Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Happy Birthday To Mom (sing it with me now!)

As with all birthday knitting, there has to be a story, right? I mean, cramming ten hours of knitting into a few days was going to be an accomplishment, any way I cut it. And I was actually cruising along on my mother's birthday present, making excellent time thanks to my husband, who took over all responsibilities. He appreciates handmade things, and since he wasn't working on it himself, he was contributing by letting me create without having to get up and make peanut butter sandwiches, or do dishes, or solve disputes between girls sharing a room... And I loved being able to knit and say, "Not now, dear. Mommy's working hard." Oh yeah, that was the best part.

At midnight before the last day of knitting, the actual witching hour, I was feeling great. I had probably 2 1/2 hours of knitting left before bind-off, and for me, that's plenty of time. Then I looked at the pattern again, finding my place, and my eyes traveled down a bit. And there, right there next to all my other instructions, were instructions of how to do twelve finishing rows to complete the design, before binding off. I mean, it wasn't hidden on the next page, italicized or even in small print. It was right there next to all of the other instructions I've been referring to since spring. I just couldn't believe it. At 20 to 30 minutes a row, since we were increasing constantly, I was looking at four to six hours of knitting, beyond my initial estimate. I stared at the wall for a minute, thinking, "I can't do it. It's actually not going to get done." Even after all of the stolen moments here and there, the gallons of coffee, the faking that I wasn't concerned about time, I was actually not going to make it. I explained the situation to my husband, who could tell something was up. He said, "No. You can do it. You can." And I figured, what the heck. I can at least try. If I give it to her on the needles, that's how it was going to get given, because at this point I was not going to go with a gift certificate.

And with my second wind, I knit for two-and-a-half hours, with my husband sitting beside me. If he wasn't actively cheering me on, he was at least staying up with me. Then we went to bed, I laid there staring at the wall for two hours, then got back up. I mean, who can sleep with that much knitting looming in front of you? And I knit the rest of the rows, finishing before church. My hands were a little shaky, probably from caffeine overload, but I just slowed down a wee bit and kept knitting. After all, the gift was for my mom, who not only gave birth to me, but she got me through the teen years and countless other traumas and bad decisions made by yours truly. I could give her gift a few more hours. And sleep? Pffft. I can overcome the need for sleep, short-term, anyway.

There I was, with over 400 stitches on the needles, counting carefully to make sure I'd done my last set of increases correctly. My daughters were watching Curious George, and my husband was making more coffee (good guy). Suddenly, the man in the big yellow hat started counting beans or something, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202.... frantically, I started counting out loud myself, 281, 282, 283, 284.... yikes! I wanted to laugh, but I didn't want to lose count, so I kept counting and didn't look up. And you want to talk nervous? Nervous is when you're getting down to the last bit of counting, and there are a small amount of stitches left, and you're just praying it comes out right. And it did. Hallelujah and thank the stars, at 413 stitches it was time for bind-off.

I will quickly go through the binding off part, how it was too tight, I pulled it out and redid it, it was still too tight, I cried a bit, then got on the Internet and looked for the amendment to the pattern that had to be there. Nope. Some folks had a bit of problem with the bind off, but there were no changes to the pattern. So after pulling it out twice, I sat down and just knit it like it said, thinking, "This is it. This is the way to do it, I'm doing it, and how it ends is how it ends." And all the time I'm writing my blog entry in my head, evil statements and grumblings that I was going to post to all and sundry about this terrible bind off. But just like knitting in a pocket on a sweater, when you trust the instructions and don't overthink it, it comes out fine. And so we get on to how it ends, the pictures.

Now, right here I had written: I give you (well, okay. I give my mom) the Kiri Shawl:

and normally would have inserted some pictures. But Blogger will. not. do. it. I am ready to throw the computer out the window, if it would fly through webland and smack someone at Blogger upside the head. So instead I will have to link it to my Flickr account, and you can travel and see if, if you've a mind to.

I knit it with Fino, Alpaca with a Twist, 70% baby alpaca/30% silk. It took less than a skein, even with an entire extra repeat. Due to my tight gauge this year, the shawl only came out six feet wide, which is what it was supposed to do without that extra repeat. But things worked out fine, even with the tight gauge, so I'm happy. Happy Birthday, Mom! I don't know how you made parenting look so darned easy, but you did a great job. Have a great day.


AR said...

Carrie, you rock! It looks beautiful.

Happy Birthday to your mom (my mom #3) She is awesome, must be where you get it!

Dave said...

Well done!! It looks gorgeous, and I bet all that alpaca feel just wonderful.

And happy birthday to your mom. :-)

Cheryl S. said...

Wow - it's beautiful! And that Fino is such nice yarn.

Kat with a K said...

Wow, it's gorgeous! Congrats on finishing, and happy birthday to your mom!

Carrie K said...

Oh, it came out so beautiful! Is it white or gray? (hard to be sure on a computer monitor.)

But my, oh my! The last minute horrors! I think I would be shrieking numbers and kicking Curious George's buddy right in the TV. :)

Liz said...

Beautiful shawl Carrie!

Jennifer said...

I bow down to your knitting skillz and persistence! Good work!

Rachel said...

You know, I've been wondering about you knitting Kiri! A long time ago, you mentioned wanting to start it and I never knew if you did. Now I know :). And it really is stunning. I love the look of it in that light grey...great job!

Happy Birthday Carrie's mom!

LaurieM said...

Hey! It looks awesome! What a lot of pins...

Your post sounds a lot like giving birth. :-)

Happy Birthday to your mom!

Marlene said...

It's lovely. What a beautiful birthday gift.