addi Turbo Lace circular needle. MUCH better.
2. I can read knitting charts OK, especially with the lovely magnetic board that Lien gave me for Christmas. Yes, I brought that with me. It helps enormously. However, it also helps enormously to know that when knitting in the round you read the chart from right to left, every row. BUT when knitting back and forth, you read the chart back and forth!!!! This realisation made a huge difference to the accuracy of my knitting, and reduced the frustration enormously. I feel embarrassed at confessing this. It involved ripping out the entire 25 rows of border and re-knitting them. Yes, Julie, I did. It was worth it.
3. When knitting pattern repeats it helps to have markers. I'd bought some nice little markers at Morris & Sons a while ago, and I thought I would give them a go. The wonderful thing is that you can see immediately whether you have made a mistake (like missed a yarnover) and fix it without any hassle. Lace is very difficult to unpick. I know. Markers are a great leap forward for me.
So, after learning these lessons, and doing the border again, I am much more confident now about continuing.
Seeing as how we are now thinking homeward thoughts, our housesitter and I have been exchanging confirmation emails of return times, and status reports about The Pug. He's been having a great time going out with Iain the dog walker every day, plus playdates with housesitter's Mum's dog Emma. He's just fine, and here's the proof..
Yes, I am looking forward to seeing him soon. I'm also looking forward to seeing my Mum. I am not, however, looking forward to rugging up in lots of clothes, and not having my daily swim.