Monday, December 31, 2007

Wrapping Up the Old Year

I am not one to make New Year resolutions, but I do like the idea of wrapping up the old year. To that end I thought I would post a finished (previously hibernating) project and a public thank you.

Pattern: One Skein Wonder Baby Sweater by Linda Burt
Pattern Source: One-Skein Wonders
Needle: US 17 / 12.75 mm
Yarn: N.Y. Yarns Action (3.2 yarns)

I modified the pattern to account for my different gauge. I used a cast on of 52 sts, with 24sts picked up for the sleeves. This project has been done for weeks, only needing buttons sewed on. Today I decided was the time to finally do this. Yay! I need to send off this sweater, before the baby out grows it.

I have mentioned it before, but my family is absolutely fabulous when it comes to supporting my creative pursuits. The most exciting gift was a new sewing machine! My old machine has mostly given up the ghost, and the tension pretty much doesn't work at all. Chiquita had been doing some sewing this past year, so hopefully this will be a great thing for both of us.

I also got several knitting books. My mom got me Latvian Mittens, which is fascinating to me as my Papa's family was Latvian. After a little time looking through it I know that it is something I can see myself reading both for informational content and for actually knitting patterns. The other two books (Naughty Needles and Domiknitrix) are from my sister and totally crack me up. Amusingly I did find things in both that I might knit.

Finally for the obligatory crafting recap, I have to say that I am shocked by how much I got done. Final tally:
Baby Sweaters: 6
Other Baby Items: 17
Cell Phone/Camera Cases: 2
Pairs of Felted Clogs: 3
Hats/Earwarmers: 11
Pairs of Mittens/Mitts: 5
Shawl: 1
Socks: 21
Toys: 2

Labels: , ,

Sunday, December 30, 2007


For the last few days Salvbard and I have been out of town. I couldn't mention it previously for fear of spoiling , but we went to Binghamton, NY to surprise wish one of my closest friends a happy birthday. The visit itself was great, but I am exhausted.

On the way there, we took the opportunity to stop and see WEBS, as it is just a bit further west than we normally have any reason to go. It was very neat to see it in person, as I had only ordered from them online before. I didn't pick up much, but there is a funny story to that.

I picked up a few free patterns (for yarns that have been discontinued) and one lone ball of the discontinued Jaeger Matchmaker DK. I only need a few yards for a (Harry Potter) House Sweater, but I will use the rest in a pair of socks as toes and heels.

So I go up to the counter with my purchases behind just one person. Obviously I am new, because I didn't realize that standing behind the lady with all the cones that have to be weighed is probably not the fastest option, but that is okay. I have knitting in my purse. I am knitting away, and her total comes up: ~$175. Not bad when you think about how much she got though.

At this point there is a significant line behind me though. So I step up a bit, and a woman who had walked up to the other side of the previous woman shoulders her way in next. Whatever, once again I have knitting. Her total: just over $300, but only because she put back 2 full bags of yarn.

And then finally I got to pay my $2.99 for my purchases. Woohoo, big spender! The staff did a really great job with the sudden rush though and were just as nice to me as to those purchasing significantly more. Overall experience was really good, and it was a lot of fun to wander around both the "store" section and the warehouse shelves. For the latter alone it might have been worth the stop.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Rainbow Socks

I finished up the pair of rainbow socks that I was knitting for SunnyNole. I just hope that they are big enough. It is always nerve racking to knit for someone who I can't take the measurements. I am really happy with how these came out though, so hopefully she will like them too.

Yarn: Regia Ringel in color 5408
Supplier: Mind's Eye Yarns
Needles: US 1 / 2.25 mm
Pattern: Basic Sock Recipe by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee
Pattern Source: Knitting Rules!

It has been too long since I had a simple stockinete sock. Between the extra holiday chilling time that I could knit during and the simple pattern, they socks simply flew off the needles. Plus the colors is so cheerful that they were a joy to work on.

Labels: ,

Friday, December 28, 2007

Native American Pottery

Recently I have come across several of my early knitting pieces that show exactly how far my knitting has come. In a similar vein I saw a cross-stitch piece that made me feel the same way. I don't do a lot of it any more, but it is something that I enjoy. It just isn't as easy to pick up and put down the way my fiber crafts are.

I took this photo this week while I was down visiting my grandmother. This was a gift from me to her for Christmas '04 or '05. It was my first major cross-stitch piece, and it has several faults, but I was so proud of it! If nothing else it could do with a nice press.

The pattern was in Native American Cross Stitch by Julie S. Hasler, and I made it on adia with 2 strands over 1 square. The embroidery thread is in the recommended DMC colors.

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Handmade Christmas '07

Despite not feeling like I did much Christmas knitting, I discovered I actually had done quite a bit. But by starting it early, and just putting it away in a box for later there was little to no stress over finishing any of it!

Left out of the mosaic was a pair of thick cabled socks I made for my mom. Unfortunately with 19 being prime, there just wasn't room for it. If only I had made one more item it would have worked out great visually!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Tada, my last Christmas present. This was finished a few days ago, before Christmas, but I was hoping to get a picture of it on someone. Oh well! I really liked this pattern, and I have some black wool I will be using to make another for a soldier. This blue balaclava is for my step-brother C who works outside though.

Pattern: Helmet Liner by Bonnie Long
Needle: US 5 / 3.75 mm
Yarn: Cascade 220 Superwash in 814

Modifications: I used a crocheted provisional cast-on for the face. I really liked this cast-on although no particular cast-on was specfied. It made it very easy to knit the face ribbing at the end. Also the directions for the decreases in the final row around the face are really general. I recommend making them mostly to either side of the face, as it tends to flare there otherwise. Also I cast-off in pattern, but the pattern does not specify which bind-off to use.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Different Type of Xmas Knitting

Merry Christmas to everybody who celebrates. Today was a really low key for me, since I was down visiting family. I laid low reading a new book, doing a bit of knitting, and enjoying this amazing view.

I hope that everyone had a restful, safe Christmas! I should be back to regular blogging shortly.

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Large Earflap Hat

Somehow, my life is full of giant-headed men. No really. One of my step-brothers requested an ear flap hat to go with his charcoal coat. Fortunately Salvbard has the same 22.5" head, so he can model it for me. As there are several large headed men in my family, I am going to include the basic pattern here. If you make a large hat using this pattern, let me know. I would love to commiserate over large heads.

Finished Circumference: 22.5"
Yarn: 1.5 balls Reynolds Odyssey in color 414 (72.3 g)
Needles: US 8 / 5.0 mm
Gauge: 10 sts/2"

Note: I found that a round or two of single crochet was fine to stop curling, but some others (depending on yarn choice and the whims of the universe) have not found this to be true. If you are worried about it, feel free to add a non-rolling bottom like seed stitch or a folded hem (provisional cast on, knit 1" on smaller needles, purl 1 row, knit 1" on needles for gauge, then knit each stitch with one of the sts held provisionally, continue with pattern as written, measuring length from purled row).

Cast on 112 sts. (Feel free to despair at this point, as you realize how big this hat is. Then realize how much better is than knitting giant socks, and pull yourself together.) Knit even for 5 inches before starting decreases.

Row 1: Knit 12 sts and k2tog around
Row 2: knit even
Row 3: knit 11 sts and k2tog around
Row 4: knit even
Row 5: knit 10 sts and k2tog around
Row 6: knit even
Continue in pattern as established until you have k2tog around. Break yarn and draw through last 8 sts.

Ear Flaps:
Pick up 20 sts from cast-on edge. Knit 3 rows back in forth in stockinette, finishing on a wrong side row.
K1 ssk k16 k2tog k1
knit 3 rows in stockinette, ended on a wrong side row
K1 ssk k14 k2tog k1
knit 3 rows in stockinette, ended on a wrong side row
k1 ssk k12 k2tog k1
purl one row
bind off all stitches

Start second ear flap 35 sts over from the first one. This is slightly asymmetrical front to back, which Salvbard found fit him better. After both ear flaps were done, I added a row of single crochet around the whole hat. after blocking, I found the edges didn't roll, but your experience may vary.

Oh and to give you an idea how big this hat is here is a photo of it on me. Help, help. It's eating my head! And I seemed oddly amused by it.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New Stuff on the Needles

This week the 2 items on the needles are both completely new to the blog: a new pair of socks and a balaclava. Perhaps it is just because of the white outside, but I am loving the color in both of them.

The balaclava is going fast, and should probably be done tomorrow with any luck. I used a crocheted provisional cast-on with the hope that it will make the ribbing around the face neater. It was a last minute Christmas request, that would have gone unfulfilled except that I did the rest of my holiday crafting early.

The striping in the socks on the other hand is driving me a bit batty. It is very close to matching, but each stripe is not a predictable width. Sometimes you just have to let it go I guess with self-striping yarns.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Afrika socks

I finally finished up this pair of socks, which have lingered on my needles, waiting to be kitchenered for almost a week now. They carried me through many meetings and holiday queues. They were invaluable for the post office lines alone! (Note to self: avoid post offices in December unless you need lots of knitting time.)

My apologies to the socks for the less than flattering picture. Unfortunately there is no one with the correct sized feet in the house, and I had to decided between a somewhat "flaccid" picture or an obviously ill-fitting one.

Yarn: Tough Sock by Spunky Eclectic
Needles: US 2 / 2.75 mm
Pattern: Basic Sock Pattern by Ann Budd
Pattern Source: The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns

I hadn't knit with this yarn before, but I am very pleased with it. The yardage is amazingly generous, about 500 yards. These socks are not small, but I have tons left over. I sort of enjoyed the feeling of the superwash wool, slightly slippery and smooth, but not in an annoying way. Plus it has some nylon in it, which makes me happy to gift these, knowing they will wear well. The colorway is called "sunspot", but it made both Salvbard and myself immediately think of Africa and someone who might like Africa-colored socks.

The pattern has become one of my standard ones, but after several I am desperately craving a simple stockinette paire. Now I just need to cast on a new pair of on-the-go socks.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 17, 2007

Harry's Sweater Ornament

Okay, I admit it, I am starting to get in a holiday mood. The holiday decorations before Halloween and even before Thanksgiving, drive me crazy, but I do get there eventually. To get more in the mood here is a tree ornament.

Pattern: Mini Weasley Sweater Ornaments by Alison Hansel
Pattern Source: Charmed Knits
Yarn: Wool-Ease in cranberry and gold
Supplier: Spark Craft Studios
Needle: US 7 / 4.5 mm

I have always wanted to make one of these little guys, but now I totally have the excuse to do so. So cute!

Also to get you more in the holiday spirit, we have this acappella medley.

Labels: ,

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Button Advice

Ok it is time to get this baby sweater out of my to-do basket and add some buttons. Now the only question is which ones. Fortunately since this sweater is made with such bulky yarn, no button holes are needed. I have flexibility about how many buttons to use, since I will basically be stitching the buttons through the knitted band.

Choice 1: 4 pale yellow vintage buttons

Choice 2: 3 opalescent buttons

Both types of button are machine washable, and thus baby and mommy friendly. Any thoughts?

Labels: ,

Friday, December 14, 2007

An Unoriginal Handspun Hat

Apparently I am drowning my sorrows over the Aran sweater in quick knits from handspun. Today's project was made from the first handspun I ever made on my wheel: a bulky merino/tencel blend.

Yarn: bulky handspun in merino/tencel
Fiber Supplier: Mind's Eye Yarns
Needles: US 10.5/7.5 mm
Pattern: An Unoriginal Hat by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Modifications: did an extra set-up row, skipped rows 4, 6, 8, and 10 of the second pattern repeat and completely changed the decreases

And if you have a moment, consider stopping by Eileens's new blog. She just made her very first post and asks for knitting ADD/too many WIPs advice. Share the fiber blog love!

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Snowy Day Knitting

They closed Chiquita's school early today, which was just as well because by the time we got home the snow was really coming down. It was the perfect weather to stay inside, drink hot cocoa, and knit.

I wish I had a better picture to show you the scale of the snow. The footprints here are at least 8" deep, and all that snow only fell over the course of a few hours. In fact it is still falling now.

Yarn: my handspun, a worsted weight
Roving: merino/tussah silk from Mind's Eye Yarns
Needles: US 8/5.0 mm
Pattern: Top Down Hat
Modifications: cast on 8 sts inititally and added ribbing to the bottom

This yarn was one I was not totally happy with. I knew I wanted it to ultimately be a gift for my aunt, but in trying to get a funky yarn, I just ended up with something with overspun places. Knitting overlooks a lot of minor imperfections in handspun though, and the hat is cute.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Holiday Cards '07

We printed this year's holiday cards, and I have to say that I am very pleased with them.

The front image was taken by Salvbard, and then the cards were designed digitally for printing. Now I just need to finish them and send them out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More Cables

Salvbard's comment when he first noticed me cabling without a cable needle this weekend totally cracked me up. "What are you doing?! Hold on little stitch. You are going for a ride!"

We have reached a point of good news bad news. After finishing the second ball, it was time to split for the arms. So good news: sweater is moving right along. Bad news: it is huge. Once it was off the single 32"circular, it suddenly became quite evident that this is not a child sized sweater. In fact it has the same chest circumference as the sweater I am wearing right now. I haven't decided what I am going to do. At the moment my first instinct is to put it away in a box and not think about it. Salvbard votes to just rip it out and start again. I should have enough to finish it in this size, but he is probably right. I am just not ready to think about it.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Pay It Forward

I hereby pledge to send a handmade gift to the first three people who comment on this entry. No real promises about time frame, but it’ll be within the next 365 days. In return, you have to post the same offer on your blog, and prepare to send a gift to three other people.

Remember, you have a year to get your gifts done! Please remember, you don’t have to knit or crochet to participate, anyone who can make a nice handmade gift is welcome to join. And thanks to Angela Marie who pointed out that there is a group set it for it as well if you are on Ravelry.

Labels: ,

Saturday, December 08, 2007

IF: Little Things - Worms

This week's Illustration Friday prompt is "little things". I immediately thought of my latest pet project: worms.

Salvbard is helping me build a wormery, and I am so excited! Since we don't eat much processed food, we have a lot of vegetable scraps. But we live in an apartment, so a compost bin is not an option. I love this idea of a way to reduce our "green waste".

This drawing was also a chance to try out my new 9B pencil. Mmmm, it is so smooth to work with. It is like all of the pleasure of working with charcoal, and it scans better. The only potential problem might be that it is so soft that it will probably transfer off the page a bit with time and wear.

Labels: ,

Friday, December 07, 2007

One ball into Aran Sweater

We had more snow today, but since Chiquita was at a friend's house it was the perfect time to curl up and do a little secret holiday knitting. This is how far one ball of Cotton Ease will get you in a 34" sweater, about 6" done.

Did I mention that previously? She picked out the yarn and the pattern months ago, but she doesn't actually know that I am making her the sweater. I am hoping to make it a surprise, but that will depend on how much of a time crunch I end up being in.

Labels: ,

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Top 10 “Stash Projects” Knit a Long

So yesterday I mentioned the Top 10 Stash Projects KAL. The basic idea is that you find 10 projects for which you already have the yarn which you really want to knit this winter (December until April). There are even prizes if such things motivate you, but the idea of just re-discovering yarn I love is enough for me.

Fairly Ease Fair Isle Sweater
Sampler Afghan
Slytherin blanket

Things I would love to make
Quidditch Sweater in Charmed Knits from Berroco Comfort
Slytherin Knee Socks from Mind's Eye Yarn's Merino DK
Children's Aran Pullover K-1002 by Joyce Bernard in Cotton Ease
York in Silk Garden Lite
child's hat (Elf Hats - Twisted Pumpkin?) in Cashmerino Aran
Trellis in Järbo Garn Raggi Multi
boring pair of socks for Salvbard

This list feels a little too ambitious though. There are 3-4 sweaters, 2 blankets, and 2 pair of socks. That is so different from my normal knitting habits, that I fear that I just won't be able to stick to it. Can I really live with so few socks? Perhaps I should take another look around...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Current Knitting

Many thanks to the several offers that I had for hunting down of more silver for the Slytherin blanket. We had a brief dyelot scare (who knew that Red Heart had dye lots?!), Salvbard was able to get me more. I should have more than enough to get through the project now so that we don't have to worry about it again.

This week I am working on the Afrika socks some more, and I cast on for a sweater for Chiquita. The sweater will be part of the Top 10 Stash Projects KAL, but I will post more info on that once I finish up my list of projects I want to work on.

Chiquita picked out the yarn for this at Windsor Button during the last Boston Knit Out and Crochet Too... which would make it just over a year old. I bought 6 skeins (~1200 yards) of Cotton Ease so that I could knit any pattern that she wanted, since we didn't have one picked out in advance. That is totally unlike me. She absolutely loved the color, though, and the yarn had been dis-continued (and since re-continued though in different colors). We have settled on an Aran pattern (she loves cables). I admit I had a bit of a shock when we took measurements, and I realized how big a sweater she needs these days, though. Pretty soon she will be able to steal my clothes!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Slytherin blanket update

I have reached a small road block in the completion of the Slytherin blanket at just over 2" (61 cm). I ran out of silver yarn right before the next broad green stripe. Chiquita has already used what has been done so far today though, as she came home sick from school, and was found snuggled up underneath it on the couch.

The grey/silver is just Red Heart Super Saver in Grey Heather. Unfortunately I can't find more anywhere. With any luck Salvbard will be able to get me more at the Michael's near his work, but in the meantime I am stuck. I guess that means it is a good time to work on something else.

Labels: , ,

Monday, December 03, 2007

Gryffindor SC Hat

Today we woke up to snow and a school delay. Needless to say, Chiquita was delighted. We even managed to start a snowman in the backyard. She was in such a good mood that she even was willing to humor me with a quick photo shoot for this single crocheted Gryffindor hat I made. This hat is going in my pile for Christmas in the City.

Pattern: Single Stitch Beanie by Chauntel
Yarn: Wool Ease in Cranberry and Gold
Supplier: Spark Craft Studio
Hook: I / 5.5 mm

If you are new to crochet, I would recommend this pattern as a good one to get your started with something beyond rectangles. It's simple construction calls only for increases, single crochet and optional color-changes. It gives alternate numbers of increases for different sized heads, but I found the pattern as written is perfect for a child.

Labels: ,