Monday, December 29, 2008

Excuses, Excuses

Why I haven't been blogging:

Jury duty (still!)
One migraine
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, 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.


Lori said...

Congrats on the body double!! That is going on my birthday or Christmas list for next year!! Merry belated Christmas and Happy early New Year!

Life's a Stitch said...

I've always wanted one of those body things, but am afraid what it would look like in my real time measurements ;-)

sophanne said...

That is an awesome awesome present!

I'll just have to keep looking around for my doppleganger until I get one!

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Oh I would love a body double. I hope your dog is better soon! Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

The body double is great! I bought one last summer (yay, eBay!) and am thrilled with how much easier -- nay, possible! -- to knit something to fit myself now.

Tracy Purtscher said...

Vivian, Selma, and Chloe are very glad to meet to Bertha/Ruby/Wilma. They, just as Bertha/Ruby/Wilma has, have saved the day many times.

Sorry to hear of your heath issues, although I'm sure the remedies for them weren't even close to the vet bills. Yikes. Hope all goes well on your field trip tomorrow.

Lydee said...

bertha is AWESOME. what an amazing christmas gift. hope life calms down for you soon.

Kim said...

All hail Bertha! What an awesome gift. I hope you & the ailing pet feel much better.

patrice said...

Hoping there was a bookstore/skate park/Nickel City/movie theater near the vet's office to occupy the troops during the appt. Speaking as the vet's wife, you are not the only person experiencing animal health issues, based on the number of emergency calls DH is getting :( Sorry. Hope all are feeling well before the new year.

Maureen said...

"Bertha's" quite the gift...invaluable service right at the start. Hope your pup is feeling better and the trip to the chiro does the job.

Have a very Happy New Year!

Unknown said...

I am surprised you have time to blog! I really like that blue and the shape of the garment too.

The A.D.D. Knitter said...

Oh I love your body double! I was going to make some dumb joke about getting an inflate-a-mate, but I won't!!

Fibra Artysta said...

Oh poor baby! I hope her back is okay!

The sweater looks gorgeous, the dress form is an excellent gift!

CatBookMom said...

Great gift, and terrific that it's already helped to fix a problem. My sympathies about the furkid's illness. It's so tough when one of our furbabies is hurting, and then to have it hit the already-strained budget at year-end. Took my 17yo cat in for a cough and check on thyroid levels and overall health, and walked out $464 poorer. We are so worried that we're going to lose her any day; she just keeps declining.

Anonymous said...

nice presents! my husband has gotten much better at picking things that aren't on my list as well.

happy new year!