Sunday, December 11, 2011

Met That Deadline!

Since September when I started teaching violin again I've felt that I just managed to keep up to what needed to be done day by day.  One reason for that was that a lot of odds 'n ends needed to be "manufactured" or music needed to be printed to meet the schedule.  In October we three violin teachers chose December 8 as the date for our violin students' Christmas party, and I volunteered to sew up a little gift bag for each student.

Monday I cut and sewed the bags.  They need only a nice gold ribbon in the casing to  be finished, and then filled with a variety of small treats.  That was a full THREE days ahead of time!  They turned out very well, about 4 1/2" wide, and 9" long, just big enough for an orange, some chocolates, some taffy, a "Happy Face" pencil, a tiny wooden snowman to hang on the Christmas tree and some notes (sticky notes).

We had our party Thursday night at which we played several pieces of Christmas music for the parents and grandparents.  Each student (and some of the parents) received a bag with a "Thank You for your hard work!"

Now I have three weeks without lessons and that feels quite luxurious.  I know the time will whiz by and seem very short but at this end it stretches out before me with all sorts of possibilities.

First on my list is a pair of handknit socks for dear grandson #2 whose birthday comes on the 20th of December.  These were knit from the toe up.  What you see here is the sole of the sock facing up with the heel in the triangle formed by the top two needles,  The side two needles hold the sides of the heel gusset, and the bottom two needles hold the instep of the sock.

The original pattern was formulated to knit two socks on one extremely long circular needle.  I do start the sock on two circular needles, using Judy Becker's magic cast on.  But pretty soon I like to switch to dpns.  There just seems to be less strain at the cross overs from one needle to the other.  When I get to the heel gusset, heel cup and heel flap I like to use lots of needles, just to keep things feeling open and easy.

The first sock took me one week to knit.  The second sock I started on Wednesday and finished this evening.  The yarn is from Mary Maxim, 75% wool and 25% nylon for strength.  This wool has a good "hand" and knit up very much easier than the fancy yarn for DD#2 and her daughter (the pink socks shown earlier).  They look kind of blue here, but are actually army green, brown and black.

Lacking a model, I put on the socks myself for this photo.  I'm very happy with the way they turned out, and am thoroughly converted to knitting socks toe up, rather than top down.  I like the way the heel turns out much better, since you knit the heel stitches together with the gusset stitches, rather than picking up gusset stitches along the heel flap.

These go into the mail tomorrow, with hopes of reaching Ontario before next weekend!

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