Friday, February 22, 2013

Flower Shower Socks

Although I don't like knitting gray in the winter, I love gray and knit it anyway. I got tired of these socks before they were finished, but that's expected when I knit with gray in February. 

I love the finished product though! I'm wearing them today, and they're lovely.

 Flower Shower Socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Simply Socks Yarn Company in Slate

I bought two skeins of slate and two skeins of brown yarn when I took a field trip to Simply Socks Yarn Company in Fort Wayne, IN. It was nice to work from two skeins because when I had a bit leftover after finishing the first sock, I felt reassured that I would have enough for the second. This pattern is knit on smaller-than-normal needles (for me, at least), and it has 72 stitches in the round instead of my usual 64. I was relieved to see that I was going to have enough yarn. I did an extra flower on the toes of each just for fun.

The pattern isn't difficult, although the rounds with a k3tog present a challenge. I had a hard time getting the needle to go through all three stitches--I blame the lace holes a couple of rows down--, but since that only happened every sixth row or so, it wasn't too bad. I'd knit these again, and I'd use a solid or semisolid so the pattern doesn't get lost. These are too pretty to use a variegated yarn.

Now I'm off to find something more colorful to knit...

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Knitting and Patience

People believe knitting takes patience. 

68 stitch socks, 1-1 ribbed cuff and 3-1 ribbed leg and top of foot, 
(mine ravelled here)

They're right, in a way. Knitting is slow. The problems comes from people believing "slow" equates to "bad." This is not true. Knitting has improved my life in lots of ways. Here are two of them:
  1. I'm more willing to spend time on handmade things. If knitting a pair of socks takes 16-20 hours--I haven't timed myself because I don't really want to know--, then making five necklaces is a very productive way to spend 3 hours. Knitting has changed my perceptions about how long things should take. Someone might look at a project and say, "That'll take me hours!" whereas I'll look at the same project and say, "That'll take less time than it takes to knit half a sock!" Handmade takes time, and I'm okay with that.
  2. I am more patient because I have something that requires a portion of my attention. I started those socks when we spent the day with an aunt and uncle that live out of town. The knitting helped me stay engaged. It doesn't take your entire brain to chat with people, and if I'm required to do it for a long period of time, I have to work hard to stay present. If I have something to do with my hands and a small portion of my brain, I find it easier to stay within the conversation.

Nonknitters don't get this, of course. They think you're not paying attention and you're spending time in stupid ways. They are wrong.

So, I had a nice, simple project to do while in the midst of other things, and Andrew got another pair of socks. Win-win.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bird's Nest Necklaces

Yesterday, I went to a friend's house for a Craft Afternoon. We made necklaces that we had seen on Pinterest.

They are awesome.

Between the two of us, we made ten of them. I'm planning to give one to my mom, one to each of my two sisters, keep one, and I still have a fifth whose destination is unknown.

I'm wearing one today.

The tutorial we used is here, and they really were pretty easy. We had a couple different gauges of wire, and both worked. The thicker is a bit harder to bend, while the thinner is a little harder to get to stay where you want it to, but I liked the look of both of them. I think these will make great gifts!

Update: I gave the Mizzle to my mom, and she loves it. She called to tell me how many compliments she received when she wore it. Score.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I was very busy this weekend with things I would have preferred not to do. By Sunday night, I had reached the point where I was sure if I went to work on Monday, I'd be yelling, "FUCK IT!" like someone with Tourette's.

This would be frowned upon.

I decided to take a personal day.

Around 4:00 p.m., I had a realization.

I'd spent the entire day putting things in order.

I'd ordered checks.

I'd done a trillion loads of laundry.

I'd went through our filing cabinet, filing the pile of paid bills that was getting bigger and bigger and pulling out old bills to shred.

I'd spent a few hours working on my quilt. I spent hours putting small, even squares into larger, even strips and then sewing those strips together.

I spent the evening organizing iTunes and ripping CDs. I cannot stand that iTunes files Jason Robert Brown under J instead of B, so I changed the sort properties of all the artists that annoyed me.

Creating order out of chaos. Organizing, renaming, folding, ironing, sewing.

Today I'm back at work and feel much calmer.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Boys Count, Too

At the synagogue where I work, there's a large early childhood center. They have a big auction, and one of the teachers asked if I would knit something.

She wanted a matching scarf and hat set for "mommy and me." I hope this means that she wants an adult and a child sized thing, 'cause that's what I did.

I told her that I wouldn't knit hats. The people at this auction will have kids of varying sizes. Scarf length can be faked; hat circumferences cannot.

I knit those floofy scarves--you know the ones I mean.

Ruffle Scarf #5440 (mine ravelled here),
knit in Patons Pirouette in Lavender

Knitting these two scarves was a buzz. SO FAST.


One ball makes one scarf, so I made them the same length. I hope that little girls will like to wrap floofy scarves in ways befitting princesses and movie stars.

I realize this is based on an illustration on the front of a children's book that I saw in the library display case. It's possible I am not correct in this hope.

Anyway, shortly after the coworker asked me to knit the stuff, my inner liberal began to get angry.

Really? A Mommy and Me scarf set? Because only mommies are important? Because girls like to look like their mommies but boys don't want to look like their daddies? Why not make a mix and match scarf set SO ALL FAMILIES CAN BE HONORED.

You see where this is going.

Father & Son scarves (2x2 rib for 20 sts for adult and 12 sts for child),
knit in Lion Brand Homespun, Nouveau color
mine ravelled here

Really, I'm grateful I was able to stop myself here and not insist on knitting for every possible family combination. Two daddies and one daughter! Two mommies, one daughter, two sons! One grandma and two grandsons!

I hope no one infers from this that I don't believe other types of families are just as important as more "traditional" families, whatever that means.

I just want to get back to knitting for myself.

Friday, February 1, 2013

How It Began

My mom has started a knitting group at her local library. The last time we met, there were two people who wanted to learn to knit. Mom helped the kid, and I helped the adult, who, for ease of typing, will be called Adult.*

The Adult was very hard on herself. She apparently expected to be shown how to do a knit stitch and then be able to knit.

The Adult said mean things about herself and her ability to learn new things. The Adult compared herself to the Child. I kept saying reassuring things to the Adult, but I'm not sure I made any impact.

I told her that nobody learns new things immediately. Nobody picks up a skill, does it perfectly from the beginning, and spends the rest of her life impressing others effortlessly.**

I am probably the most advanced knitter in the group, and it seems that someone always says something about my skill that makes me uncomfortable.

Yes, I knit awesome things. I do not design those things. I follow the instructions other people write. Basically, I can read and follow directions. This is a great skill, but not miraculous.

More importantly, I have not always been a good knitter. Mom tried to teach me at least twice before I finally understood.

There seems to only be one thing to do. I have decided to carry my first washcloth in my knitting bag so I can show people How It Began.

For the record, this is How It Began.

Sorry about the shadows. I'm pretty rubbish at the photography bit.

Anyway, let me walk you through this First Washcloth. I do this not because I doubt your intelligence, but because I realize this looks nothing like what it's supposed to.

This pattern starts with a few stitches, increases every row with a yarnover a couple stitches in from the end, and then decreases once you get a washcloth that's about half the size you want. 

You can clearly see where my mom was present.

Then she wasn't, and I kept forgetting to put in the yarnovers.

Then I forgot to decrease for, well, most of the rows.  That's why it goes straight for awhile.

At the end, when I showed it to Mom, she was quiet for a moment and then said, "Let's just bind off and start again, shall we?"

On my second washcloth, I dropped some stitches, didn't know how to pick them up, and just secured them with a safety pin and kept knitting. I finished the washcloth, and the next time I saw Mom I asked her to fix them. I had no idea it couldn't be fixed once it was bound off. Mom told me to tie a piece of cotton yarn through the stitches so they wouldn't unravel anymore, and I did.

I use both of those washcloths to wash dishes. 'Cause they work just fine.

New skills take awhile to learn. That's the way it's supposed to be. 

Knit on.

*Please, don't be jealous of my creativity. Not everyone can be this gifted.
**If there is someone like this, she has a hard time making and keeping friends. I am sad for her.