Monday, October 15, 2018

Baby Steps

A shattering headache days ago has brought most knitting to a screeching halt. Today I felt well enough to turn some leftover sock yarn into more hexipuffs for my eventual Beekeeper's Quilt:

But that's all I feel like doing.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Just in Time for Winter

I knit a new set of felted clogs for DH, and finally made a pair for myself as well. Because mine run smaller, that meant I had enough yarn leftover to make myself a pair of felted mittens!

It always feels like I've made clown shoes (and clown mittens!).

My HE machine did its best, but everything was still about an inch bigger than I wanted.

A visit last month to the washing machine of Truly Efficient Felting finished everything nicely. And THIS TIME, I've sent for soles in the hope that DH won't go through them quite so fast.

Yarn: Patons North America Classic Wool Worsted in  Plum Heather, 0.86 of a skein
Needles: US 10 (6.00 mm)
Pattern: Linda Burt's Stockbridge Felted Mittens

Yarn: Patons North America Classic Wool Worsted in Plum Heather (2.52 skeins) and Mercury (4 skeins)
Needles: US 13 (9 mm)
Pattern: Bev Galeskas Felted Clogs

Monday, October 8, 2018

Circle Socks

The first sock went so fast I thought I'd have these done in no time, but I kept making dumb mistakes on the second sock. I would be heartily sick of them by now if I wasn't so pleased at getting the stripes to match.
Yarn: Knit One, Crochet Too's Ty-Dy Socks (a gift from Kansas-sister some time ago!)
Needles: US 1 (2.25 mm)
Pattern: Anne Campbell's Circle Socks
Mods: I continued the circle pattern on the top of the foot until I had "finished" the gusset decreases, getting down to the original 64 sts, then continued the gusset decreases until I had a 56 sts foot, which fits me better. They look a little odd by themselves, but fit perfectly!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

All right, Wise Crowds

A simple baby sweater made from the leftovers of this guy. What color buttons?

I'm leaning towards the purple, but willing to listen to the opposition.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Custom made

My latest household purchase resulted in washcloths that are a nice size for showering, but ridiculous for washing my face. They are just too big. But I have a skein of cotton dishcloth yarn (thanks, J!) and some tv to watch, so...

I started with this pattern, but cut down on the stitches after the first try resulted in a washcloth that was going to be as big as the purchased ones; 32 stitches turned out to be exactly right. But the thing I love best - aside from the fact that I'm going to get 3 face cloths out of this partial skein of cotton - is the edge construction. Starting with the Chinese Waitress cast on, ending with the matching Double-Chain cast off, and slipping the first stitch of every row, has made the prettiest edges I could ever hope for. See?

I am completely baffled by color photography. My usual trick of taking photos in direct sunlight did not work at all. But by angling the camera so that it caught some of the outside light, I was able to capture the correct color. I should take a class or something.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018


What happens when you start the toe decreases on a sock and discover you forgot a gusset increase back at the beginning of the foot:

I hear you. One stitch? Just decrease one extra at the toe and you'll be fine. Except I wouldn't be fine. I would lurch to one side, internally, every time I wore the sock. My family knows this about me. I used to point out a knitting error and ask for advice about whether I should rip back and fix it or just live with the error. And then I would always rip back. After a few years of that, I had only to point out an error and they would just tell me to go back and fix it. Now I don't even ask. Self-knowledge is a time-saver. It's all about fixing the things you can, and letting go of the things you can't.

See? All fixed.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Bubbly Water Socks

One of those really nice matches of yarn and pattern. I’m very pleased. And true to form, I finished them just as it’s getting too cold for summer socks. I’m a big fan of this yarn. It’s not superwash, but has done well with machine “hand washing.” There’s no added nylon, but the cotton makes for a really nice sock for cool days. The slightly marled colors are yummy, and I just might have to acquire some more.

Yarn: Yankee Dyer Yarns Yankee Breeze (50% merino, 50% cotton) in Lagoon
Needles: US 0 (2.00 mm)
Pattern: Yuka Takahashi’s Soda Water
Mods: None!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Prodigal Sock

Everyone knows single socks disappear, leaving their mate abandoned. Even well-beloved, handknit socks are not immune. Usually the missing sock was last seen in the laundry. Such was the tale of one poor sock, which went missing some years back while I was up in the mountains. After checking under beds and such, I took the mate home philosophically. “Eaten by the dryer,” I presumed. The next time I was up, I checked the lost and found box, conveniently located on a shelf in the laundry, in case it had migrated into someone else’s laundry. No luck.

This month when I packed to come up here, gleefully adding woool socks to my bag because fall comes first to the mountains - it will be in the low 40s overnight, and yes, I am wearing wool socks - I noticed the abandoned mate in my drawer and wondered why I was hanging on to it. Well, because KD made the pair for me, and she doesn’t make many socks, so they were special.

Imagine my surprise when I arrived to find the prodigal sock laid out on the bed I would be sleeping in. “My sock! Where HAVE you been?” I inquired. No answer was forthcoming, so I was left to asssume that it was folded into a sheet or blanket which somehow escaped use for a year or two.

Thank you, fellow cabinhabitant*, for leaving it where I would find it. Now I can reunite them and wear them for many more years to come!

*Great word, Kansas-sister; I approve.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Well, I feel welcomed!

Although seriously, it’s not that cold.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Warning, Frog

If, like a former co-worker of mine, you cannot stand to see things un-knit, you should probably avert your eyes from this post.

I was using up some lovely Loft mohair lace-weight, but badly overestimated my yardage. The scarf wasn't even long enough to wrap around your neck. Pretty pattern. I liked the beads. But.

If I can tease the mohair from the beads, I might combine the yarn with some grey mohair lace and achieve something striped. But mohair is very sticky, and I think it more likely I will attack it with scissors to reclaim the beads, and move on.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Nice. Now do it again.

I really do love a knitted-on edging. Even though it takes forever, there's something about the 90-degree shift in direction that is very pleasing. I admire the different ways designers embellish the join. And I love the opportunity to brush up on my backward-knitting skills - because who wants to turn the entire thing around every 12 stitches? Here's this one:

Now I just need to do that 30 more times.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A (very) little Christmas prep

Some time ago I bought a kit to make knitted Christmas ornaments. I never intended to make most of them; yarn and pine needles just don't seem like a good mix. It was the string of "lights" that caught my fancy, and the thought that I wouldn't put them on a tree, but drape them along a mantel or balustrade. Over the weekend I found the kit in a drawer while looking for some light green fingering yarn to lend, and realized I had never even opened the kit. So here we are.

Two of what will be a dozen or two lights. I'm knitting the stem as I go along. Since I have no specific plans for the rest of the kit, I can make it as long as I want. Now there's a thought. What am I going to do with the rest of the yarn?

Also, I finally put eyes on the owls.

Monday, September 3, 2018


I have eight active projects on the needles. I also have a nifty re-purposed wine-shopping bag to store them in, and I literally rotate through them over the course of the day, one set of pattern-repeat rows at a time.

They range from bulky yarn on 13s to lace yarn and zeroes (the lace isn't on the zeroes, that would be silly). So far this is working to keep me knitting through this latest bout of arthritis flare-up. And everything gets worked on a little, so it seems fair to all the projects.

The orange shawl is getting the most love, because I'm nearly to the edging, and I LOVE knitted-on edging. The tricolor scarf is getting the least, because for reasons I don't completely understand, it hurts my wrist the most.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Wednesday WiPs: Bearly there

I am knitting a bear out of some brushed acrylic. It's a nice texture for a bear, and a nice way to use up the yarn. The color is a little odd, but I've recently learned about cinnamon bears, so I'm going with it.

There are problems. I am following the pattern exactly, but it is a leap of faith at this point, since I seem to be making a duck. I'm a fan of the pattern, which cleverly avoids any seaming up, something I dislike doing with mohair or brushed acrylic. But no one who has seen this object so far believes it is a bear.

Then there are the increases. When I do M1L and M1R increases, I lift the side of the stitch in the row below, like this, which Twist Collective helpfully tells me are really called lifted increases. This pattern is pretty clear about making them by lifting the bar between the two stitches, and this site taught me a lovely mnemonic for which is left and which is right so I don't have to keep looking it up. But I absolutely don't believe they make any difference in the "lean" of the increase at all.

I shall persevere, and end up with a fuzzy orange softie which may or may not be a bear.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Gloom, Despair, and Agony...

I believe that would make a good name for a law firm. I am suffering from none of the above; in fact, I am pleased with myself for making another 3D object with nothing but a picture to guide me. I wouldn't want to knit that way all the time, but it's fun as an occasional palette cleanser. I know, that should be palate cleanser, but I think it works the other way, too.

Onward! Upon request, I knit the object in this picture as a gift for a friend. I am reliably informed that it is a despair bear. It is knit entirely out of worsted weight acrylic on US 5 (3.75 mm) needles.

It's a toe-up softie (knitting joke). I started with a closed tube, made it long enough, made another one, and joined them together with a few stitches in the middle. I inserted chenille sticks and stuffed the legs.

Then I knit first around one leg, increased every middle stitch, knit around the other leg, and divided the increased middle stitches front and back so that I was knitting in the round again. I knit the body, making some hip decreases - I wanted it to be able to stand by itself, if the oversized head cooperated.

I knit two more closed tubes for the arms, inserted chenille sticks and stuffed them, then attached them as I continued around the body, so that they would stay in an outstretched position. I duplicate-stitched the white chest, stuffed the body, and decreased for the neck.

Then I increased madly to make its giant head, using this as a guide. I made a muzzle in white, and embroidered a nose and mouth on it. I made two ears, taking notes on the first one to make sure they matched, used duplicate stitch again to make the inner ears white, and sewed them on. Sadly, they flopped horribly, and I had to retrofit them with chenille sticks to make them behave properly.

The entire time I knit, I thought about the eyes. By chance I came across an old glow-in-the-dark super-ball. I cut it in half, carefully. I sewed dark purple buttons to the bear's face before stuffing the head, then used super glue to attach the super-ball hemispheres. I believe there was a little fiddling with a strand of yarn between the eyes and the back of the head to keep them well-anchored, post-stuffing, but it's a bit of a blur at this point. It was hard to get a good shot of the glowing eyes, but I am reliably informed that they glow enough in the dark to get ones attention.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Matching Hat

I made a matching hat. I still want to add yellow eyes, but so far no luck finding the right yarn.

Yarn: Knit Picks Comfy Sport in Jalapeño, less than half a skein
Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm)
Pattern:  Sara Amoroso’s Who?
Mods: I wanted it in a 9-12 mos size to match the vest. After measuring gauge and doing the math, I realized I could just knit the child’s size in the pattern, and my smaller yarn and needles would downsize it perfectly.

Yarn: Knit Picks Comfy Sport in Jalapeño, 1.5 skeins
Needles: US 4(3.5 mm) and US 5 (3.75 mm)
Pattern: Jodi Haraldson's Owl Baby Vest
Mods: Centered the neck over the middle owl

If this looks familiar, it's because I've made it before - I trust that one is long outgrown and recycled.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Wednesday WIPs: Little Owls

I made some little owls. If the yarn holds out, there will be a matching hat. I'd like to give them yellow eyes, but I'm not sure if I've got any yellow floating around.

I like this yarn. It's smooth, and has some heft, but is not overly warm. I think about knitting a blanket of small squares in all the colors it comes in. But I have too many other projects like that underway to start another one.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Desperandum Ursi

A couple of times now I have created 3D knitted objects based on a picture. It's a fun exercise for me -  no pattern provided, nor do I create one. I just think about the shape I want to achieve, and dive in.

I made an "anxiety demon" at Christmas time that proved extraordinarily hard to photograph, since it was unrelievedly black, and complicated. Since it was important to the thing's personality that its mouth open and close, I inserted a binder clip, well-wrapped in yarn, into the head as I stuffed it. Worked pretty well.

Now I've just finished a "despair bear" as a gift for a fan of that comic. I had a pretty good picture to work from, although constantly looking at it eventually creeped me out.

My first issue was matching the incredibly dark purple, a shade which is to purple what navy blue is to blue. Knit Picks Brava Worsted in Eggplant was the answer. I used stash acrylic worsted in Snow for the white areas, which were done in duplicate stitch except for the snout.

The second issue I could foresee was that, the head, being out of proportion to the body, was going to make it difficult for the thing to stand. I made the base of the feet flat and added a chenille stick armature before stuffing to help with that. I did not look ahead to realize that the ears were going to need help to stand up, and had to add chenille sticks after the fact, which was fiddly.

And finally, the thing has glow in the dark eyes. So does mine, thanks to an old glow-in-the-dark super-ball and a sharp knife. I sewed on dark purple buttons, then glued the hemispheres to the buttons. I had to work some interior shaping with tied yarn to keep them back far enough in its head.

I was not averse to borrowing known shapes as I went along. I used this for the head shaping, and this for the snout.

I hear the recipient was pleased, and put the scary eyes to good use. Well done, sir, well done.