Friday, October 26, 2012

Da Bears Are Groovy

The yarn came yesterday!

Groovy Socks (mine ravelled here)
Chicago Bear colorway

She custom dyes yarn in whatever self-striping colors you need. I think this skein looks great, and, as always, I love this pattern with self-striping yarn.

The temperature has dropped over 30 degrees from yesterday to today. It's gray and rainy and cool, and I have a strong desire to curl up on the couch with some peppermint schnappes-spiked cocoa and this sock. I'm definitely going to spend some time doing just that this weekend. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Yarn Equivalent of Chanting

I'm waiting for the sock yarn to arrive for the two pairs of socks I need to knit for Christmas presents.  Last night, I cast on for a washcloth.

Garter Stitch Washcloth (mine ravelled here), 
knit in Knitpicks Dishie, Kenai colorway

Thirty-three stitches, all knit. It looks a bit wonky, but that will smooth out after weaving in the ends and throwing it through the washer and dryer cycles.  Even if it doesn't, who cares? Wonky edges do not diminish its usefulness, and usefulness is all that really matters when it comes to washcloths.*

There's something very soothing about a project like this. Easier than even the simple washcloth Mom used to teach me to knit, there's no counting, no thinking, just doing.

I wonder if I'll have time for another before the sock yarn comes...

*That might be a lie. I've knit a lot of novelty washcloths. Even so, I don't think I own one. All the ones I've kept are the washcloth equivalent of ice water: simple and comfortable.

Monday, October 22, 2012


This weekend, Andrew and I went to a little town called Elwood to visit the House of Glass.

Andrew had gone there as a kid with his grandparents. He had watched them blow the glass, and then his grandparents bought him the paperweight he had seen created. We have two or three small pieces from there that Andrew had before we were married, but I'd never been there. Even though we knew they weren't going to be blowing glass that day we decided to visit the showroom. (And we plan on taking a day off and going to watch them work sometime in the next few months.)

We know this place as St. Clair Glass, and the third generation family member who runs it now is named Joe Rice. Joe is who we talked with this weekend. We were thrilled to hear him tell us about new products he is developing. Vases? Yes, please!

We left with a couple Christmas presents as well as a couple paperweights. One of the ones we purchased was a blue version similar to this:

Can you believe something this beautiful is sold for $20? Click here to see their product page.

It felt great to be able to support a small business owner and artist, even if we didn't spend a lot. Here's hoping the business is able to continue to many more generations!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Couldn't Be Helped

It's not my fault that this happened.

Easter Peep (mine ravelled here)

I KNOW I said two days ago that I wasn't adding anything more to my To Knit For Christmas list, but the sock yarn hasn't arrived yet. Clearly, I had no choice.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

For the Record

Christmas comes on December 25 this year. Today is October 17.

It's time for me to tell the harsh truth: I need to stop adding projects to my queue and pretending I can knit them before Christmas.

This is my list. This is all I'm going to get done by Christmas. No. More. Adding. Projects.

1. Heavy Wool Socks for Kyle: These socks do not mess around. I imagine they'll be worn when he's out doing wintry things like shoveling a sidewalk. I have one done and I've started the second. Since these are knit out of worsted weight yarn, they'll go quickly.

I'm enamored enough by these that I may make a pair for myself and a pair for Andrew... but not before Christmas.

2. Toe Socks for Jake:  When a fourteen-year-old boy writes on his Amazon wishlist, "Bonnie, PLZ knit me some striped maroon and yellow toe socks" I am powerless to do anything but comply. Clearly, he needs maroon and yellow toe socks. The pattern I'm going to use is here:, and I've ordered the yarn. His feet are growing as we speak*, and it will take awhile to knit toe socks for someone with size 10 1/2 (11?) feet.

3. Socks for Dan's sister in Chicago Bears colors: A good friend asked if I'd knit socks for him to give his sister for Christmas. Absolutely. I'm going to use the Groovy pattern again, and I ordered the yarn at the same time I ordered Jake's yarn. There's a seller on etsy who will custom dye striped yarn. I'm waiting for them to arrive.

4. Earflap hat: This one is for a good friend's niece's stolen baby. I mean, she didn't really steal a baby, but she borrows him from time to time when she needs some baby time. I'm sure the parents know.

Anyway, she saw the pictures of the hat and Scottie Dog sweater on the blog and asked how much I'd charge to make a similar hat for a one-year-old. There's no reasonable way for me to charge someone for knitting. If I charged an hourly rate, nobody could afford it. I told her I'd do it if she'd make a donation to Heifer; that seems like a good solution. This will just take a couple evenings to knock out.

That's the end of the Christmas knitting list.

It doesn't seem like much as I write it out, but I have to remember that there is stuff that will take up a lot of time during the next couple of months. There is shopping and wrapping and Christmas cards and tons of family obligations and cooking and baking and I'm still expected to work my full-time job (unbelievable that I haven't convinced work to give me two months off around the holidays).  So, three pairs of socks and a baby hat.

There. I've said it. It's on the Internet for a couple billions of people to read.  That's all I'm doing. I will not let myself get stressed out about knitting Christmas gifts, and I will not say yes when someone asks me if I have time to make something for them. If they're not on the list on October 17, the answer has to be no.

Okay, maybe I'll make a Christmas ornament out of this, too, but that's it.

My cousin Kathy would really love one of these...

*I was proofreading this, and I saw I had written "foot" instead of "feet." He definitely has two feet. Freudian slip?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I just finished Tom's Boring Scarf. It started as a Railyard Scarf with the purl row omitted:

But it was deemed that the pattern was too much. He wanted a nice, plain stockinette scarf that he could wear indoors.

Boring Scarf, knit in Premier Yarns Serenity, Charcoal colorway 

It's 40 stitches across, 4 on each edge in garter stitch and the other 32 in stockinette. I knit it on size 6 needles, which gives the fingering weight yarn some nice drape. 

Another Christmas present finished!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Easy Is Not To Be Despised

Holly's husband, father to the baby for whom I was knitting, asked for a hat. Well, I'm not quite sure he asked for a hat. It was discussed that he needed a hat, but that's very different from wanting a hat.

Tom tried on three hats I've made for Andrew, and Tom liked the simplest and most boring one.  

Hot Head Hat (mine ravelled here) knit in Cascade 128 Tweed

It's the Hot Head pattern from the original Stitch 'n' Bitch book.  Say what you will about this book, but I love it. I think it's very clearly written, and I used it a lot when I first learned how to knit. It has some nice patterns--I've knit five of these hats so far--and it's the book I recommend for new knitters.

I had leftover yarn from the Hellborus Yoke sweater, and I think it's a great fit for the pattern and Tom's tastes. It's a very fast knit since the yarn is bulky, and I finished it in an evening. Andrew tried it on before and after blocking and gives his approval on the fit. (He has strong feelings about how much a hat should cover the ears. Since I rarely wear hats*, I just go with it.)

Another Christmas present marked off the list, and hopefully Tom will have a warm head as he traipses through the streets of Wuerzburg, Germany.

*Blame the bangs.

Friday, October 5, 2012


Okay, one more baby present.

For now.

Bunny Beanie (mine ravelled here),
knit in Jo-Ann Sensations Angel Hair

Holly told me she thinks hats with animal ears are adorable. She may be right.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Baby Quilt

Perhaps oddly for my age, I have very few close friends who have kids. When someone I'm close to gets pregnant, I enter a period of stunned amazement. I spent the next few days repeating to anyone nearby, "She's having a baby. There's a human growing in her uterus." It's amazing to me that the entire human race doesn't spend much of its time saying this. I mean, really, being pregnant is crazy and awesome. It's growing a human in your uterus. Wow.

Once the shock recedes a bit, I have an uncontrollable urge to make things for the family. That woman is making a human. The least I can do is make some cute knitwear.

While I'm firmly in the camp for gender equality, and while I recognize that a lot of the time this means not treating males as stupid Neanderthals the way the advertising world seems to, I'm all about the mom in these cases. It's not that the fathers are unimportant. It's that the woman is growing a human in her uterus. 

Holly and I had talked about what knitwear she wanted for the new baby. I was happy, happy, happy to do that, but I felt the urge to make her something she wouldn't know about.

One of my sisters has made baby quilts, and I have that Epic Quirky Quilt that I'm working on for myself, so I decided I'd make a baby quilt. Then I immediately called my mother, made her do math with me on the phone, and begged her to come help me. She did.

This is a simple block quilt. It wasn't simple for me though. My sewing skills are very, very limited. It's definitely not perfect, but I don't think it will fall apart and anyone who examines the seams deserves to find them flawed.

I tied it with white wool in the hopes that it will continue to felt during washing and drying, holding the quilt's layers more securely together.

Besides having a surprise gift for Holly, making this quilt had another benefit. I stopped being so afraid of the Epic Quirky Quilt. I've started working on it again, and I'm trying very, very hard to enjoy the process and not think about how long it's going to take me to sew together a bajillion little squares.

I haven't succeeded in that yet, but I still have hope.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Scottie Dogs Cardi and Hat

The friend who is having a baby was born in the Midwest, met her husband in Edinburgh, Scotland and now lives in Germany. She has a soft spot for Scotland, naturally, and clearly her baby needs to be clad in something with Scottie dogs.

Scottie Dog Caridgan (mine ravelled here),
knit in Bernat Softee Baby Solids in Flannel and White
and Lion Brand's Vanna's Choice Solid in Cranberry

Seriously, have you seen anything more adorable than this?

I mean, maybe a photo on an actual baby would be cuter, but this is pretty darn cute. Special thanks go to my mom for working some magic with thread to make the buttonholes better.

Naturally, the baby needs a hat to go with his cardigan.

Man, I love knitting for babies.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tree of Life (Take 2)

This weekend was a baby shower for a very good friend. I knit and knit and knit for the baby, and now I can show you!

Holly requested a Tree of Life blanket. I've made one before, but I think this version is a vast improvement.

Baby Tree of Life Throw (mine ravelled here)
knit in Caron Simply Soft Solids in white

On this version, I took out the tulips from the middle section and substituted a fancy cable that DetroitKnitter created. The tulips pulled the fabric in awkward ways, especially if, as I was, you were creating them in acrylic yarn that doesn't like to be blocked.

I also used a different yarn. All acrylic is not created equal, and the Caron Simply Soft is a lot softer than the Lion Brand I used on the first version. Both show the cables really well.

I used the leaf border again, even though many people have substituted moss or seed stitch for it. I think the leaves are very pretty and worth the fussiness. I did not try to knit it on as I created it. I did that last time, and I wasn't thrilled with the look of the join. This one I sewed by hand, and I think it turned out much better.

My friend properly oohed and ahhed over it, and she said she wasn't sure she could actually use it with her baby. Sweetheart, that baby is going to poop all over this blanket, and it's fine. That's what acrylic is for!

More baby knits tomorrow!