Sunday, December 27, 2015

Brown and the Antidote

Simply Socks had a sale, and Andrew picked out some yarn. I was in the mood for some mindless knitting, so I made him socks.

 Ribbed socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Crystal Palace Yarns Sausalito, Chipotle colorway

I did plain old k2, p2 socks over 68 stitches.

I cannot express how boring they were. I know better than to knit with brown in the winter. Only stubbornness kept me going. Once I was done, there was only one thing to do to restore equilibrium in my brain.

Ribbed Fluormanias (mine ravelled here),
knit in Schachenmayr Regia Fluormania Color, colorway 7187

Better. Much, much better.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

WIP Ornaments

I like to make Christmas ornaments. It started with a cabled ball, then went completely insane, got ahold of myself, then I found a pattern for some awesome knitting-in-an-ornament ornaments, then I made the dove that was stuffed way later than it should have been, and then there were the knitting baskets, then I made some felt ornaments for a change of pace. Last year I made a trillion little socks and a Packers hat. (Packer's? Is it possessive? It's a sign of how little I care about football that I can't be bothered to look it up.) There are even more ornaments than the ones I listed* on my Ravelry page. Suffice it to say, I've made quite a few ornaments, mostly knit, but also painted and decaled and glittered.... 

This year, I thought I might not make any ornaments. A girl has to pace herself. There cannot be an infinite number of ornaments on a finite amount of Christmas tree limbs.

But, you know, maybe I'd take a quick search of Ravelry just to see if there was anything that really spoke to me. But there wouldn't be. 'Cause I wasn't making ornaments this year.

WIP ornaments (mine ravelled here),
knit in teeny-tiny bits of scrap

These are so fast**--just a tiny bit of knitting on size 0 needles, glue wooden beads on the ends of toothpicks (I had those from the knitting-in-an-ornament ornaments already), transfer knitting to toothpicks, wind a bit of the yarn into a ball, and judiciously apply some superglue, hence my last post, and wind some fishing line through the ball to make a loop for hanging.

I know that every speck of the Internet that is in any way associated with making things is telling you that you have time to make something before Christmas. My friends. that may be a dirty, dirty lie. You do not need to make a damn thing. Sit on the couch and read a book if you want. Eat a Christmas cookie. Stare at the lights on the tree and lose track of time. Listen to the Space Cowboy/Lady Gaga song "Christmas Tree." Do whatever you want that makes you happy. I mean it. Take care of yourself. The holidays can be rough.

However, if you want to make something, I recommend these.

Happy Christmas, everyone.

*in this very long, linky paragraph that no one really wanted to read

**I'm using a knitter's sense of time. These aren't as fast as placing an amazon order. These took me way, way less than an evening. Way less. Seriously way less. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Simplest is Best

Trying to figure out what to say when I arrived at work:

"Sorry I'm a few minutes late. I was trying to sand the superglue off my fingers."

Too weird.

"Sometimes when I make things, I get too impatient."

This is not your fault. Superglue is superglue. 
No one has used it without getting it on one's fingers. 
It is a physical impossibility.

"One way I show people I care about them is to make them things."

No. What if everyone at work thinks I don't like them 
because I don't make them things?

"I had a little mishap that needed to be handled."

Terrible idea. My coworkers love drama. 
"Mishap" will become something like, "She burned down her house in a fit of rage."

"Sorry I was late."

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Love in Every Stitch

The owner of Absalom the Destroyer is still having a rough time physically. My reaction to that is to knit her things and worry a lot. You can guess which one is more productive.

It is a testament of my love for her that one of those knit things is a pair of kneesocks in her favorite colorway. Miles and miles of ribbed kneesocks.

Drops Long Socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Felici Fingering in the (discontinued) Groovy colorway 

I'm still searching for the perfect kneesock pattern. I'm excited for her to try these on because I think I may have nailed it. It has an extra-long heel flap and gusset to better fit her foot. It has 80 stitches at the top in a k3, p2 pattern. After a million miles, it decreases down to 64 stitches in k2, p2. I did the decrease over two rounds about an inch apart. Decreasing 16 stitches at once seemed a recipe for weirdness. I honestly didn't follow the pattern except for the stitch count. I just did my normal heel flap, gusset, and toe. If it's not broken...

Once those were done, I was still avoiding the blue sweater and decided to reknit the Fightin' Words fingerless gloves. They were too small to be really comfortable for my friend, and she had requested another pair.

I made the cuff longer than the pattern states and added four more patterned rounds to the top. I count it a victory that I remembered to switch needle sizes every time I was supposed to do so. (It's a lot.) I love these and still may make a pair of mittens for me at some point.

Fightin' Words (mine ravelled here),
knit in leftovers--a mystery black 
and Knitpicks Chroma fingering in (discontinued) Roller Skate colorway

I may not be able to fix what ails her, but I'll do my best to keep her warm.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Salunga Beret

My mother-in-law requested a red hat to wear at Christmas. I wanted to use fingering weight yarn so it could be worn indoors if she wanted. I spent some time wandering around Ravelry until I found a pattern I liked, and pulled a barely-used skein I had in the stash.

The knitting went smoothly, but I had problems with the bind off. I used a different set of instructions for the tubular bind off than I've used before, and it ended up way too tight. I couldn't get it to easily frog, and I was in a bit of a temper after working at it awhile. I ended up with this:

That hat messed with the wrong girl. 

The next day, I did a bind off using these instructions, and everything went just fine.

Perhaps I am easily amused, but I love seeing the difference in lace before and after blocking. This hat called for blocking over a dinner plate, and it added the helpful instruction to weave a piece of waste yard between the ribbing and the main body of the hat. Once it was on the plate, I pulled on the waste yarn to cinch it a bit, which meant that it dried without the ribbing being all stretched out.

It's cute on my head, but it's more stunning in its blocking form.

I think I'll recommend Karen occasionally carry it around on a plate and show it off that way. I'm sure she'll see the reason in the request.

Salunga Beret (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks Stroll Tonal, Gypsy colorway

Monday, November 9, 2015

Hospital Socks

It's been a rough couple of weeks. A close family member had serious surgery that went pear-shaped. She's now in in-patient rehab, and we're not sure what her recovery is going to look like. The day before she moved from the hospital to rehab, one of my bffs went into the hospital with an abdominal abscess we have named Absalom the Destroyer. He's a bastard, and she's still waiting (four days later) to learn what the hospital is planning to do to deal with him.

I tried to work on a sweater, but it's not enjoyable. I haven't been able to figure out why I'm not enjoying it, but I hope it has something to do with the needle. I might try to switch to a longer cable. (I'm grasping at straws. Let's pretend that's not true.) The sweater has potential, but I'm having a heck of a time helping it to fulfill it.

Dalekanium Cardigan (ravelled here),
knit in Mineville Wool Project DK Merino

Of course, I had backup yarn 'cause this ain't my first rodeo. I was amused to see how well the sock-in-progress matched my friend's hospital gown.

Hospital Teacups (ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks' Felici, Teacup colorway

My hope is that both of my loved ones will recuperate quickly and fully, and the clearest memory we'll have of this difficult time is a pair of lovely, striped socks.

So say we all.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Best Effort

Dear knitting gods,

I knit multiple swatches, washing and pinning the final one.

I read through the entire pattern, making notes so I wouldn't miss any "at the same time" nonsense.

I've done my part. Please make sure you do yours.


Friday, October 23, 2015

The Gate With Mood Swings

A lovely blessing...

...unless the left side of the gate is open. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mad Dash to Stash

At the end of my post about the Zig Zags, I put a call out to anyone wanting a hat. My sister said her two boys would like one. We discussed, and I started on a blue dinosaur hat for my 4-year-old nephew.

It was way too big, and instead became another hat for my friend with the big head. (The bigger the head, the more room for the brain, right? Right.)

Ravelled here

Then I tried again on the dinosaur hat and got it right:

Ravelled here

My 8-year-old nephew decided that dinosaurs might be a bit too babyish for a world-weary gent like himself, but color was good. Got it:

Ravelled here

When I thought the first hat might be big, but not SO big, I sent an e-mail out to see if anyone wanted it. My other sister thought my 16-year-old nephew would like another hat. Okay:

Ravelled here

At this point, I was fairly sure I was done with hats for awhile. I'd move on to a nice, juicy sweater.


Except we were taking my mom's dog back to her house after dog-sitting for a week. Then we were headed to the airport to pick up Andrew's family from vacation. That was a lot of time in the car. It didn't lend itself to trying to swatch and figure out a sweater.

Do you know what it did lend itself toward?  Yep.

Baa-ble Hat (mine ravelled here),
knit in Cascade Yarns Pacific (cream), Lang Yarns Silk Dream (blue), 
Ella Rae Classic Superwash (navy--looks black enough for me), 
and Stitch Nation by Debbie Stoller Full o' Sheep (green)

This one's for me! I wanted to make myself this hat as soon as I saw it.

I feel like this post should go down in infamy. EVERY ONE of these hats was knit with yarn I already had in my stash. That never happens. I have more yarn than any one human being has a reasonable right to own, yet I always end up buying yarn for new projects.* I'm fairly sure I've used up all my stash karma and will find that I am 20 yards short for anything else I try to knit from the stash, but that's to be expected. I'm just going to enjoy the moment.

And maybe cast on a pair of socks.

*Actually, now that I think about it, socks are an exception. I have enough sock yarn in the stash to---let's not think about it. Let's just agree that I have a lot of sock yarn.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sparkles for the Five-Year-Old

I was never a big doll fan as a kid. Stuffed animals? Yes. My Little Ponies? DOUBLE YES. Dumping my giant box of crayons out on the floor simply so I could then put them back in organized by color? A THOUSAND YESES. Dolls? Not really.

But my five-year-old niece is, and therefore:

American Girl Lace Dress (mine ravelled here),
knit in Universal Yarn Star Light, color 101

It's knit from the bottom up in a simple lace pattern. You decrease a bunch of stitches for the bodice and knit that in stockinette.

There are two tiny buttons on the back at the neck. The pattern says to crochet loops and sew them on, but I just did simple yarnover buttonholes in the edging. It works great and you know how my crochet skills are.*

The pattern also calls for poofy sleeves knit in the same lace pattern. I chose to do simple short sleeves, edged in garter stitch to match the bottom of the skirt (and hopefully keep it from curling).

Here's a closeup of the lace:

There are tons of patterns written for this size doll, and something in worsted weight would have gone a lot faster than light fingering weight. However, I decided that all dolls need a sparkly, lacy dress (the white has sparkles in it that you can't see in these photos), and I might as well go big if I was going to do it at all. Well, not big-- go small.

You know what I mean.

One Christmas present down!

*Practically nonexistent

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Boot Cuffs

Knitting is many things. Instantaneous is not one of them.

This is about as close as it gets though,

knit in stashed Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in cream

My niece asked for boot cuffs, and I churned these out in one evening.*

I used scrap yarn, weighing it periodically so I'd get the cuffs to match. These are shorter than the pattern calls for, but they work just fine.

I feel grateful she wants boot cuffs and not kilt hose. I think she's going to want more of these.

*It's hilarious that I think one evening is practically instantaneous. How knitting has altered my perception of normal.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Falling Stars Hat

I've owned the Falling Stars kit from Knitpicks for.... a long time. It sits on the shelf and pleads with me whenever I walk into the yarn guest room.

Recently I knit a laceweight sweater as a test knit. I decided if I could knit a LACEWEIGHT SWEATER and then put it in the mail for someone else to enjoy, I surely could knit myself a fingering weight sweater that I'd get to keep.

I decided not to knit the hat that they suggest you knit as a swatch to get comfortable with the colorwork. Then I decided I was a) too lazy to knit a proper colorwork swatch that would then get frogged, and b) not stupid enough to start a very frightening sweater without doing a little bit of prep.

So I knit the hat.

The colorwork is beautiful.

Despite that, I have been looking at it for a month, and I still don't know how I feel about it. I'm not sure I like the purls. I'm not convinced the result is worth the hassle of four thousand yarn colors tangling around one another. I'm not sure I want to try intarsia bobbins even though I own them. (I know. It makes no sense to me either.) I'm afraid the sweater won't fit. I'm worried the neck is too high, and the wool will be scratchy on my delicate self. I am filled with trepidation and can't seem to move past it.

Plus, there will be a steek. Terrifying.

So, I put the hat where I see it all the time and the rest of the kit back in the yarn guest room. It's only been a few years. Maybe I'm just not ready yet.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Zig Zags

I made myself a Zig Zag Chevron Hat. A friend tried it on and then requested one for herself. I borrowed her winter coat, took a trip to Nomad Yarns and bought some Ella Rae superwash.

This is a seriously cute hat and a lot of fun to knit.

Zig Zag Chevon hat (mine ravelled here),
knit in Ella Rae Classic Superwash, colors 11 and 28

Here's a close-up of the hat, because I can:

Can you hear it whispering, "Maaaaaake meeeeee."? I thought so.

I had yarn left, so I looked for some fingerless gloves to go with it and found the perfect pattern.

Do you see how there's one pink stripe that's bigger than all the others? Totally a mistake. But I mirrored it on the other glove, and now I call it a design feature. 

Rachel was happy and looks adorable!

Footnote: Hats are lovely to knit. I knit so many socks and fingerless gloves and mittens, and you'll notice that all of those come in pairs. Hats? Just one. Let me know if you need a hat.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Rainbows all around!

Holly, mom to the adorable kid, and I have been friends since the third grade. (Second grade was rough for us. I was super jealous of her.) She lives in Germany and is in Indiana for a visit, so we pretended yesterday was her birthday even though it's not for another six weeks.

She's asked for a hat:

Ann Budd's Basic Hat Pattern with picot edge, 
using polka dot chart from Hilary Smith Callis' Dots Cowl
(mine ravelled here)

a cowl:

(mine ravelled here)

and Totoro mittens:

 All were knit in Cascade 220 Superwash in 854 Navy and Knit Picks Chroma Worsted in Carnival.

I don't know Totoro, so those didn't strike a cord with me, but I love the hat and cowl A LOT. I'd wear them myself in a heartbeat.

Happy birthday, Holly!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dinosaur Hat

A friend asked me to knit her son a dinosaur hat to match his mittens... which I apparently never blogged. The fact that her kid is adorable is a bonus.

Dinosaur hat, knit in Kelley Green Vanna's Choice 

I used Ann Budd's Basic Hat pattern for 18 months through 4 years. The yarn pretends to be worsted, but the gauge is closer to a bulky. I had to frog and reknit because it was much too big the first time around. (That's what I get for not swatching.)

For the dinosaur spikes, I used this pattern and sewed them to the top of the completed hat. It was cute when I finished it, but it's much, much cuter on Luke's head!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Please do not exterminate.

As a rule, I think you should avoid celebrating the villains. Don't wear a Darth Vader shirt. Don't make a Weeping Angel that will then send you back in time and eat your life force. Don't crochet a Gargamel; that guy's an asshole.

But I knit a pair of socks called Dalekanium. It's an easy stitch pattern and looks great in self-striping yarn. I was powerless against them, which is exactly what they want.

They're toe-up, another thing I usually avoid, However, I was knitting a gift for a guy with big feet, and I didn't want to run out of yarn. It's happened to me before.

They have a teeny-tiny gusset and a short-row heel. I didn't pick up the wraps, and I like the way the heel looks. 

The stitch pattern itself is easy. There's a slipped stitch every fifth stitch on the top of the foot and all the way around the leg. It makes charming loops on the fabric. 

It also makes the sock run VERY LARGE. I ripped back and ended up knitting the smallest size for my friend's man feet. For some reason, the pattern doesn't count the slipped stitches as part of the stitch count. If I knit these for me, and I might, I'll go down to 55 stitches (plus the slipped stitches). The size small is written for 60 stitches. 

Dalekanium socks (mine ravelled here),
knit in Knitpicks Felici, Rustic Cabin colorway 
(discontinued, because Knitpicks hates me)

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Thanks but no!

Recently a very dear friend send me an e-mail:

We're getting Mom and Dad's house ready for their 60th Wedding Anniversary Party on Sep 6. The house should look pretty good in time for the millions of people to arrive. I didn't send you an invitation because I love you. You're welcome.

It is so fanstasic to have people who know me well enough to know that, while I love them very, very, very much, the idea of going to a party crowded with strangers makes me want to crawl under my bed until the event passes.

Rebecca Lynch has made an app for "introjis," which are emojis for introverts. You can find them here. It's one of the few kickstarters I've supported. She gets me.

"Not going, but thanks for the invitation!"
copyright Rebecca Lynch--buy the app here (Android) or here (Apple)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

In Case We Doubted...

In case we doubted the benefits of compost, behold the volunteer tomato plant growing out of my compost bin. I have done nothing but ignore it and whack it back when it looked like it was going to take over the air conditioner.

Compost works!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Something Is Better Than Nothing

I keep thinking I'll take better photos, and then I'll post things. Turns out, that's just not the case. So, bad photos!

I embroidered a couple pillow cases for a friend's birthday:

This friend and I tied for Biggest Bookworm as voted by our high school senior class.
They weren't wrong.

You just have to love whom you love.

I also made another pillowcase for me, using one of the motifs from an earlier pillowcase:

My love of embroidered pillowcases shows no sign of abating.