Monday, June 22, 2009

A Weekend of Piping Competition and Knitting

On Saturday our band, Celtic Cross Pipes and Drums, competed in our largest competition of the season, the St. Andrews Highland Games in Oakbrook (Chicago). The area, like most of the Midwest, was wet and muddy from the storms that have passed through recently. With temperatures in the 90's, we all cleansed our pores in a big way. Wearing wool kilts, thick wool hose, wool caps, and shirt with tie in hot humid weather could be called insanity, but we call it piping. [Digression: At least there were no cicadas as there were two years ago. After their 17 year hibernation underground they were out and about in swarms. The sound of our drones must have been like their mating call as they were very attracted to the pipes, landing on us, crawling up our limbs, etc. That competition was like one of the levels of Dante's Inferno.] This year the GOOD NEWS is that our band took second place in our level. We were 1st in piping and drumming but placed 4th in ensemble. That brought us to second place. Although it is more fun to be first, second is very respectable and we were pleased overall. Our next competition is in September in Waukesha WI. Next Sunday we have a parade in Marseilles IL. I'm hoping the 90 degree heat abates by then.

After an exhausting and dehydrating Saturday (left at 7:15 AM and arrived home at 10 PM) I didn't make it up in time for 8:30 AM church. We went to the 11 AM service, the more contemporary one, which was interesting since we haven't done that in a while. We saw people there we have never seen before. In fact, we could almost be in a different congregation altogether. Afterwards we went out for breakfast/brunch at The Denhart Baking Company , a delightful establishment that is located right on the Square in Washington. Both the food and service were great, and as for the atmosphere, what could be more fun than an old bank building, lovingly restored with creaky wood floors, a vault, and teller window (to pay your bill)? The prices are very reasonable also. On Friday night we went with friends, Carol and Dave, to dinner in the C-Note Pub, also part of the Denhart establishment. Bob and I love the sweet potato fries. We both had reuben sandwiches with the sweet potato fries. Yum. Kudos to Tom and Judy Gross for restoring this area of our town square.
In the afternoon I listened to my iPod while doing some alterations on Liesl, the cardigan I made from Ysolda Teague's pattern. I shortened it by about two inches. That was easy. Then I decided to add buttonholes. The original pattern has buttonholes knitted in as you work from the top down. I wasn't sure I wanted buttonholes or where I wanted them so I left them out.

My method was as follows:

I used a two-stitch I-cord border. Along the two front borders and using a needle two sizes smaller I picked up stitches at a rate of 3 to 4; that is, pick up 3, skip one. I then attached the I-cord border: Cast on two stitches. *Knit one, slip one, knit next stitch from border, PSSO. Slip two stitches back to left needle. Repeat from* I worked the left side first as this would be the side where the buttons would be. I tried it on at this point and like the way the border looked and the way it keeps the front corner from sagging down so far. That looks cute on Ysolda but not so cute on me.
On the Right Front border I marked where my two buttonholes would be. I picked up the border stitches and adjusted the second buttonhole to align with a place where I was skipping a stitch in the pick. When I came to the two marked spots I knit two rows of I-cord without attaching to the border. This made a nice snug buttonhole for my large buttons.
The buttons are not matching and I like that. I just dive into my jars of old buttons and find two similar buttons, same size but not matchy-matchy. Usually I put buttons in odd numbers but two looked best on this garment. When sewing the button on the lacy fabric it really helps to put a smaller button on the back side of the fabric to hold it securely.

Although I used cotton and short sleeves for my lacy sweater, it is amazingly warm. I know I will enjoy it this summer and beyond, especially in air conditioning. Liesl was a very quick knit. From the photos on Ravelry it looks good on a wide range of sizes. The sizing is very forgiving, too. My size small/med works on my size 8 figure and also on my sister's friend Melody. (see last two photos) who is about a 10/12. The longer length was perfect on her. I could easily make one in a few days now that I know the length I prefer and some tricks for the borders.

This Father's Day ended with calls from two of our three sons and long conversations with both. Son #2 already talked to us for an hour earlier this week. After the phone battery died we started watching The Dark Knight (yea Netflix!). We're not big Batman fans but we wanted to see Heath Ledger's final role. He's good, but as a Crazy Man, Jack Nicholson still beats all.

1 comment:

KPiep said...

Congrats on the good showing at the Piping Competition and also on a new sweater!

By the way...your circle of hell description left me shuddering. Ugh.

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