Thursday, December 22, 2005

I promised to post yesterday but I fell asleep. Oops! Boy, do I have some serious knitting content for you! I had to send a bunch of gifts yesterday in a mad dash so I never took pictures of my mom's sweater or my brother's brioche hat. Neither were too exciting. The hat was white and maroon, since those are the color's of the little brother's college and he's in the basketball pep band. Also, I forgot finished product photos of little cousins wearing elf stockings. They were cute but frankly, my hands will thank me if I never use size 13 DPNs with double-stranded bulky yarn again. That was a recipe for carpal tunnel syndrome! I don't know how big-needle/yarn scarf knitters can stand the achy wrists and hands. Maybe that's why it seems like the trendy knitters either move on to real projects on real needles with real yarn or quit. Don't get me wrong - I don't have anything against scarf-only knitters, I just cannot relate.

OK, so my father-in-laws socks (see dk blue/medium blue sock in progress) are taking forever. I made the mistake of swatching on sz 3 needles instead of the 6s I had intended (the yarn is worsted weight). So now I'm stuck with REALLY thick socks for a man with sz 11.5-12 feet. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! I've been slaving over the first one not only because I need these done by Sunday but also because I need the needles to finish my sister-in-law's second sock (the plum-colored sock is the first in the pair). Nothing like leaving these to the last minute. In my defense, I am a graduate student so it is not as if I've been loafing around for the last few months!

Still, in order to get the gift knitting done, I've rented a stack of movies including Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer , the Marx Brothers' Go West and At the Circus , Mad Hot Ballroom , State and Main and Intolerable Cruelty. Yes, I know - that's a lot. You have to understand that we do not have tv service so movies on DVD or VHS are the only option for sedentary zombie days. I've seen book holders online and I plan on buying one but I just haven't gotten around to it. I would prefer reading but as long as I'm knitting socks on DPNs, that seems a little unrealistic.

This is the point in marathon knitting when knitting seems less fun and more of a pressing obligation. As a result, I frequently knit much less than normal after the holidays and in January. To keep up my progress, I'm going to meet the ladies of Knit Lawrence for an informal meeting on Friday evening. Maybe they can save me from the interminable sock! (Note to self: get to know people with small feet...)

I have three more pictures for you. First, the aforementioned Dr. Seuss socks that my husband doubts any sane human being would ever wear. Second, the unfelted flower pin still needing a center bobble and its ends woven in. The pin will be for my stepsister-in-law. Third, a Christmas stocking I made for my friend Julie last year. Because I was an idiot and did not write down the final dimensions, I asked if I could borrow it so that I could make a duplicate for her husband. We won't likely see them until after Christmas so they won't have a pair of stockings until next year but I do need to make a second one for him. I went to my LYS to look for the same yarn although I didn't see it, I was in a rush so I'll go back later when things calm down to get some. I hope they have it. I don't want to have to go to Kansas City (30 minutes away) for one skein of yarn. Some of you may scoff at that drive but since I'm from Massachusetts, my geography worldview is a little skewed. A half hour drive is way too long for yarn.
I promise to post once the gifts are finished and before I wrap everything up.

Happy knitting, gift knitters!

Friday, December 16, 2005

No pictures today, as I haven't much to show for myself. I'M DONE WITH FINALS! Yay. I don't even care how I did - I'm just happy it's over. I had a very heavy courseload this semester so it's a relief to be done.

I'm at the heel of a red and green striped pair of top-down socks. I thought they would be cool stripes but the sock looks more like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. *sigh* I probably won't give these as a present because I don't know anyone that's really into Dr. Seuss socks so I'll probably keep them. I have no pride. I'll wear red and green striped socks.

I saw these labels last year but I forgot to bookmark them. Check them out for your holiday gift knitting. The only thing I don't like is that all of the labels are for Christmas with red and green all over. None for birthdays or other gifts. They can't be hard to make in Photoshop. Maybe I'll bribe my husband with cookies to make me some personalized labels. That sounds very Surrendered Wife of me so I apologize, but he does that for a living and frankly, I like making cookies. :-)

In response to some emails, the Lapland Mittens are from Folk Mittens. The fingerless mitts are from Weekend Knitting but you can find similar patterns for the fingerless mittens if you google them. I've seen lots of cute freebie patterns for them.

I'm planning a new brioche hat but I've found a better crown shaping method at Tipper's blog. Her version is cleaner than Melanie Falick's and looks much easier. So FYI, if you start a brioche hat, go get Tipper's quick and dirty crown shaping!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

I finally finished the brioche hat. Here's the FO as well as an in-progress pictures of the hat modeled by an unshaven husband. All in all, I think this is a good pattern, in spite of my initial frustrations with it. The decreases didn't seem to be working right but the stripes look fine at the crown. One of my problems with this hat is that I assumed that it is reversible and it is not. The crown shaping removes all hope of reversibility. I wonder if I could rework the pattern to make it reversible but I'm not willing to invest the time and headache. :-)

I took a break from brioche hats (yes, I plan on making more as holiday gifts) to make some fingerless mittens. I've never found these to be attractive or useful but I thought I'd give the pattern a try because it looked easy and none of my family members like mittens. I only want to knit mittens and no one will wear them because they all prefer gloves. And no, not knitted gloves. Fingerless mittens have risen in my esteem since we are trying to keep our heating costs down and our house is freezing. After all, one cannot type in mittens! These are quick knits (45 mins for each mitt) and I won't be offended if my family members never use them because of the minimal time investment. I think I'll make 3-4 pairs. AND, I'm only using stash yarn because this is a great stash reduction knit!

Next up, the second red mitt, maybe a scarf, but most likely more brioche hats! I really wish I could crank out socks like Alison. Maybe I'll work on that after Christmas.

I'm officially 50% done with finals, with two more tomorrow morning. My mouth is finally recovering from the wisdom teeth and I'm feeling so much better. I'm going back to exercising today at long last. I've been getting really stir-crazy sitting in the house all day studying/knitting. :-)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Convalescence Knitting...

I've been doing a lot of it because the wisdom teeth healing process seems to have ground to a halt. I have an appointment with the oral surgeon today. Hopefully, things will get better so that I can focus on final exams this week. In the meantime, I have a lot of FOs to show for my week of inactivity!

First up, the nearly finished Lapland Mittens! The 2nd one still needs a thumb but since these aren't a holiday gift, they're currently on hold. It's hard to see but there's a light green piece of waste yarn knitted in where the thumb is supposed to go. I like using peasant thumbs in mittens because they are much more fitted and keep the wearer warmer. This first picture is of the palm side:

The second view is of the back of the mittens.
The next project I've been working on is a pair of curly-toed elf slippers from Melanie Falick's Weekend Knitting (one of my favorite books). The curl needs to be secured and I have to add fuzzy trim along the tops still but these were QUICK knits! I made each in under two hours. I used Knit Picks Sierra doubled. One of my cousins is coming to visit next weekend with her 7 year-old and 4 year-old boys so I'm making the little one a red pair and the older one a blue pair. The 7 year-old has a real dramatic streak in him and he loves to play dress up so I hope these won't be too juvenile for him. Any suggestions on what color trim I should use???

Next, I got a start on holiday knitting (yes, I'm just now starting...) and made a simple, easy black hat for my stepdad. He has a large head and allegedly can never find good hats. It is superwash wool so he can wear it on his morning runs and then wash it without a problem.

Finally, I returned to a hat pattern that drove me batty last winter: a brioche hat from the weekend knitting book. I did some research online and found that I wasn't the only one who struggled with it. There's a very important YO every other row that will mess the pattern up if left out. Also, I don't care much for the suggested cast-on method so I used a simple 2-color cast-on that is much cleaner. Here is a progress photo (note the lazy dog in the background):
I hope I'll have this done in the next day or so in spite of exams. I bribe myself to study with knitting so I'll make a little bit of progress this week.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

I did a lot of knitting over the weekend because I was really nervous about having my wisdom teeth pulled today (only local anesthesia... so awful!) I finished the kimono but I haven't yet pieced it. I've been working on mittens because it is so cold right now. These two mittens came from Folk Mittens, one of my favorite books. I can't remember the brand of yarn I used for the gray mitten but it is 100% wool.

The Lapland mitten is made of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes. This will be the fifth or sixth time I've made these mittens. I love the pattern. I've tried many color combinations but I like the suggested combination best. The mittens in this book (for the most part) are unlike other mittens I've made in that they are really thick and fit close to the hand so the wearer never has the slippery mitten problem.

I never knit both mittens in a pair together because it is too boring. Sometimes I have to (e.g. at the holidays) but I prefer to space them out if possible.

Thanks to all of the bloggers for welcoming me to the fold! I think this will be a lot of fun! Now I have to convince the other members of my knitting group to start blogs!

Friday, December 02, 2005


I recently finished this Midwest Moonlight scarf in Rowan Kid Silk Haze from Pam Allen's Scarf Style book. I was really happy to see other bloggers (Colleen and Shireen)
making this scarf because I think it is one of the prettiest in the book.

Also, I'm plugging away on my second Ruffles scarf from the same book. I made the first one on an airplane with some great yarn that I bought at Art Fibers in downtown San Francisco. I was so taken with the yarn that the scarf went very quickly. This second scarf will seemingly never end. I bought two balls of Rowan Felted Tweed at a great sale for this scarf and 300 yds has never seemed so long. If I make any more of these, I will use bigger yarn! *Yawn*

Baby Sweaters

Baby sweaters are some of my favorite things to knit. They are colorful, cute and fast. I've recently become smitten with
Knit Picks Shine
for baby sweaters. It is 60% pima cotton/40% modal, machine washable and so soft. I think it beats any cotton Rowan has ever made. It doesn't split like most cottons and yields a very clean, crisp fabric. Theses are several baby tank tops I made from Debbie Bliss' Baby Knits Book. About 220 yds required for each top. I used scraps leftover from another project.

This second baby sweater was also knit from the same book. I do not know how to embroider and found both the book's instructions and online instructions impossible to understand. I pleaded with my husband for help because he has a very mathematical mind. He quickly learned how to embroider specifically for this sweater. I was very impressed. :-)

Finally, the third picture is of a current project - the kimono from the aforementioned book. I just love this book, by the way. It is also Knit Picks Shine and will have a tie around the back once I finish it. There is a set of trousers to go along with this particular pattern but I can't believe that any knit trousers would retain their shape (especially cotton) or allow for much movement so I will omit them.

These sweaters will go to a family friend whose wife is expecting their first child in February. I am so excited that someone I know is having a baby because it is a rare event for me to actually give a baby sweater to a friend. Often, I save a stack of baby sweaters for charitable auctions.

This is my first foray into the blog world. My goal for this blog is to help keep my knitting habit in check. People often keep food diaries to lose, maintain and control their weight. My hope is that this yarn diary will have a similar function. I knit a lot. I knit in the car (not while driving), in coffeeshops, at home and at other people's homes. I knit when I'm bored, sad, angry, happy and cold. I knit for my friends and family, for other people's friends and families, for my dog (hey, it was only once and it was my first project) and for myself. Some people buy expensive toys, gadgets, clothing, jewelry and therapy to make themselves feel better. I spend a lot less on yarn for the same effect.

So what's with the exercise thing? Well, I often use knitting as a reward for completing assignments, going to work and exercising, all things that I find rewarding enough... but just not as satisfying as knitting. I worry that if I don't keep the inner addict in check, I will end up living as the Crazy Knitter with 22 cats who only leaves the house to buy boots and cat food. You may find this to be an exageration, but trust me - they're out there. :-)