Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope your day is filled with the human equivalent of this.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Bring It On

I'm ready.

The thick gray cowl, mittens and hat went on the walk with Dexter first thing this morning.

I wore the more colorful cowl, mittens, sweater, and socks to work.

Ravelry links:
Clara Cowl
Swirly Mittens 2.0
Zig Zag Chevron Hat
My Favourite Things Infinity Scarf
Helleborus Yoke Sweater
Grieving Socks

This is one of those days when it is impossible not to feel smug as a knitter.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ribbed Hat and an Update

I've made Andrew a few hats, with varying degrees of success. Last year, he was wearing a storebought hat. It was a nice storebought hat, but I've begun to find storebought winter accessories slightly offensive. He told me that the storebought one was lighter weight, and he needed that when the weather wasn't extremely cold.

Fair enough. I could make that. So I made him the Brain Wave hat. It's a great hat, but I realized that it's not really lightweight. Sure, it's lighter than a worsted weight hat, but it's still stranded knitting. Even in fingering weight yarn, stranded knitting is dense.

I have remedied the situation, making a hat that is one thickness of fingering weight yarn. Lo, the Ribbed for His Pleasure Hat.
knit in Knitpicks Chroma Fingering, Misty Morn colorway

This is not challenging in the sense of technique. It is challenging in the sense of patience. There are 160 stitches in a round, and it's entirely in 2x2 rib on size 2.25 mm/US size 1 needles. I started it on dpns, but switched to a circular and am very glad I did. I had to buy the right size circular, but it was worth the money. Forty stitches on a single dpn is just a few too many. They kept trying to jump off the needle.

I persevered. Snug. Lightweight. Covers the ears.

Andrew's adorable. Who wouldn't knit a jillion stitches for this guy?

Update: Anyone remember my Year of the Heifer? It didn't work. I've decided that's okay. A bummer, but okay.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A New Beginning

My mom taught me to knit by knitting a washcloth.

Well, something slightly resembling a washcloth. 

Anyway, two of my friends were married Tuesday. I thought hard about what to make for them.

What better than something that always makes me think of new beginnings? I knit two plain washcloths in colors I thought they would like. 

knit in Lily Sugar 'n' Cream in color 2235

I also made one that was fancier and love-ish.

Heart Dishcloth (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks Dishie in Jalapeno

May their life together be simple, beautiful and strong. May it be filled with love and happiness. Congratulations, guys!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cascade Socks

We're here to sing and cheer 'neath our Hoosier sky
for the team that's from Cascade High.

 We'll fight tonight. We'll win that fight for vict'ry is our cry.
Throughout the north, the south, the east and the west, we'll protect our fame.

No matter where we go, the folks who see us know
that Cascade is our name.

I've knit five pair of socks for my oldest sister. Every one of them is predominantly red. Granted, red is her favorite color, but I still need to branch out. My niece and nephew are in 9th and 8th grades respectively, so my sister spends a lot of time at school functions. I think these socks in the high school's colors will get a lot of wear.

Cascade Socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Ladybug Fiber Company 400 Sock 80/20 Self-striping
in custom-dyed Cascade Cadets colorway

Go, Cadets!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Felt Ornaments

I'm not even sure what started it. It was probably Pinterest. You know how it is.

I became obsessed with felt Christmas ornaments. Yesterday, I made a dachshund for my mom with similar coloring as her dog, Oscar. (Get it? OSCAR WEINER?!)

Inspiration from here (scroll down)

I made a chicken one for a cousin who raises chickens and collects chicken-related stuff.

Inspiration from here

And I made a couple Star Wars ones for a friend who is a Big Fan.

Inspiration from here

These are fun and fast. Well, relatively fast. These are fast if you're comparing them to knitting. (That's another positive thing about knitting. It's changed my perception of time. Stuff like this doesn't take long. The fabric already exists! I'm not making it from string!) They're also really inexpensive to make. Sheets of felt were $0.29, so I bought a rainbow's worth for a few dollars.

Want to see some others that caught my eye? How about these vintage-looking ones, this fancy one, these that are probably easy if you understand how to use a sewing machine (I don't, particularly), and these are beautiful. Have fun!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

This Is Not Small

“That’s how it is at first. You knit to save your life.”

Scarlet, a character from Ann Hood’s The Knitting Circle says that to a new knitter as she’s reassuring her that her scarf will be done quickly. Sometimes when you hear something, does it ever strike you as So True that the words almost physically hurt?

That’s how these words were.

I work a full-time job in which knitting has no place except at lunch and perhaps while fighting a virus on a workstation. My life does not revolve around knitting, but it is important and is the way I choose to spend a significant amount of my time.

I knit because I can see progress. Whatever else is happening in my life, whatever makes me feel like I’m just running around in circles, I can see progress in knitting. I had 4 rounds done. Now I have 10. I have created 6 rounds of a tangible thing. This is not small.

I knit because it is creative. One of the lines in Rent, my very favorite musical*, is “The opposite of war isn’t peace. It’s creation.” Life can feel destructive. Sometimes I can feel destructive. When I knit, I put creative energy into the world. This is not small.

I knit because it makes me immortal…. sort of. I want my knitwear to be used, and that means that it will wear out. It will get dirty. It will even get lost. Some though, will outlive me. This is not small.

I knit to show people I love them. I love you, and I will knit you stranded mittens. I love you, and I will knit you kneesocks. I love you, and I will knit you fingerless gloves depicting gay deer sex because it will make you laugh. I love you, and I will custom order yarn so it is the perfect colors for your favorite team. I love you and I will knit boring socks out of scratchy yarn for you because you want to hang them on a peg on your wall. I love you, and I will knit you as many pairs of socks, as many hats, as many scarves as you want because my life is infinitely richer with you as part of it. Knitting allows me to create a tangible item that says, “I love you so much that I invested hours and hours of my life making this for you.” This is not small.

I knit to honor others. I knit a baby hat for an expectant mother** because I recognize that creating another human being is an astonishing miracle. I have no desire to do that myself, but I recognize it’s a bfd. A hat isn’t enough, but it’s something. You spent nine months giving your body over to this task, and you’ll spend the rest of your life raising that kid. I honor that with a few hours of my own time. It’s not enough, but it’s what I can do. This is not small.

I knit because sometimes it’s the only thing I can do. When my sister called to tell me Grandfather had died, I picked up sock yarn on my way out the door. Grandfather was so important—is so important—to me. He is the reason Andrew and I have a good marriage. With Grandfather and Grandma, I knew it was possible and that I just had to work to make it happen with someone who wanted to work to make it happen as well. When he died, it felt like a light went out. In the days that followed, my hands made the motions they knew—over and over and over. Everything had shattered, but doing this thing that I knew how to do meant that maybe, maybe I wouldn’t shatter, too. This is not small.

Maybe I do knit to save my life. 

May every single person have something they can do that saves her life as well. So say we all.

*Please don’t tell me if you don’t like Rent. I try to be reasonable, but it would be difficult for me to look past that admission and still be your friend. I know that’s a failing of mine, but do try to accommodate it for both our sakes.

**I am passionate in my belief all people are valuable. I believe the father is important. However, I believe the father isn’t as important as the mother when the mother’s body is involved. She’s the one who is pregnant. She is the one who gives birth. She is the one who feeds the baby with her own self. That’s important. That doesn’t make me a rabid feminist. It makes me honest about biology.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


I finished Colette! The gray race is won.

Colette (mine ravelled here),
knit in Lion Brand Superwash Merino Cashmere, Color 150 Slate

It's not a difficult knit, but it's not terribly interesting. Most of it is stockinette, although you wouldn't think so from looking at it. The two fronts are knit only to the diamond pattern, so they're primarily stockinette. The sleeves and back are primarily stockinette. The focal point of the sawtooth lace is added on at the end, well after you've lost interest in this sweater. I suggest looking often at Rachael Herron's to stay motivated. So pretty!

There's a TON of seaming. So. Much. Seaming. I had said there were eight, but that was not including sewing the sawtooth lace pieces along the front edges, so there were really ten. It was not for the faint-hearted. Glass half full: I got lots of practice with the mattress stitch.

I think it could have been smaller--I will never wear it closed so I probably could have gone down a size. But I don't think it's radically too big either. All in all, I'm really happy with it, and I plan to wear it to my family's Thanksgiving!

Now, back to Christmas present knitting...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Delias eucharis Socks

One gray project finished!

Delias eucharis Socks (mine ravelled here),

These socks are stunning. I love them very, very much.

They're not fast, but they're worth it.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Another Benefit of Knitting

Knitting does a lot of good things. It keeps the brain active. It develops fine motor skills. It supports a slew of small businesses. It keeps me from killing people in a waiting room. It allows me to show people how much I value them in a concrete, unique way. It provides patterns for the cat to lie on while I'm trying to knit in the evening.

It also keeps me humble.

I'm knitting the requested Packers hat. No problem. I'm doing four-row stripes, and I'm knitting the first row in every stripe so my purl bumps don't show. I'm slipping the correct stitch to make a jogless stripe.

I'm rocking this hat, in other words.

This afternoon at lunch, I smugly get ready to decrease.

Round 1 done.

Round 2 - Huh. This doesn't line up the way I'd expect. Still, it's probably right.

Oh. I've run out of stitches but haven't yet run out of pattern instructions.
I'll just tink (unknit) this row.

No, I probably don't need to tink the whole round. I'll just adjust on the next round.

Except I can't figure out how to do the next round since the first two don't line up. 
No problem. I'll tink the second decrease round.

Huh. I still can't figure out why this doesn't line up.

I'll tink the first round.

No, that's silly. Surely I don't need to tink the entire round. 
I'll reknit those stitches I took out.

Um, I still can't figure out how to fudge round 2.

This went on for longer than I care to admit. Of course, I ended up tinking both decrease rounds completely. When I started round 1 again, I realized that I had been doing something entirely different than what was written. What I was thinking, I don't know, but there was no way I was ever going to be able to fudge those.

After a half an hour, it still pretty much looks like this:

Cambridge Watchcap (mine ravelled here),
knit in Berocco Vintage, 5152 and 5121

Thanks, knitting. I probably was getting a little overinflated.