I knit three Christmas gifts this year. The first was by far the most complicated, but I started those in the summer and have loved them as my own ever since. But I resisted and gave them to another. The other two I didn’t start until December. The first was long-time-coming socks for Mike. I chose the Log Cabin socks and had nothing but trouble knitting them. I couldn’t get gauge right and I don’t think I’ve ever ripped out and started over so many times for a project I actually finished. Anyway, they ended up fitting Mike PERFECTLY and he loves them. I used Plymouth worsted and they also wash up so nicely!
The second gift was for my cousin. I made up a pattern for some quick-to-knit fingerless gloves. I called them “Peek-a-boo” because the cables appear randomly and disappear just as randomly. I just put a cable twist in when I felt like it, so the gloves were different, but still similar.
When a year begins, as Beth pointed out yesterday, you never really know where it’s going to end up. I began this year all fired up about socks, but got diverted into some other areas. I did finish 12 full pairs and three singlets, so while I didn’t actually meet my 14 pair goal for 2007, I didn’t miss by too much. One of the fun things Kristen and I did recently was to volunteer knitted items as prizes for an office food drive. (And we got a scarf donated from Kira, too. Thanks, Kira!) That was fun, and gave me a motivational boost. One example of this pre-Christmas knitting was my Misty Garden scarf, from the Scarf Style book, in purple mohair.
You may remember the yarn from an earlier picture, in which our family’s knitting action figure, Hank, was scaling my yarn basket.
I also took a random turn into crocheting this year. I’ve had no interest whatsoever in the art of crochet before now, but have suddenly become determined to master it. I channeled this determination into one Christmas present, the Garden Scarf, from The Happy Hooker, using up some leftover Lamb’s Pride in the process:
Here’s a closeup of my favorite flower, in raspberry. I took a liking to it.
I’ve discovered, as many others already know, that crocheting is really handy for using up stash yarn, which I have in volumes. I’m trying to use some up in an afghan. Although I can’t locate the original pattern anywhere, I’ve seen enough Babette pictures to try to attempt a similar afghan on my own, and have created in the last couple of days some “babette-like” squares. These are before blocking, and with only a few hundred more to go.
One of the laws of the universe is that the process of using up one’s stash actually attracts more yarn, especially around the holidays. From my mother-in-law in Boise came this yummy yarn: Boise Yarn, from Boise!
And finally in today’s news (as they say on NPR), I received for Christmas the needles I was coveting from Knit Picks, Harmony Wood 6″ Double Pointed Needle Set US Sizes 0-3, to be precise. I love them—smooth, sharp points, and each size comes with 6 needles, providing insurance against loss.
Just what I need to kick off another big year of sock knitting!
Well, I had a crappy year in many respects, but I managed to stay productive. Here are some of the things I made over the last 12 months:
And, it was February when I kicked off the Expand Your Stash extravaganza! What a great idea, if I do say so myself. And now, if I wanted to (which I don’t), I could participate in Knit From Your Stash this year – which means I was extremely successful last year! Here is just a sampling of the lovely yarns I picked up over the year:
What do you say… Are you up for Expand Your Stash ’08?!
OK. I had my doubts about the yarn, but I have to say I think I love this sock. The yarn feels much nicer knit than it does in the ball. And maybe I just don’t have very sensitive feet, but I don’t find it to be scratchy or rough to wear.
I can’t wait to finish the 2nd and start wearing them. I’ll be writing up this pattern for the Knitzi website.
This shows the full range in color of the yarn. The light purple seen on the toe was just about to start (after the grey) when I bound off.
Many people were supplied my knitting habit this Christmas. Here is some of it:
I’ve been wanting to get those KnitPicks Options interchangeable needles for a while but haven’t been able to bring myself to make the purchase since I have a perfectly good set of Denise needles. I like the Denise but they just don’t work well with some yarn. I’m looking forward to trying the KP ones. There is also a set of KP sock needles. I’ve also been wanting the Barbara Walker Treasuries for a while, too. I got the first two for my birthday and the others for Christmas.
I’m really loving the Knitting Nature book. Of course there are a few off the wall items but many of them are beautiful and very wearable. I’m dying to make the Ram’s Horn sweater and may start it as soon as my Minimalist Cardigan is done (so, no time soon!).
Nick wants to start making Knitzis in exotic woods and I received the first one he made of Wenge, a hardwood from Africa. Ava loves it, too!
Christina surprised me with a lovely gift:
She worked on these fingerless gloves over the summer, all the while lying to me about who they were for. I love everything about them – the color is perfect, the stitch pattern is very cool, and I love the length! See better pictures here, on Ravelry. She also gave me one of those magnetic chart holders that I’ve been wanting for a long time.
My dad also gave me a gift certificate to a yarn store in Windsor. Maybe I’ll put that towards some yarn for the Ram’s Horn!
I’m really glad I decided to skip the Christmas knitting this year – it just about did me in last year! Instead, I’ve been slowly getting some of my own knitting done. I’m still plugging away at the Minimalist Cardigan but it is slow going. I have also been working on another hat/socks baby set for some friends. You’ll see pictures of those when the socks are done.
About a week ago, I decided that I needed to get something at YarnMarket.com to finish off a gift I’m putting together. While there, I decided to take a quick peek at the sock yarn. They had the new Noro Kureyon Sock yarn in stock and I couldn’t help but get some. I just love those colors. The yarn is just like the regular Kureyon – a little scratchy and uneven – and I’m not sure if it’ll make good socks, but I’m giving it a try.
What do you think? I think they’ll go pretty quick. Just like when I made a Kureyon sweater, I’m eager to get to the next color, so I just keep knitting. I made up the pattern and used the magic cast on.
I also made a super-quick pair of fingerless gloves to keep at work. At the first mention of heating failure, I knew I needed a new pair. This yarn is pretty awesome. It is Nashua Snowbird, a wool and alpaca blend. Very warm. The mitts are just 2×2 ribbing with a gusset thumb. Simple yet effective.
And the pattern is now available for free! I’m thrilled with how this sock turned out. The yarn is awesome – I really love that Wollmeise (these socks are in Spice Market, medium intensity).
Other things I like about this sock: the turned down cuff (no ribbing) and the 3 needle bind off (no kitchener).
It is a lovely sock, if I do say so myself. Give it a try!
knitml. huh. an ravelror’s able to see the group on ravelry?
A quick Christmas project I snuck in as a revamp of an old favourite. This little set was knit for one of Mike’s first students. She is a mother now and recently got back in touch with Mike. She’s a sweet girl and I hope this set looks adorable on her little girl.
The hat pattern is from Oneskein and is one of my favourite fast-knits. The mitts are of my own devising.
I have to admit that I have always liked the idea of knitting socks. And I have may a few pairs of socks for babies, but I have never been able to finish a pair for myself or any other grown up. My gauge is usually too loose and I end up having socks that would fit a horse – even when knitting with size 0 needles! When I saw the snowflake socks in the new IK, however, I decided to give sock knitting another try. Since I do a lot of two color knitting I figured these might keep my attention longer. I am only on the first sock, but they seem to be working out pretty well. Here is a picture of the side.
I really like the way the gusset decrease worked out. Here is a picture of the front.
I am using a yarn from knit picks called Telemark. It is a bit heavy for socks, but since my feet are always cold, these should be fine. If I were to try another pair of two color socks, I would definitely not pick such a dense yarn, but I doubt I will be knitting another pair any time soon. Although I really like the way these socks are turning out, they take a lot longer than mittens!
I had a burning desire to crochet a scarf, even though I don’t know how to crochet, and not just any scarf, but the Zen scarf that I found in my daughter’s Crochet Pattern-a-Day calendar for this year. I felt compelled to drop everything in progress — hats, socks, handwarmers — to get this out of my system.
- My first attempt consisted of trying to get past the starting chain, while looking up each and every abbreviation in the pattern multiple times. That ended in a tangled mess.
- The second attempt got me into the pattern further, but the sides of the scarf were bulging in various directions.
- The third attempt got me 3 inches of scarf, but I became convinced (and rightly so, it turns out) that in the printed version there were three extra turning stitches called for between rows two and three. (It made me proud to discover that this was corrected in the online version — I caught an error in my first ever crochet pattern).
- The fourth attempt yielded 4 inches of scarf, but yikes, I got confused somewhere and the pattern was all wacky.
- The fifth time I thought it was going okay, but when I held it up to check Emily laughed out loud because the end was flaring out while the body of the scarf was getting narrower and narrower.
- Finally, for whatever reason, the sixth time it clicked and here it is:
That took up the first 2 days of the Thanksgiving weekend. On Saturday and Sunday I managed to finish these 3 items, which shows how much faster my knitting is than my crocheting!
Here are two of my sweethearts: 1) Ava in her hat, still at the hospital and 2) Marty in Ava’s hat, when she grew out of it (almost immediately).
P.S. I’ll have some new knitting to show soon!
It has been a while since I’ve been able to knit. I think I needed the break because I haven’t really been into it lately. I’m hoping the break will do me some good and I’ll raring to go soon. Kind of like that guy from the KLF and his No Music Day (which was yesterday). OK. Maybe not, but maybe the time away will do something for my enthusiasm.
In the meantime, I have not been craftless. I’ve been occupying myself with the sewing machine. Over the weekend, I made two of the scalloped baby blankets from Bend the Rules Sewing. One turned out OK and the second turned out really well. The second was given as a gift.
I really love the fabric – I was lucky to find it amongst all the duds at Joann. Ava is keeping the first one (the yellow one) for herself and her baby, Sootie.
In the rest of my spare time, I’ve been furiously sewing Knitzi bags to put in the shop. If the sun ever shines again, I’ll take some pictures and get them up. I think I’ll have to do that today, light or not, since my last batch is just about gone.
And just to get me thinking, here are my in-progress projects that I aught to be working on soon:
- Minimalist Cardigan – the back and most of one front half is done.
- My Nutkin Sock (the pattern is written up and I’ll select a test knitter tomorrow!)
- Drunken Bees Sock – I just need to make one of them!
- Baltic Sock – I’m to the heel on the first sock.
- Endpaper Mitts – I made one this time last year then got distracted with xmas knitting… never went back.
- Embossed Leaves – One sock done.
- Hat for Ava – this hasn’t started yet, but she’ll start nagging soon. It is meant to match her mittens.
Not too bad. Once I get going again, I be able to fly through all of those, I think. Of course, I’ll need a few new projects to keep things fresh!
I do, but not for the shopping. I get so many ideas from the constant stream of catalogs that start around Halloween for the holiday season. So far, a couple things have jumped out at me.
Of course, this one is already in progress. Doesn’t this look just like the Minimalist Cardigan? I do think the sweater pattern has nicer details than this one – namely the cuffs. I’ll take a little gathering over the covered buttons any day! This was from one of the many Chadwick’s catalogs – I get several per week for some reason.
I’m excited about this one. As soon as I saw the rack at the top, I could see all my knitted socks hanging to dry. I tend to wash mine all at once and don’t really have a good drying solution. This just looks perfect – doesn’t take up any room but there when you need it. I’ll be requesting that Nick make one of these for me – between Knitzi orders, of course! Anyone else think this is a great idea? I’m not so crazy about the extending ones at the bottom.
My favorite catalog for sweater inspiration is Robert Redford’s Sundance Catalog. I’m always tempted to order sweaters just to study the construction then send it back (no, I’ve never done it). Take a look at this lovely! Oh, and this one. And this one.
I figured out what my problem was.
Nick now has a Ravelry account (since he is in charge of the Knitzi advertising). He’s been poking around and found my stash (!!!!). I guess it isn’t so obvious when it is all stuffed in the closet. He said: “I’ve looked, most people don’t have 55 balls of yarn in their stash! Why do you have so much.” Of course the answer is that everyone does, they just haven’t taken pictures of it all! Anyway, he actually guilted me into using yarn in my stash to make the mittens. There just wasn’t anything appropriate, but I tried to make due. Bad move.
So I took Ava to the yarn store (Knit A Round in Ann Arbor) and let her pick out her colors. I settled on Berroco Ultra Alpaca and she picked pink (of course), lavender, and blue violet. I was a little surprised by the dark blue. We got home and I charted out the design. Unlike the other ones I stared, these mittens have purpose – they were meant to be. As a side note, I recently purchased Knit Visualizer and I love it. It was so easy to chart these mitten (it just about killed me charting these by hand!).
Ava is very thrilled with these mittens. As she was falling asleep last night, she managed to say that she wanted to go to Grandma Lucy’s to show her the mittens! She was very disappointed that they hadn’t finished drying by morning. I think I’ll have to attach a string to them so they don’t get lost!
So I seem to have been forced into a second career. On Friday Erin lured me to the yarn store because she needed some yarn to make some holiday gifts. Although I thought I was just a pleasant shopping companion, what Erin actually expected of me was:
1. Find yarn for Erin (she picked the colours!)
2. Wind Erin’s yarn
3. Design a pair of mittens she can knit with one of the skeins
Here’s the yarn she selected and Blake in the bag the yarn came in:
So it seems that as Erin’s personal yarn stylist, it is my duty to select the yarn, wind the yarn and design the project. Am I supposed to knit it up too???
But don’t worry…I have a “helper” at home!
Yesterday, I was informed that the kid needs new mittens. Last year’s are lost. My new IK also came yesterday and as we looked through it, she picked out a pair from an ad. I humored her by telling her I’d make them then proceeded to design my own two color, stranded mitts – on the fly. That doesn’t always work out for me.
I got just over half way done the first, just to the neck of the cat design before I realize that I totally screwed up. I tried to rip back, but it didn’t work so I pulled the whole thing out. Before I could even take a picture. And what’s worse, I had to toss the yarn because the thin metallic thread in the yarn broke in several places.
I had a long day on Saturday – buying yarn, visiting with the family, etc… I got home quite late and was exhausted, but I perked right up when I saw that I got a package in the mail. Woo hoo, it was my single sock from Christine. She picked Drunken Bees for me, a pattern I had been eyeing already.
And that lovely yarn is Yarn Nerd‘s 900 MHz in Red Wine. Isn’t it great? What you can’t see is how soft it is. I can’t wait to get going with the matching sock. Here is another shot for you:
And that wasn’t all. Christine also sent me and extra skein of yarn. It is Colinette Jitterbug in Florentina – bright purples, blues, and greens.
Thanks Christine! I really love that sock. It fits perfectly, by the way.
Yes. Even when there is no time for actual knitting, I can always squeeze in a little yarn shopping. That is still considered being productive, right? I went to visit my Dad in Windsor yesterday and made sure to stop at a recently relocated yarn store. It had been located in a part of Windsor that I never, ever got to. Now, it is much closer to where my Dad lives and could even be on the way. It is called Knit One Purl One. They have quite a nice selection (a little too much novelty yarn for my tastes though).
This is Araucania Ranco Multi sock yarn. I really can’t decide if I like it or not, but I was really intrigued by the coloring. We’ll see!
This is Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool DK – destined to become fingerless mitts.
And this is some simple pink sock yarn that Ava picked out for herself. It is Fortissima Socka.
They also have a giant cheesy mural on the outside of the building – a comfy chair with lots of yarn, a cat tangled in the yarn, a spinning wheel in the background… I’ll have my camera with me next time I go!
This past week I was in Monterey, CA for a conference. Of course I had to see if I could pick up some “souvenirs” while I was there. I took a little excursion one town over and went to Monarch Knitting and Quilting in quaint Pacific Grove. My goal was to pick up some single-hue yarn to knit up my Forest Canopy mitts again as a test-knit for my pattern writing. I came away with two things:
A lovely green worsted weight alpaca and some Trekking sock yarn for more fingerless gloves. The picture was actually taken on a rock along the coast as I walked back to Monterey. The picture isn’t very good because I had to hurry and take it. Not only was the yarn blowing away, but I was getting a lot of funny stares from passers-by.
I had a lovely time in Monterey, and I have about a million pictures, especially from the aquarium. Unfortunately, I did not get much knitting done, except on the planes. In fact on the last leg of my flight home (Phoenix to Detroit), I had much interest in my Pomatomus fingerless gloves I am knitting and the Knitzi that was holding my needles. In fact, while the plane was grounded due to mechanical difficulties, I put on an infomercial for the Knitzi products. Beth – I want commission!!!
I’ve been working on converting Cookie’s Pomatomus sock pattern to fingerless gloves. This pattern is very difficult to knit for me, but very beautiful. And I love the colour I picked – Ink (KPPPM).
It’s been slow going, but I will finish!!! I’m just at the point where I have to figure out how to do the thumb gusset…wish me luck!
On a recent flight I managed to finish my item for the infamous “exchange“:
I am really pleased with how they turned out. I might want to do some tweaking on the thumb gusset pattern, but overall I’m happy. Now the challenge will be writing the pattern up neatly and in a way that other people can actually understand. I’m ready for my socks Sherry!!! ;)
I really liked knitting this pattern and I’ve already started knitting the next test version!
I forgot to mention that I went to the first ever Fiber Expo in Ann Arbor on last Sunday. It was pretty small compared to the Michigan Fiber Festival, but it was really nice. I’d guess that there were about 100 vendors. There were also several classes which I did not attend. There was lots of yarn, spinning fibers, and wool-related products. I did get a couple skeins of handpainted yarn.
I got these at the Artisan Knitworks booth. They have a shop in Gross Point Park and carry hand spun and hand dyed yarns produced by designers around the country. The multi-color is Butternut Woolens Superwash Sock and the orange is Dicentra Design Superwash Sock. Both very lovely.
Ava went to the Expo with me and it was strange how many people asked her if she know how to knit. She always replied in the affirmative and everyone chuckled. Once, I prompted her to talk about other things she knows how to do and spinning came up. The woman looked at me with a “Yeah, right!” expression on her face but she played along. She asked Ava if she did the treadle and Ava showed her how. Then she asked if Ava drafted the wool and Ava showed her the hand motions, in perfect form. The woman was blown away!
Oh, and speaking of that darling child of mine, I have to share this:
These pictures were taken at work where she did some early candy collection. It was just warm up for the evening’s festivities. We have too much candy!
I don’t seem to be doing a lot of knitting (or spending time at the computer) lately. My life has been filled with Halloween prep, minor sewing projects, and a bunch of little outings (here, here, and here, for example). We’ve had some pretty awesome fall days, so I’ve been enjoying them!
I have been working on the single sock that will be sent to a friend in a few days (she will finish the pair). You may recall from this post that I was having trouble decided what color to make the sock. I got to the point of turning the heel with both the green (lichen) and orange (amber) that finally decided to go with the green!! Thanks to everyone who helped with the decision.
I made a bunch of changes to the pattern including the number of stitches around, the cuff, heel, and toe. The lace pattern is the same as the original Baltic Socks. Because the stitch pattern makes a lovely scallop, I wanted to pick a cuff that really showed it. For this green sock, I went with a simple garter cuff. The orange sock has a picot cuff (pictures soon!).
The changes to the heel and toe were pretty simple, I used a YO short row heel instead of a wrap and turn – only because I’ve never done the wrap and turn kind. I didn’t think this was the time to start! I also used a YO short row toe with the grafting across the bottom (just like in my Twinkleberry).
All in all, I really like this sock! I like the freedom in sizing that it gives with the plain stockinette sides. I’ll definitely finish the oranges ones (though they may become a Christmas gift). And after all that, I’m feeling a little burnt out on socks. There are so many other options out there!!