Katherine the Great
I like to think of myself as a storyteller. Mostly I tell stories about knitting.

The Iditarod ceremonial start was Saturday at 1pm (Texas time) and I was on a wine tour of the Texas Hill Country.

We hit Becker – nice selection of local products.

had lunch at Inwood Estates Winery & Bistro (We were going to sit outside, but it was too windy. A huge umbrella blew up and almost killed me. True story.)

checked out Torre Di Pietra Vineyards – which I didn’t love (There was a shop cat and I’m ALLERGIC.)

swung by Grape Creek – classy joint

and finished up at Fiesta Winery – yummy sweet wines.

rocking chair

rocking in a chair on a porch at Fiesta Winery reminds me of my Grammy’s porch growing up. Love!


So, I didn’t get very far in the Iknitarod Saturday. (my goal is to knit the owls sweater – my first adult sweater – by the time the last musher reaches the finish line in Nome) I did attempt a German twisted cast on after my gauge swatch and when the tail wasn’t long enough, I decided to try again Sunday.

Sunday –
cast on 2. German twisted – wasn’t crazy about how it looked.
cast on 3. German twisted – started knitting the rib and didn’t love how that looked
cast on 4. tubular – have 102 sts. need 108. merciful heavens!
cast on 5. tubular – finally have 108 stitches. time to hit the hay.

Monday –
I worked on the ribbing. The darker edge looks amazing! I tried it on. FRACK! It’s too small. I can get it on, but even having never knit a sweater before, I know the stitches are not supposed to be all stretched out like that. This is the part where I learn what is meant by an inch or 2 of ease.

On the upside, I do not love the waterfall look of the Tubular cast on. German Twisted it is.

Tuesday –
I tried it on again in case I was just fatter Monday or something. No such luck. It’s too small. I took a picture and ripped it out.
Owls Sweater

Then, I took a break because well, I needed a break. My first sweater is kicking my arse. (calling it my 24 hour break)…probably a little early to take my 24, but there you have it.

Wednesday –
cast on 6. German Twisted – tail too short
cast on 7. German Twisted – (going up 2 sweater sizes and down one needle size) BINGO! (I hope)

The trail has been ROUGH for those running the Iditarod so far. I am consoling myself with the fact that at least I don’t have any actual bruises to show for my rough Iknitarod start.

To see what others are working on, check out:
Tami’s Amis
Small Things (I just started reading Wheat Belly – it is actually about modern/hybridized wheat and gluten vs. ancient wheat and has been interesting so far.)
Frontier Dreams

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This is my second year to participate in the Iknitarod. You may recall last year’s effort. The goal of the Iknitarod is to pick a project and start with the mushers and finish before the last Iditarodder crosses the finish line (and the red lantern is awarded). I cast on for a hitchhiker shawl Saturday March 2 with the ceremonial start as planned, but it was a near thing.
I knew that I was knitting with sock yarn and have a wide variety of sock-sized needles. What I neglected to realize is that socks are knit more tightly than shawls. I really didn’t need a gauge, but I didn’t want the shawl too big because I’m hoping to get all 42 points of the shawl out of the one of a kind yarn I’m using and not have to bind off with fewer points. So, a gauge it must be.
Rat on a stick! 3.5mm are too big. I will knit another gauge on 3.25mm needles. Um, yeah. I need to be knitting with 3.25mm and I’m smart enough to realize I do not to want to use 3.5mm and try to knit REALLY tightly when I’m already deadline knitting (I have my moments.). So, I dump needles all over the guest room bed in my quest for 3.25mm needles longer than the dpn’s I’ve used for the gauge.
Addi clicks start at 3.5mm and go up.
Straights that I’ve purchased begin at US6 and go up.
My circular needles are smaller than 3mm and larger than 4mm. Great. Who is running this outfit?!? oh yea, me.

Then I recall that my good friend, Sam, bought an arseload of needles at an auction and was kind enough to share some with me and I have all those in yet another needle case. WINNING! There’s a nice slick pair of 3.25mm Susan Bates straights to get me through the weekend ’til I can hit a LYS in town Monday and get some circs. I was able to avoid a broken sled and pulled out with the other teams after all. Crisis averted.
Now, I’m 1/3 of the way through the race. Martin Buser has had an amazing couple of days and I’m pulling for Aliy Zirkle (in 2nd Tuesday night).

Ps. To see what other folks are working on, go check out Tami’s Amis.

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The goal of the Iknitarod is to pick a project and start with the Iditarod racers and finish before the last musher crosses the finish line (and the red lantern is awarded). Iknitarod racers could also opt to pick several incomplete projects and complete those as long as they felt sufficiently challenged.
I cast on February 27. Since the Iditarod started ceremonially on Saturday, March 3 and for real on March 4, this might seem like I jumped the gun a little bit, but since the first blanket took 31 days, I managed to start early and still feel challenged.

Other things that help me sleep at night include the fact that I spent my Friday night knitting time knitting and then unknitting the same rows. I had pretty much just finished the border by Saturday morning. It seems that when doing a second blanket that is identical to the first one, you should still check the pattern regularly and not assume you have it memorized. We all know where that will get you. Ahem, it will get you some unknitting practice anyway.
Saturday (March 3), I knitted and watched TV/movies (London Blvd, the Prince & Me 4 [which was surprisingly better than the Prince & Me 3]) and was THIS far along by the evening.

Sunday (March 4), I knitted and watched more TV/movies (TH wasn’t feeling that great so I watched BCG, Once Upon a Time, Real Steel[which I recommend] and From Prada to Nada [which was cute]).

Monday (March 5), it looks like Lance M. is picking up speed and Aliy is in the top 5.
Aliy gets to number 4. I knitted Monday night during The Bachelor and more Once Upon a Time. I’m starting to pull for Aliy to win!
Two rows of Scotties done!

Tuesday (March 6), I’m about to start the third Scottie row and Aliy is number one followed by Kelley Griffin and Jeff King.
Mid-way through the day, it looks like Lance, John, then Aliy.
That night, it was Aliy, John Baker, Lance, Hugh Neff, and Ray Redington, jr.
Finished another row of scotties that night.

Wednesday (March 7), knitted during the hockey game and made quite a bit of progress.

Thursday (March 8). During the Iditarod, there is a mandatory 24 hour break, so I elected to take a 24 hour break myself to keep with the spirit of the thing.

Friday (March 9), the Leaf was getting a software update, so I did some knitting at the Nissan dealership in town. At this point, I was getting a little nervous, so I looked up some details and the fastest Iditarod was almost 9 days. That seemed a little soon until I recalled that I had until the red lantern was awarded (last musher crossed the finish line) to knit.

…and so it went until Tuesday (March 13). Aliy was trailing Dallas Seavey by about an hour and it looked like he’d win late that night unless something untoward happened. As soon as I got home, I knit like the wind for a while and then got ready to watch the finish.
As I opened the web feed up on my reliable PC, it black screened.
Now, let’s be clear. TH’s PC misbehaves. He upgrades hardware and he changes out things and he asks a lot of his PC. He’s a hardcore gamer. I do things like blog and tweet. As long as I don’t get a virus, I expect mine to work or at least not die when it is MOST inconvenient.
I rebooted it……pulling up the feed and…..black screen.
Imagine profanity here.
TH was busy gaming with folks online and I didn’t want to seem like the crazy high-strung person that I am (even though I’m fairly certain he might know), so I shrugged my shoulders and went in the other room to just cast off and resigned to check twitter later. But, genius that he is, given that I’d been slightly obsessed for almost two weeks, from the depths of the Blizzard ‘verse, he said, “why don’t you just go get my laptop and watch the finish?” Genius! THAT kind of problem solving is why I married him! (Yes, I should have thought of it, but I was too busy being disappointed to think).

So, I set the laptop up on the bed where I could see and began to cast off as I was waiting for Dallas to get to Nome. The world was in perfect harmony! It turned out that I was a little bit excited as my first cast off was seriously tight, so I ripped it out and as I was casting off for the second time, Dallas Seavey won the Iditarod 2012. It was sooo exciting to watch him cross the finish line. Having not watched this before, I was struck by how few people were at the finish line, but then I realized they might stand in the cold for 3 hours and only see 3 people cross the finish line this year. Dallas thanked and congratulated his dogs and then my feed died, so I didn’t get to see Aliy come in second, but I took it as a sign from the universe that it was time for me to hit the hay and went to bed gleefully.

….and so each twin has a blanket – completed before their arrival and I am MORE than a little pleased with myself.

Ps. Happy Birthday, Grandma!

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