Why I haven't been blogging:
Jury duty (still!)
Kids home from school (eternally, it seems)
A large dog with a back injury (three vets and counting)
Just plain laziness.
Christmas was good. We had no house guests this year, which was much less stressful than last year's never-ending tag team of family members in search of a place to sleep and 24-hour kitchen service (I love my family, but...you know). There is some small chance that we have also turned the corner on the sibling-rivalry smack-down, although I'm reserving judgment on that. It could just be carry-over from the annual "if you don't stop smacking your brother, Santa is going to skip right the heck over this house!" threats that we always resort to at this time of year. We are in the midst of our annual holiday veterinary crisis, however. For the third year in a row, one of our pets has decided Christmas is the perfect time to have a medical meltdown. In the past three days, we've been to two vets, done one set of x-rays, and received four prescriptions, and I spent the morning on the phone looking for a veterinary chiropractor (yes, really) who could see her on short notice. After 30 calls, I found one that will see her tomorrow, but the office is an hour drive from our house. Think I can convince the kids it's a field trip?
I personally had a banner Christmas morning. My darling husband has finally bowed to the power of the fiber addiction and accepted that the only gifts I really want have to do with animal hair. I got extra bobbins for my Woolee Winder (which I wanted and requested), a skein winder (which I wanted but didn't request), and--my personal favorite--my very own body double!
She doesn't look exactly like me; there's that little matter of the missing head and limbs. But she is exactly my height and shares my exact measurements, and she's already proved her value. These shots were taken Christmas morning, right after I ripped out the enormous and time-consuming shawl collar on Amanda because there was something just so not right about it.
As soon as I put the sweater on Bertha (or Ruby, or Wilma, depending on the mood), the problem was obvious:
This is the back neckline, according to the pattern, before the stitches are picked up and knitted for the collar. See the problem? Yup. Way too high. But I couldn't see it when I tried the sweater on myself. It's not that easy to see the back of your own neck. With the sweater still on Bertha, I took out the bind off row and ripped back until the neckline was about the right height (this sweater is a bottom-up raglan, so this was simple). Then I bound off again and redid the shawl collar.
The end result is perfect, but I would not have discovered the real problem without Bertha's help. I shudder to think that I would undoubtedly have re-knitted the entire collar, only to have it still not fit properly, because the problem wasn't the collar in the first place. I'm not sure why this problem came up. My stitch gauge was correct. My row gauge was slightly smaller, which should have resulted, if anything, in a shorter raglan with a lower back neckline. The rest of the pattern was perfect, except that the sleeves, as written, would be too short for anyone over five feet tall (unless you're a T-Rex, in which case, knit away). I added three inches to the sleeve length, and they only fit because the yarn grew a lot with washing. If you're considering this pattern, do keep that in mind, and pay attention to the height of the back neck.
Modeled shots to follow, as soon as I can collar a photographer to help me out.