This bag has been sitting handle-less for, oh, two years. I finally sewed the handles on today.
Made with Patons SWS from this pattern.
The Unliberaled Woman commissioned a baby sweater for her niece. I used the Bernat Baby Jacquards yarn and think it ended up pretty cute. And, to toot my own horn, look at how well the patterns on the two fronts match up!
And then she paid me an outrageous sum of money for the little sweater, which was super nice. I want her to hire me to knit for her whole family; she pays way better than my current job.
Check out her blog, whydonjcha. She's feisty.
Remember the gender-less baby I was knitting for? The sweater and blanket got finished and delivered.
The buttons are little puppy faces. I think it turned out really cute.
The fun thing about knitting for bloggers is that you have these inside jokes based on their blogs that you can incorporate into the project.
Thus Sis B's Crush got this little sweater, based on her armadillo post.
And Green's baby got this blanket because...well, her blog name is Green.
But I do have a knitting complaint to air. It is problematic for us knitters when you pregnant people don't find out the sex of your babies! I have a friend who is pregnant right now, and they don't plan to find out if it's a boy or a girl. I was working on something for them the other day when my husband said, "Um, I hope they have a girl." I thought I had picked colors that would go both ways, but my husband assured me that I had not. I had to start all over.
A couple years ago, I took my chances and made a blue sweater for a friend. In the end, she had a girl. Whoops.
We knitters need some direction. It's hard knitting for a question-mark baby.
In knitting news, I have been shirking my vow to knit two rows per day on the aran. I am still working on the second sock. I have been commissioned to make a baby sweater for a friend. I am making a child's chemo cap, which is horribly depressing.
But I want to push everything aside and start on this immediately.
I am in love with that sweater.
Sock knitters will notice that the colorways on the two socks match up exactly, which gives me so much joy.
OK, so here's where knitting and government meet:
The new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act – passed hastily to bar poisonous foreign products – also will require millions of American homecrafters to have each of their products tested at huge cost, ranging from $500 to $4000 per product – including their old stock which was manufactured before this law had even been thought up.
So government tried to do a good thing by banning lead toys from China and those beads that turned into the date-rape drug. But they derp-ed it up and forgot to exclude those of us who make baby things from home.
We in the group I belong to are unsure how this affects us. We do not receive monetary donations and we do not sell our items. But we better not be legally barred from making our preemie donations to the local hospitals because of some stupidly worded law. And I don't want people selling on Etsy or Ebay to be affected either.
Kuhr says all the homecrafters of the US 'will become criminals from February 10 if they continue to sell their homemade stock without the required certificate of compliance to prove that it had been tested for dangerous contents such as lead'.
From now on, while I'm knitting my preemie caps, I will be saying in a Beavis voice, "Breakin' the law, breakin' the law."
But seriously folks, we're running out of time before the law takes effect. I plan to make a complaint, and if you are a crafter, I would urge you to do the same.
Formal complaints against this act must be lodged before January 20 2009 Comments must be labeled: Section 102 Mandatory Third-Party Testing of Component Parts'. Lodge complaints to email Sec102ComponentPartsTesting@cpsc.gov
I'm getting better at the aran pattern; at this point, I am even able to listen to music and sing along whilst knitting. No TV though. But tomorrow night is the Fedex Bowl, and I think I can aran during football.
Don't worry; 2009 won't only be knitblogging.
I've long wanted to do a post on knitting math.
There's lots of algebra and basic math in knitting. Knitting is mostly just ratios: you do a swatch to find out how many stitches to the inch and then find the equivalent fraction for however many inches your knittery should be. I love scribbling out my little solve-for-x problems.
There are also times when the Pythagorean Theorem comes in handy. Like when you're making something on the bias and you want to make sure that you're knitting a true square. You are making a triangle and you can solve for the hypotenuse to make sure your real hypotenuse is hitting the target.
That stuff pumps me up on dorkosterone.
When I taught knitting classes, I taught a handful of homeschool kids. I always made sure to tell their mothers that knitting can be used for math word problems. I am sure the kids were thrilled that I made knitting into schoolwork.
I am always the first to pipe up with my knitting algebra whenever people repeat the dumb "wisdom" that once we get out of school we never have to use that math stuff again.
So when AWTM told me that Chuck Z wondered if I could make him gloves, it was just a matter of doing a little glorious math.
The backstory on Chuck is that an IED took part of his left hand. He lives in cold climes and can no longer wear store-bought gloves. What he needed was custom-made ones to fit his injured left hand.
Obviously, the right glove was just a regular old man's glove. The left glove took some math to adjust the circumference of the wrist and hand, to accommodate Chuck's bigger left wrist but smaller left hand. Chuck's wife took extremely detailed measurements and I scribbled out some ratios and knitting math.
And Bob's your uncle.
I am not entirely happy with the fingertips. The pattern called for cinching them, but once they were done, I wish I had tried to kitchener them instead.
But I did infuse them with manly awesomeness: I knitted them while watching classics like The Terminator, We Were Soldiers, and Death Wish.
Chuck says they "fit like a glove", heh.
I am completely chuffed that my knitting helped support the troops. I mean, this is something that only a knitter could do. Chuck needed me, and I was so excited to oblige.
Plus there was math.
And these are juggling balls I made for my friend. I love how they turned out. Who woulda thought of writing a pattern for juggling balls?
I like taking photos of the stuff I donate just because I forget how many things I actually make, and it's fun to go back and remember color combinations and styles. My mother-in-law mailed me some leftover cream and tan that I was able to match up with some other stuff. These are two blankets that will be donated to the VA hospital.
I am knitting the hardest thing I've ever knitted before.
I have wanted an Aran sweater for a long time, so I started making one. So far I have done eight rows of pattern, four one day and four another. Four is actually too much for one sitting, at least at this point when I haven't really memorized any of the segments of the pattern yet. I have never had to concentrate so hard on a project before.
The pattern isn't available anywhere online, but I found a work-in-progress photo on knitting blog. She had let it sit for over two years and made it her New Year's resolution to finish in 2008. I wonder if she did.
I resolve to do two rows a day.
I also found a hilarious official photo of the sweater. No, I am not making the beret. Or holding a paddle.
MaryIndiana requested a post on unfinished knitting projects. Some people won't start a new project until the old one is finished; others constantly start projects and move on to something more exciting before it's finished. I believe I fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
I have knitting ADD. I wasn't always that way; I used to only do one project at a time. But in the past few years, I have needed variety. So I always have a few things going at once. I only have a couple of truly unfinished projects. I started a sweater two years ago that I know will be to small for me. I hate to rip out the entire back of the thing, but I know I can't continue it, so it has sat for two years. I also started another stuffed animal back when I was teaching knitting classes, but with no baby to get excited about, that project petered out too. I started myself a DNA scarf that is about a third finished, and I started a double knitting scarf for my mother that takes more concentration than I would like and has sat there all year. Yeah, it was supposed to be her Christmas present. And I started an Aran sweater that takes even more concentration than mom's scarf: I tried to do a row while watching TV, and I spent 45 minutes knitting and then unknitting the row. Can't talk or watch TV during that project.
OK, that probably sounds like a lot. But by knitter standards, that's not so much. I will finish the scarves and the Aran eventually. Probably the stuffed animal too. One day I will get brave enough to rip out that sweater and start it over.
But I say with pride that I do not have any mate-less socks in this house.
I finished my first Primavera sock on the plane out to Seattle and started the second.
I am fantastically happy with this project, but the second sock will be put on hold for a while while I start a very fulfilling project to fill a need. Cryptic, I know. But I can't wait to write about it later.
In sock knitting news, I just want to be this girl. She makes beautiful footwear.
I haven't put any crafting up in a while because, well, I haven't made anything blogworthy. I have spent most of my time crocheting wheelchair afghans for the VA hospital. But, what the hey, I thought I'd put a photo up.
I also have been working on a Primavera sock since I left for San Antonio. It will travel with me to Seattle this coming weekend for the next SpouseBUZZ live. (Which totally snuck up on me. Yesterday AWTM said, "See you next weekend," and I had no idea what she was talking about.)
Tomorrow I am hosting a Yarn Event at our Michaels, where we make blocks for Warm Up America. I have made several blocks in the past few weeks. Hopefully we'll have good turnout.
Crochet, where have you been all my life?
I got a simple dc pattern from one of the ladies in my charity group, and this was a great way to use up all those little golf-ball-sized leftovers. And they crank out quick, in about 40 minutes or so each.
I was a woman possessed, figuring out color combinations so I could use every last inch of the yarn.
As requested, here's the pattern.
With F or G hook and baby yarn, chain 4.
Row 1: 15 dc in fourth chain from needle (first 3 chains counts as 1 dc): 16 dc. Connect with slip stitch (on this and at the end of every row)
Row 2: 3 chains, *2 dc in next stitch, 1 dc in next, rep from *
Row 3: 3 chains, 1 dc in same stitch, * 1 dc in next 2 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch, rep from *
Row 4: 3 chains, 1 dc in same stitch, *1 dc in next 3 stitches, 2 dc in next stitch, rep from *
Row 5: 1 dc in each dc,
Row 6-9: repeat row 5
I am going to keel over and die at how cute this knitted bat is.
I have wanted to make socks with Cascade Fixation for a while now, so I was delighted to receive two balls as a gift. I searched for patterns online and came upon this one. I tried a gauge swatch, but it was waaay off. I thought maybe it was because the yarn was stretchy, so I just went up a needle size to be safe and got moving.
While I was working, I thought the sock looked small, but I decided to stay in denial. I knitted the leg, heel, turn, gussets, and decreases before I began to panic. I tried the sock on and found that it was tighter than panty hose. No good.
Ripped out the whole thing.
I had to cast on 52 sts instead of 40 to get a sock that fit. This woman who wrote the pattern must have slender legs and feet! So I started knitting Friday morning and had 17 rows done when I boarded the plane.
A man across from me asked what I was making. Then he said, "OK, we've got four hours to Vegas; I want to see how much you can get done!" So I started working. And I worked and worked and worked. I wanted a break, to read or to nap, but I felt all this pressure from the guy in the seat across from me! It was so silly. He drove me to knit for four hours straight.
At the end of the flight, I held up the work for him and he disappointedly said that I hadn't really gotten that much done.
Yep, knitting is slow.
Five hours of work:
Half a sock. Dark photo taken in our "ghetto fabulous" hotel, as Guard Wife called it.
I came home and finished the sock on Monday and started the second last night.
Three cheers for knitting for myself!
After two more hours last night and another hour this morning, it's done. And either I'm the worst crocheter in the world, or something was off on that pattern. I specifically chose it because it sounded quick: 126 rows, piece of cake. I had to actually crochet an extra 50 rows just to get the length right. Not as quick as I'd hoped.
Well, I put in a seven-hour workday today. I started crocheting on the wedding afghan at 9 AM, stopping only for lunch and the occasional email. Seven hours and a ton of blurry TV later, I've completed 25 rows. That's eight inches. Man, I kinda figured I'd knock this thing out today, but I still have another four or five inches to go.
That's enough, people. No more weddings or babies for the rest of the year. I can't handle any more of this race-against-the-clock knitting.
There is no wrong way to knit. The only rule is to not drop a stitch or do something that will cause the knittery (thanks for the term, CaliValleyDude) to unravel. How you hold the sticks, where you hold the yarn, all of this is irrelevant. I rest my needles on my thighs and move the left one around the right; I think the only other people in the world who do that are the people who learned knitting from me. Which is actually quite a few people, I am happy to say.
I've heard stories from people who've gone into highbrow knitting stores and the ladies there want them to change the way they hold everything. That makes me mad. There's no wrong way to do it.
(This post prompted by this post.)
The only wrong way to knit is to take on making two wedding afghans a month before the weddings. And realizing that you now have a week to finish the remaining thirds of both of them.
OK, panic set in last night.
I should be working on that mess of an afghan, but it seems like such a pain in the neck to pick it up, untangle all the baggies, and start doing row after row of single crochets. My hands kept reaching for these instead.
Someone gave me a ton of that Bernat Baby Coordinates yarn, you know the stuff with the shiny string wrapped around it? I personally find it kind of a pain in the neck to work with, so I thought I'd use it all up by making simple granny square blankets to donate. And I really like how they turned out.
I am not one to get attached to my donated projects; I have never looked back after giving away the little caps. (OK, I did get a little wistful that I had already donated the American flag hat and then Sis B goes and has a preemie on July 3rd.) But I am really attached to these little blankets, like I don't want to give them away. I could just keep them around to have on hand when one of my umpteen friends has a baby. But that's not in the spirit of charity. Still, it will take a lot of willpower to drop them off on Wednesday.
Anyway, I've been wrapped up in the ease of just picking them up and going to town that I forgot that I only have less than a month to finish two adult sized afghans! Mercy me. I worked another four inches on the intarsia mess yesterday and today, but I really need to get my behind in gear.
I hid all other projects from myself.
Last night I set aside the afghan, plunked myself down to listen to SpouseBUZZ Talk Radio, and grabbed my needles. Normally at this time of the week I would already have several preemie hats sitting around, but this past week I've been straying from my norm and making preemie blankets. So I only had one hat, and not a very cute one at that. I whipped up a hat for little Crush last night.
Now I just need to track Sis B down to send it to her; she was traveling away from home when she gave birth! As if deployment three days ago, a custody battle, and a cancer scare weren't enough excitement in her life...she decides she needs to c-section out a preemie in another state. Silly girl.
I just watched the final Rambo. It was good. It was also a lot more gory than the other ones, but I guess that's the norm 20 years later. No liveblog of this one though; I just wanted to enjoy watching it. Also, it's hard to crochet, watch, and liveblog. Especially this mess.
Now, if it had been a knitting pattern, I would've seen this coming. But I'm new to crochet, and I didn't recognize this for what it was: one big intarsia afghan. Yes, that's a photo of not quite 12 inches of single crochets...and 11 balls of yarn hanging from the edge. The sandwich baggies are helping, and I've worked out a pretty decent system of working on the thing, but I'm not sure I'll ever do one of these again. It's just not at all portable, so you gotta have a bathroom break, and a drink and the phone nearby, before you put that puppy on your lap and get started.
That's 1/5th of the afghan. I have probably spent nine hours on it so far.
It seems I've got myself a full-time job now. A friend of mine is getting married in August. I had too many babies to knit for up until now, so I am just getting started on an afghan (View image). I spent the entire afternoon making 2376 single crochet stitches. And this is the first thing I've made in a long time that isn't for someone who reads my site, so I can actually talk about it!
Other projects, not so much.
I babysat this afternoon for my neighbor's 7 year old daughter. While I was there, I taught her to knit. And the most wonderful words came out of her mouth: "This is more fun than playing with my Nintendo DS!" Ahhh, heavenly.
I ran out of white-white, so I decided to try one that was more Americana looking, and I think I like it the best. We're gonna have some patriotic preemies around here!
Luckily for me, CaliValleyGirl's husband pilots the most stuffed-animalizable military vehicle that exists.
So it was a no-brainer to try to make one for their new baby.
I wing it all the time in knitting with simple things like bags and scarves and hats, but this is my first knitting invention, so I took notes along the way to write my first pattern. I am sure there will be some sort of mistake in it, but if you're at the point in your knitting where you're trying to make a helicopter, I am sure you can figure it out. Or email me and I'll do my best to help.
KNITTING PATTERN FOR A STUFFED CHINOOK HELICOPTER TOY
grey and black craft yarn, the stiffer and cheaper the better, to hold its shape
size 6 straight and double-pointed knitting needles
blunt sewing needle
Knitting the Chinook consists of three main patterns: the fuselage, the rotors, and the fore and aft pylons, which CaliValleyDude assured me are not called "the sticky-up parts on top."
Using size 6 needles and grey yarn, cast on 14 sts.
Working in stockinette stitch throughout, work two rows.
Row 3: Inc one st into first 2 sts, k (3), inc one st into next 4 sts, k (3) to last 2 sts, inc one st into last 2 sts.
Row 4: purl
Repeat last two rows, with number of sts in brackets 4 more each time, until you have 46 sts total.
Work 66 rows in stockinette stitch.
Next row: ssk, ssk, k (15), k2tog, k2tog, ssk, ssk, k (15), k2tog, k2tog
Next row: purl
Repeat last two rows, with number of sts in brackets 4 less each time, until 14 sts remain.
Work 2 rows. Bind off. Using tail, sew up underseam while filling with stuffing.
With size 6 dpns, cast on 42 sts. Join to knit in the round, being careful not to twist the sts. Knit 12 rounds. Purl one turning row. [Thanks to Susan for providing me with more precise language here.]
Round 1: Knit
Round 2: Knit
Round 3: *Sl 1, k 1, psso, k 2, k2tog; rep from * to end of round – 28 sts remain
Round 4: Knit
Round 5: Knit
Round 6: *Sl 1, k1, psso, k2tog; rep from * to end of round – 14 sts remain
Round 7: Knit
Round 8: *k2tog; rep from * to end of round – 7 sts remain
Cut yarn, leaving a 6” tail. Thread tail on a tapestry needle, draw through rem sts, pull tight, and fasten off to wrong side.
[Same as fore pylon, only a little taller.]
With size 6 dpns, cast on 42 sts. Join to knit in the round, being careful not to twist the sts. Knit 20 rounds. Purl one turning row.
Round 1: Knit
Round 2: Knit
Round 3: *Sl 1, k 1, psso, k 2, k2tog; rep from * to end of round – 28 sts remain
Round 4: Knit
Round 5: Knit
Round 6: *Sl 1, k1, psso, k2tog; rep from * to end of round – 14 sts remain
Round 7: Knit
Round 8: *k2tog; rep from * to end of round – 7 sts remain
Cut yarn, leaving a 6” tail. Thread tail on a tapestry needle, draw through rem sts, pull tight, and fasten off to wrong side.
Stuff pylons and sew to fuselage.
[This section is a little confusing, but essentially you're making three i-cords and then decreasing them all together at the end to attach them to each other and make them radiate out from the center.]
With size 6 dpns and two strands of black held together, cast on 5 sts. Work i-cord for 33 rows. Leave stitches live on the dpn and use a new dpn for next rotor blade.
On the last row of the third rotor blade, knit to last stitch.
K2tog with first stitch of another rotor blade.
Slip next stitch, k2tog, psso.
Knit last stitch together with first stitch of remaining rotor blade.
Slip next stitch, k2tog, psso.
K2tog with last stitch of the first rotor blade, joining around.
Slip next stitch, k2tog, psso.
7 sts remain.
Cut yarn, leaving a 6” tail. Thread tail on a tapestry needle, draw through rem sts, pull tight, thread through the underside of the rotor and tighten on that side too. Use tail to fasten the rotor to the top of the rotor cap. Weave in ends of i-cords.
Repeat for second set of three blades.
With size 6 needles and black yarn, cast on 18 sts. Work 12 rows in stockinette stitch. Cast off.
With grey yarn, make a dividing line down the middle of the window. Sew to front of Chinook.
This picture cracks me up, because CaliValleyBaby is looking at the Chinook like, "Clearly this is not an age-appropriate toy." You'll grow into it, son.
Now watch, he'll want to be a tanker!
Last Saturday was world-wide Knit In Public Day. AWTM caught sight of some ladies participating. I was supposed to join in with a friend here in town, but, well, last Saturday turned out to be a little busy.
I plan to celebrate Knit In Public Day (Observed).
Here's what I've been working on. I have been commissioned to make a blanket for a dear reader, and Charlie has taken a shine to it. Any time I leave the room, he curls up with it. Happy Baby Shower; hope you like dog hair!
Also, I've only made one, so I need to get a move on. The 4th is coming up, and preemies need to be swathed in red, white, and blue.
I have also been working on super-secret projects for a couple of you barefoot and pregnant bloggers. You know who you are. And no, I won't say what you're getting. But the best thing about getting to know people via blogging is that you learn all these little tidbits about them that come in handy later, like when you want to make something special that only they will truly grok.
I made the pumpkin version last fall, so yesterday I tried the peach.
These preemie hats are too darned cute.
And I got some great suggestions on yesterday's post that if I have too much yarn, I can give it away, either to newbie knitters or to a good cause. While both of these ideas are admirable, well, I don't think I'm that big of a person. You see, I will spend hours and hours and hours making stuff that I just give away. I make tons of preemie caps, squares for HCC afghans, and gifts for friends, but handing over an unknittedup ball of yarn to someone else? Ouch.
At one of my knitting classes, a woman didn't buy her own yarn. She brazenly asked me if she could just use mine. I had this crummy, old, ugly ball of faded brown acrylic junk in my hand, and yet I went, "Um...well...er...uh...o...kay," and slowly handed it to her. It was crap yarn! It was ugly and awful. But giving it away? It hurt my heart. I would've gladly made something out of it and handed it to her for free, but I have a severe selfishness problem with giving away unused yarn.
Sis B, I'd rather hand you ten bucks to go pick out your own yarn! And FbL, we too make blankets for the VA hospital here in town; I was just going to start one soon. The problem is, a lot of the yarn I have is not stuff that is good for these projects. I have used up most of my washable acrylics on HCC squares; what I'm left with is fancy wools and sock yarn and a ton of baby yarn to be made into preemie caps. But I'll dig.
Maybe I can convince myself to be a big enough person to give away yarn.
Knitters with a big stash will completely grok this:
So that's where I am today. At least in my head. Remembering how I felt when I bought this stuff. Remembering what I planned on making with it. Remembering all the emotions I was sure I'd feel when the projects were finished. Beating myself up for never getting around to starting the projects. Beating myself up for not even winding the yarn yet. Beating myself up for beating myself up for all the projects I wanted to make but never got around to.
My friend learned to knit and crochet right when her husband left for Iraq. A year later, she had a serious obsession. She made her husband come over to my house to see my stash so that hers would look small by comparison. Her husband was a bit stunned by my skein collection; my husband just shrugged his shoulders and sighed.
I've been making a conscious effort to use up yarn I already own, but somehow the stash keeps growing. Sometimes is grows slowly, as when I find one lonely ball of mustard yellow on sale for 60 cents that can be used to make HCC squares. Other times it grows in leaps and bounds: one of the ladies in my charity group has been ridding her stash of yarns that bother her arthritic hands, and every two weeks she brings me a new big bag of yarn for me. So even though my stash is growing mostly due to free yarn, it's still starting to overwhelm me.
It takes several hours and about 1.5 oz of yarn to make a preemie cap; thus, bags of yarn every two weeks will take me ages to work through. But somehow I have this stupid mental image that I will use up everything I own someday, and then dust my hands off and go buy more.
Working through my stash is like digging in sand.
I finished my Magknits t-shirt yesterday, and I am loving it. I already have plans to make another.
It's not easy to take a photo of yourself with the camera timer and try to get the dog to look cute, your new sweater to look cute, and to not look like you have a bald spot. Two outta three ain't bad, right?
I knitted two socks last week on vacation.
Yeah, I never said they matched.
The red one has the StL Cardinals logo on the heel. The black one is made with that fun Tofutsies yarn made out of crab shells. I just really wanted socks made from seafood.
And I imagine someday I will make the partner for each of these socks. But right now, there's work to do. I thought my baby knitting was winding down. Both my cousins had their babies last week, so that only left one more preg lady to knit for. And then I got two wedding invitiations in the mail. And found out someone else is pregnant.
It never ends.
Also in knitting news, while on vacation I went to the Toy and Miniature Museum. I knew that some of Althea Merback's work was there, so I dragged my husband's family to see tiny knitted gloves. This was the sweater we got to see, but there was so much more. It was The.Best.Museum.Evah. (My husband laughed when I said that; "You've been to the Louvre," he joked.) But some statue with no arms has nothing on a six-inch-tall working printing press. Or tiny working musical instruments and cameras. My in-laws are lucky we showed up two hours before closing because I could've spent all day there. And the whole time, I kept wishing I had the AirForceKids or Sir Rowland there with me; they would've loved it.
I read yesterday at CG that a blogger I've never read before, Dispatches from Blogblivion, has fallen on hard times. I noticed his wife has an Etsy shop, so I went and bought a cute crochet pattern. If anyone is so inclined to get a crochet pattern in exchange for a little charity, her Etsy shop is here. Looks like I will be crocheting little birdies at some point in the future.
I want to do a knitting update. But I can't. Everything I am making is a present for someone who reads the blog. I can't ruin the surprises. But -- get ready to gasp -- I am getting ready to start making something for myself soon. It's been a long while. I am going to make one of these Magknits shirts for summer. For me. Mine, all mine. Also I am itching to make socks. I plan to give these more-fun-than-cables socks a go while we're in the car heading back to the Midwest for block leave.
Mmmm. Selfish knitting.
I donated these preemie hats to the hospital last week. Isn't the "kiss me" one cute? That was my mother-in-law's idea.
And happy birthday, Oda Mae!
You know what sucks? When you start a baby cardigan and then set it aside for about a month while you work on other things. Then you return to the cardigan and make the second front panel, only to find you used the wrong needle size. So you have a whole section made with size 3s instead of 4s. Oh, and despite the fact that you double-checked, you don't have enough yarn to finish the sleeves. Grrr.
I actually managed to sneak in a little bit of knitting for myself lately. I am working on another DNA scarf.
And my buddy Heather shows up this week for her husband's homecoming ceremony (hooray!), so I have 110 squares for her Hand-Crafted Comfort.
Oh man, I just got laid off! It's a corporate decision to stop offering classes, so there's the end of the greatest job ever. I will really miss those knitting classes. It was fun while it lasted.
But how on earth will we ever live without the $900 I made last year? Heh.
I spent four hours today sewing toes to feet and making up the monkey face. He's done, and he's pretty cute. Too bad he's not going to fetch $200.
Remind me to never knit stuffed animals for strangers.
The new swear word around our house is "monkey toes."
I'm still working on the spider monkey I started back in November, a project which has been sitting in pieces on my coffee table, mocking me for months. The hitch? Individually knitted toes. Twenty of 'em. Individually sewn on to individual feet. A nightmare of sewing and weaving in ends.
But now the twenty toes are made, and it's time to buckle down and stuff them (eek) and start sewing them to the feet. And sewing the feet to the legs.
Time to get this monkey off my back. Hardy har.
(And yes, I know that the toes look like, ahem, swimmers all lined up like that. Or feminine products. That wasn't the look I was going for when I took the picture.)
How do I love my pal Erin? Let me count the ways...
Erin's first knitting project was this baby sweater, intended for a pregnant friend. But I wasn't there when she started it, so she didn't know that she could float the yarn up the side of the work instead of cutting at every color change. When she finished all the pieces and saw the tangle of mess she had to contend with, she picked the whole thing up and placed it in the garbage can.
Luckily, I was there at that moment, and knitting -- no matter how heinous -- does not belong in the garbage. I took it home and dumped it in a box of yarn, where it sat for three years.
And if Erin had adopted a girl, it would've sat there until eternity.
But Erin had a boy, and I had work to do.
I cursed those tails as I wove them in, but I did it because I couldn't wait to hear the awe in Erin's voice when she realized that the first knitting project she ever made would actually be worn by her new baby.
And it was totally worth it.
"Tucker, look what your mommy and Aunt Sarah made for you," I heard her whisper over the phone.
Yep, totally worth it.
Liveblogging the Super Bowl...no, just kidding. But I thought the Declaration of Independence segment was touching. Makes me feel so proud and embiggened.
And I am about to burst, I ate so much junk. Yum.
Yay, the hat I made for Tucker fits!
(I am used to making preemie stuff, so newborn stuff looks gigantic to me.)
Erin should change her blog name to Erin Raves About Sarah...and I'll change mine to Trying To Be Humble And Not Link Every Time Erin Raves About Sarah.
But she got her baby gifts...
Incidentally, I was thinking about Tucker while I was knitting. But that's a lot of knitting, and I was definitely also spending some time thinking about the episode of South Park where they burn a cross on Will Smith's yard but say that they're burning the letter T. I kept repeating the line as I knit -- "T, for 'time to leave'" -- until my husband was about to go batty from hearing the same lame joke for two weeks.
Also I was thinking about what a bonehead I am for making a burnt orange blanket with an f-ing T on it to send to a family stationed in Texas. Of all the dumb moves. I was 2/3 through the blanket before I realized that everyone is going to think they're University of Texas alums.
And yes, my sewing machine tried to murder me.
Round three of Erin's presents will be on the way shortly, hopefully before the baby is born. One more week!
I am mostly finished with this round of baby knitting, so I have thrown myself into crocheting squares for Hand-Crafted Comfort. Some of the ladies from my preemie knitting group donated yarn to me, and it all seemed to be red and blue. I threw some white in, and voilà:
I made 35 of these new patriotic squares. Coupled with the 16 for my autumn-themed blanket, that means I'll ship at least 51 squares to Heather soon.
But Heather's in the process of moving -- her hubs is returning from Iraq soon! -- so who knows how many I'll have by the time she gets an address. I still have a lot of that red and blue left, and I love the freeing feeling I get when I'm using up extra yarn that's been sitting around for a decade.
(Yes, I have yarn that's been sitting around for a decade. If by "sitting around" you mean PCSing with us five times and being dragged across the Atlantic.)
Butterfly Wife updated that she sent out her 696th card to wounded soldiers at Landstuhl. Not too shabby. So I thought I'd give a little update.
To break the monotony of baby knitting, I have thrown in a square or two.
These 12 will be sent off to Heather for Hand-Crafted Comfort, her organization that assembles afghans for the wounded at Walter Reed. I haven't kept track of how many I've made total, but I am keeping track of certain colors because I am trying to make enough to provide an entire afghan. I've made 35 so far towards my own blanket. And isn't this just the greatest way to make a project: I do the fun stuff and then mail everything to Heather so she can assemble them, sew them together, weave in ends, and cut tails? Awesome. Why can't all my projects be like that?
And someone else mentioned the other day that we haven't had a pupdate in a while.
This morning, Charlie had an upset stomach. Apparently he decided the best thing to do was to go all the way downstairs, crawl under the Christmas tree, barf, and then lay down in it. Our dog's a genius.
The SpouseBUZZ knit-along is complete!
Knitting woes are universal:
I am convinced that all that jazz about the big Christmas Knitting Deadline and the Will it Fit/Will They Like it Debate fluffs up the project so much in our minds that if, when the recipient finally opens their gift, they have a heart attack and go totally blind from from the joy of it all that our knit-gifting experience will never be exactly what we expect. I mean, really, let's be honest. A heart attack and total blindness--add to that a small amount of some sort of incontinence or maybe a swoon or two would fall just a tiny bit short of what we'd expect, once we add up all those skyscraper dreams, etc. that we graft into all those stitches, bulky or not.
I can so relate. This year the two things I knitted for people in my husband's extended family, they didn't even understand what I had knit them. I had to mail their gifts, and apparently both of them spent a week staring at the items and wondering what they heck they were and why I'd made them.
My husband keeps telling me to stop knitting for non-knitters. But when you're a knitter, you can't go out and buy a pack of onesies for a baby gift; you have to make something for baby. So I have to live up to that expectation while balancing the fact that it takes about 60 straight hours of knitting to make a baby blanket.
So I keep going. I'm 3/5 of the way through little Tucker's gift. And it totally doesn't match the nursery. Sad.
The other night, I couldn't fall asleep because I have too much knitting stress. For pete's sake, Erin's baby gets here in a month and I haven't even started! Not to mention the other babies popping on the scene in early 2008. I have knit myself into a corner and need to get out fast.
So I got out of bed and worked from midnight to 0200 to finish the project I had so selfishly started for myself.
(It's Nakiska from Knitty, unblocked of course because blocking takes time.)
Now that that's out of the way, I'm on a strict baby knitting schedule, five or six hours a day. My husband looked at me today and said, "I think maybe you shouldn't knit so much." He means well, really he does, but I don't know what he was thinking when he said that. He says he only meant that it's a hobby and I shouldn't get so stressed out about an activity that's supposed to be fun and doesn't even bring us any income.
But Erin's baby can't knit for himself.
Back to work.
I'm a mere 13 rows away from finishing my huge knitting project so I can gift it. Thank heavens. It was meant to be 30,100 stitches made with love and appreciation, but at this point I just can't wait to put it in the mail.
And then I have to make this spider monkey, which someone is paying me to make.
And then I can concentrate on the other five projects I have sitting on my sofa...
The other day I got this ridiculous idea that I still had time before Christmas to make everyone I know a pair of these little mitten ornaments. Thank heavens I talked myself out of that before I even got started. I still want to make them, but everyone can get them next year.
OK, someone needs to submit me for that show Intervention. I couldn't go 24 hours without knitting. I was sitting there in the recliner all jittery and fidgety, like a crackhead in withdrawal. And I finally lost it and made my husband pass me the dpn's. Ahhh, endorphins.
Thank heavens I never channeled this compulsive behavior into cigarettes or slot machines.
So since I'm not knitting, I'm writing about knitting. And thinking about knitting. And scouring the internet for knitting (holy cow, a Super Mario bag!) The Girl suggested that I take a nice, hot bath to rest my muscles and relax, but when I got there I remembered I hate water, and all I could think about was what I could be knitting.
It seems I'm not the only one with knitting on the brain: AirForceWife has taught herself to knit. Sweet. The husband and I are planning a trip to visit the AirForceFamily in January, so I can't wait to knit together. Hang on, AirForceWife, I'll teach you to knit socks soon!
I made a knitting joke the other day over at AWTM's place. Commenters told me that I should stop forcing my oppressive knitting agenda down AWTM's throat (I'm wildly exaggerating for humor here.) I don't care that AWTM doesn't want to knit; it was just a joke because Emma Peel was knitting. Actually, I have decided I am thrilled that people now have to pay me to learn my hobby. If they're forking over cash, they must really want to learn it. I've taught enough people in my life who didn't end up becoming Knitters; I like to teach enthusiastic learners.
And AirForceWife seems enthusiastic. Heck, even her husband is enthusiastic about her knitting; after seven years together, I still don't think my husband quite groks my interest in the pointy sticks.
I have a knitting project that I have been working on for a seriously long time. It's a big project, and it's a boring project. I have become desperate to get it finished, so desperate that I have been knitting on it for about six hours a day all week long. And I've developed a horrible crick in my neck. I have put myself on the disabled list for a day or so to see if the pain goes away.
So what's a girl to do when she can't knit? Shop for yarn, of course. My husband is gonna kill me...
Speaking of knitting, I read an article yesterday that blew my mind. It was about Althea Merback, a knitter who makes clothes in miniature. Her stuff is incredible. 80 stitches to the inch! Stop and think about that for a second. She uses medical wire for knitting needles. I am just floored. She has a website, but I'm sure photos don't do the work justice. I read that some of her work is in a museum in Kansas City, so the next time we head home to the Midwest, I definitely want to check it out.
I've got my holiday preemie caps to donate this week.
I had all these grandiose plans to make Hannukah caps and all sorts of goodies, but last week kinda took the wind out of my sails. I made these over the weekend and that will have to do for this year.
And now I'm looking forward to the lack of upcoming holidays so I can just make hats from whatever colors I want. I'm free until 4th of July! OK, maybe a few hearts for Valentine's Day. But I swear I will not attempt an intarsia Abraham Lincoln in February.
I am finally well enough to be able to be able to lift my arms more than four inches off the sofa. Which means knitting again! But I look around me, just from my vantage point on the sofa, and see ten projects on needles. I have so much knitting I want to do, and only two hands to do it with. How often have I wished I were a Hindu god...
And the queen of stuffed animals over at k2sc1 is raising the bar yet again with a fantastic knitted elephant. I want one! But I seriously can't cast on my eleventh project.
My latest Thanksgiving preemie hat. Or, as I like to call it, the Loch Ness monster with balloons on his back.
We're all posting flowers for Butterfly Wife. Everyone has found lovely flowers. No one has found knitted flowers.
Enjoy your short break, BFW. Can't wait to see you in Vegas this week!
I am really looking forward to feeling better because I miss knitting. I just generally feel too crappy to lift my arms. But I really really really want to knit this gun for my baby.
Butterfly Wife is the queen of sending cards to the wounded at Landstuhl. She has already contributed 457 cards. I completely lay myself at her feet. She says writing the cards is like chanting a mantra. I too have found a troop-related activity that makes me feel this way.
All these squares will be sent along to Hand-Crafted Comfort to be made into afghans for the wounded. I am on a roll. I made all the blue ones on the plane to Hawaii, and my goal is to make a whole afghan's worth of the autumn-themed ones: 70 total. I'm a tenth of the way there.
And yes, they're crochet. Don't judge me.
Oh, and by the way, this is hilarious. Butterfly Wife was asking for suggestions for songs to listen to during deployment. Someone mentioned "Right Here Waiting For You." Then BW's husband shows up in the comments section and says
No Richard Marx sweetie. We both don't need PTSD.
Dude, this is so cool. I am the #1 hit on Google and Google Images for "knit rhinoceros."
Oda Mae sent me a cute link that combines two of my favorite things: yarnwork and cooking.
More Halloween preemie hats. These are sure fun!
The black one is with candy corns; it's a little easier to see in person.
The tan one...I should've used black for the jack o lantern mouths but I didn't want to do three-stranded colorwork. And duplicate stitch looked like crap when I tried it here. Come to think of it, I think duplicate stitch usually looks like crap. Not a fan.
My next idea: designing a turkey for some November hats.
When I make socks, I always make them too short. I get anxious to start the heel and shave rows off the leg. Thus I always end up with short socks and a ball of leftover yarn.
This time I decided I was going the full length on the socks. I didn't want that ball of leftover yarn. Success! Definitely no leftovers here.
Looks like I'll be begging my German connection for another trip to the yarn shop. And then I'll be stuck with a whopping big ball of leftovers.
I've been working on some new preemie hats for next month...
I've organized a knit-along. Anyone want to join us?
After fussing and fighting and needle-breaking and ending up with a mere fourteen inches of thread left, the quilt is finally finished.
I wrote about the making of an heirloom over at SpouseBUZZ.
I am so happy about this project.
OK, the snowman hat has a nose and the lion has a mane...
Here's what happens every time I quilt:
1) Get everything ready and get hyped up to start the project.
2) Sit down and quilt the first row.
3) Go to start the second row; top thread doesn't catch and I quilt several inches before I realize I'm sewing without thread. Remove entire quilt from machine and rethread.
4) Start again, only to find that the second time I inserted the quilt, the bottom layer got a wrinkle in it.
5) Pop in a Futurama disc and spend 40 minutes tearing all stitches out.
6) Finally make second row.
7) Without changing a single thing, start third row and find that tension has completely changed and a big knot forms on underside of work.
8) Cut everything out, spend 15 minutes unquilting.
9) Take all thread out, rethread, try on actual quilt because I'm a moron: tension still berserk. 5 minutes of unquilting. Unthread, take apart every removable piece of the machine, blow on it like an old school Nintendo, put it all back together, try again, this time on scraps: tension fine.
10) Put quilt back on machine, tension goes berserk.
11) Grit teeth, clench fists, shut off machine and return to my knitting where there's no #$%& technology between me and my craft.
Total time spent: all morning
Total rows quilted: 2
If I didn't want the finished project so badly, I'd throw the whole thing out the window.
I haven't had anything to say for a few days. I have not been online much, and even when I have been, I don't ever come up with anything to say. Except knitting stuff, and I'm not sure how many of you are interested in knitting stuff. But I was looking for patterns for chemo caps (found some good ones here at Head Huggers) and somehow stumbled across the cutest baby bib. I love peas, they're probably my favorite veggie, so I thought this was magnificent.
Now if you'll excuse me, my lion needs a mane and my snowman hat needs a carrot nose.
Ack, I've totally met my Better when it comes to stuffed animals! Look at Amethyst's turtle. I better get cracking on that lion so I can hold my own.
OK, the octopus is finished. He's not as cute and chubby as this crocheted one, but I'll be darned if he doesn't look like a smiling octopus. Well, maybe more like a squid, but whatever. And nevermind that he's three times the size of the rhinoceros I made. Charlie immediately took a liking to him and decided to curl up like best buds.
Now to finish the lion I started...
I've been tempted by the Dark Side.
Craft-minded readers will notice that this stack of squares is not knitting but...gulp...crochet.
A friend of mine is compiling afghans for a charity. She asked for 6x6 squares, and she goaded me into trying my hand at crocheting them. At first I hated it with a passion, starting and ripping and starting and ripping. I did more un-crocheting than crocheting. But eventually I got the hang of it and figured out how to read the patterns. I got a lot of practice in on these squares, and boy howdy does crochet use up a lot of yarn. Stash depletion for a good cause = awesome.
I picked up my knitting again last night, and it sure felt good. But I think I will venture into crochet again sometime in the future. Especially to make the Exchange Bag from the Happy Hooker book.
And this girl's octopus is turning out waaay cuter than mine. Mine, I fear, is going to look more like a real octopus than a cartoon one (i.e. ugly and scary). I have images of my infant wrapped up in it à la 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Maybe once I put a smile on him, he will seem like a friendly overbearing monster...
I have been crankin' out preemie caps for my Fairy Godmothers group for the past two weeks. They are so fun to make because they're quick and you can play with different colors. I think I might freak some of the ladies out with my hot pink and lime green, but I think some hip young wife will like it.
I also have to do job-related knitting: Michaels is redesigning the front of the store and so we have to have season-themed projects on display. I copied The Girl's first baby project and made the baby pumpkin hat.
I also started knitting this spider last night, but I hate him. He looks more like a fly than a spider. I am going to finish him and then maybe try to make this variation of the spider pattern and see if it turns out any better. But I have to turn my seasonal knitting in by the end of the week, so I may get desperate and have to turn in the fly spider after all.
OK, he doesn't look so bad now that he has legs...
Yes, yes, sweet, awesome, holy crap.
We just bought tickets to attend Stitch N Pitch at Busch Stadium. That's right, knitting and baseball acting like they're peanut butter and jelly. Too cool. We'll be going with my friend and her mom, the awesome lady who taught me to knit ten years ago, and a girl I met through my knitting class here whose husband is deployed. She's flying from Montana; we're coming from both coasts to converge on the StL for the best idea to hit baseball since the hot dog.
Best idea we've had for a vacation since we followed Feasting on Asphalt.
Watch out, Vera Bradley; I'm quilting my own bags now.
I love my new sewing machine.
Today I joined a group.
I went into a craft store to look for something for my mom, and naturally I cannot go in a craft store without sneaking into the yarn section. There I found a table with five older ladies knitting and crocheting. I immediately joined their club.
They call themselves the Fairy Godmothers, and they meet twice a month to knit and crochet little caps and sweaters for the preemies in the local hospital. I got patterns from them to get started on, and I can't wait until the next meeting.
I made five friends today. They're all my mother's age, but who's counting?
Once I got on a roll crocheting borders on my colored squares, I really got into it. I sewed the squares together as I went, so I could avoid having to do all the sewing at the end. Et voilà. I am really happy with how this project turned out. Charlie agreed to model the blanket, since he did such a good job last time. He's so funny the way he averts his eyes any time we hold up the camera. He hates looking directly at it and will rotate his head any which way to avoid it.
Now if we just had a baby to wrap in the blanket...
The heavy lifting is done.
But the perfect method I had concocted for how to put all the squares together ended up looking like absolute crap. I thought I could just crochet the squares together, forming a nice border between each one. I didn't count on it looking like garbage. So we're at a standstill, and I've moved on to another project to calm down a bit.
I think what I will end up doing is crocheting a border around each square and then sewing them together. Not something I am looking forward to doing, but oh well.
I'm back home visiting my parents for the weekend, so I have not been on the computer. Blogging will resume in a few days.
On Friday, my flight schedule was pretty lame. I had a one-hour flight, a four-hour layover, and a 1.5-hour flight. Ugh. As I sat down to whittle away at those four hours in the airport, I realized something horrible: I had left one of my knitting needles on the coffee table at home. Four hours with no knitting and nothing to do except try to drown out the endless CNN loop above my head. I was miserable, as any true knitting addict would be. But I called a knitter friend and laughed at my situation: Here I was in an airport that's a major R&R hub, where I saw dozens of soldiers obviously anxious to get home, and I was ready to cry because I couldn't knit. I joked with my friend that I should tell one of these soldiers how much harder my life is than his because I was having knitting withdrawals.
Ah, that Perspective again...
You know your life is remarkably good when your dreams are filled with knitting angst. If the hardest thing I have to deal with in my life is whether the best way to connect all these colored squares I've been making into a blanket is whipstitch or single crochet, then life is good indeed.
I've developed a bad case of knitting ADD recently. For ten years I was a one-project woman, but lately... I think it started when I got my job and I was knitting things for home and things for work and I realized that there's no reason why I can't have multiple items going at once. So now I sit on the sofa surrounded by pieces of a baby blanket, an octopus with two tentacles, an afghan, the back of a sweater, and half a purse. And that wasn't enough to satisfy my mind yesterday, so I worked for 24 hours on this little fellow.
Looks like a pig mated with an anteater, but he's got a certain charm. He'll hop in the mail tomorrow and be on his way to warmer climes, as a long-overdue and much-anticipated gift for someone who was always there to rescue me when my husband locked me out of the house in Germany.
And holy crap, Space Invaders socks. Can I fit another project on the sofa?
I'm already nesting for a baby that doesn't even exist yet. How's that for tuning in to my maternal spirit? But motherhood is also a handy excuse for new knitting patterns. Here's what I've been working on for the past two weeks:
The wombat looks highly ridiculous, but I just wanted mine to be the only kid on the block with a handmade wombat. The rhino is actually pretty cool, I think.
I plan to crowd the kid's crib with these things. Next up: an octopus and a snake.
There's been sewing in the house today!
Usually I get sewing ideas and they drag out over years. I never get around to actually doing it. But my double pointed needles really were begging for a home, so I sat down and worked this puppy out. It's not perfect -- I probably should've chosen a color besides yellow, and I should've made it an inch or two wider -- but it will certainly do. Hooray for the opposite of procrastination!
If you're the praying type, send one up for me today. I'm gonna need it when my husband gets home...
I went to the store intending to buy $3-worth of yarn for teddies. Instead I came home with this.
Welcome to Divorceville, population: me.
LATER THAT EVENING:
Still married. In fact, he didn't seem that fazed. And I don't have anything specific in mind to make with it; I just bought all the store had because it was 50% off. Ideas will come...bags can be felted...the yarn will find its purpose.
I started a sweater while my husband was in Iraq, messed it up, and let it sit without touching it for two years. Well, I finally picked it back up, ripped it all out, and started over. I am happy with the final results.
But I'm kinda bummed that I now live in a place where I can't wear sweaters. Two seconds after taking this photo, I had to rip the sweater off before I suffocated. It's so danged hot here. Not that I'm complaining: my parents have been snowed into their house in Illinois for two days. Literally. They can't get out of the driveway.
But now I'm a knitter with a closet full of sweaters and scarves, and it's 76 degrees in December.
My friend Angie had her third boy this year. Since they're an Army family through and through, I made her newest addition a camouflage teddy bear. But apparently I ushered an era of fighting into her home. Her oldest stole the bear from the baby.
So adorable. Except for the constant fighting. Apparently the boys fight over who gets to sleep with the bear every night. I feel so bad that I did something to contribute to discord in their house. So the Army teddy is getting some friends.
Now they have their own little multicultural squad. (I should make one more so they'd have a whole tank, but then they might fight over the extra bear!) Hopefully this helps lessen Angie's stress. And I learned a valuable knitter's lesson: never make something for one kid in a family.
Well, I didn't make it to the store or the post office or anything else I was going to do yesterday, but I did finish knitting a Detroit voodoo doll all in one day.
Heh. Go Cardinals!
I don't know if my friend from Sweden still checks in on my blog anymore, but if you do, don't look! The rest of you can check out the extended entry...
I'm too excited about my latest knitting project to wait until after Christmas to post a photo. Right before the World Cup this year, I found that German yarn shops were carrying sock yarns in different national colors. My friend from Sweden has been living and working in Germany for the past few years, and I figure there's nothing that makes you want to connect with your home country like living abroad! Thus I thought she needed some socks to show off her Swedeness. I designed some socks with the Swedish Lesser Coat of Arms on the heels, modeled here by my mama.
I am so excited at how they turned out, and I can't wait to send them to her. But thank goodness Sweden has a simple coat of arms!
So after I finished my teddy bear knitting kick (all in all, I made 13 bears), I started in on a handbag kick.
The white one is Tasha from knitty.com, inspired by The Girl's version. The brown one was my first felting experience, using the salvaged Unikat wool that Charlie tried to eat. Actually, I've discovered that Charlie has expensive taste: he couldn't care less about the cheapy yarn I use to make teddies, but he grabs the nice wool and runs under the bed with his treasure.
Update on the knitting re-dos. Those of you who know me in person may know that I have had half of a sweater back sitting in my knitting basket for, oh, two years now. I started this sweater while the husband was in Iraq, and then I realized that it looked ridiculous. It features vertical stripes of stockinette and seed stitch, and apparently I do those two at vastly different gauges. Seriously, my seed needed size 6s and my stockinette probably needed like 4s or something. So I let 16 inches of a sweater sit for two years. Well, today I set aside the urge to start a new project and decided to do something about this stupid project that I dragged across the Atlantic. I tore out the whole danged thing and started practicing my seed stitch. I'm fairly sure I can start over and try to get the two sections closer in gauge. I hope so, because I like the pattern and want to have the sweater, minus the big gaping panels of stockinette. More as it develops.
Every knitter has stuff in her closet that she hates. Lots of people rip those garments out and start over or move on to something else, but I just leave the loathed garment in my closet and wish a magic fairy would come make it all better for me. So far no luck.
Inspired by a Knitty Gritty episode, I have decided to fix some problem knits. The highest priority was the first cable sweater I ever did. I blindly followed the pattern and completed the entire sweater, only to find that the torso was about 5 inches too long for my liking. If it were the 80s, I could've thrown on a belt and made a mini-dress out of it. Sigh. I wore the sweater a couple of times out of obligation, but I never liked it.
So this past week I did the scariest knitting thing I've ever done: I cut the bottom off with scissors and knitted new ribbing on, eliminating several unwanted inches. Which meant picking up stitches out of cables. Yikes.
I don't know if you can really tell from this before and after photo how much length I lost, but it was quite a bit. I lost a little blood, sweat, and tears in the process too. But now I have a sweater that I will actually wear, instead of one that looks nice from a distance but never leaves the closet.
I told myself that I don't want to move on to new projects until I am happy with the ones I have. That means I've got about four or five sweaters to either rip out completely and salvage the yarn for something else, or to fix somehow. Probably rip out, in all honesty, for they're such a waste of yarn.
Off to tackle another monstrous garment...
OK, I think I'm a little burnt out on teddies for the moment. I suppose that's what happens when you make six of them in two weeks. As you can see, I got more creative as time went on, and I certainly got better at embroidering their faces! The green one is my favorite; it was my first attempt at a fair isle pattern, so I learned a lot about pulling too tight, and also about what happens when you accidentally read the chart backwards for a row. I'll send off my teddies to Mother Bear Project soon. And maybe I'll make another den of bears when the urge strikes again!
(P.S. The maroon one has a really cool cable pattern that doesn't show up at all in the photo.)
The other night I couldn't sleep, so my usual remedy is browsing knit blogs. I happened to find a wonderfully pertinent article on knitting backwards; this will certainly come in handy while I'm addicted to making these bears. Now I don't have to flip my work over to purl anymore, which is definitely a timesaver on these tiny rows of ten. Hooray.
But I hit a small knitting snag last night. For dinner we made a fabulous pork tenderloin stuffed with mushrooms, bacon, and onion. For some reason our smoke detector goes off at the drop of a hat, so it started going off as I took the tenderloin out of the oven. I got flustered and, for no good reason whatsoever, decided to grab the meat thermometer and just pull it out with my hand. I was looking right at it, so I was well aware that it said 165 F but, whatever, pulling it out barehanded seemed like a good move. As I instinctively jerked my hand back and started hopping around the kitchen, I looked at my husband and said, "I really have no idea why I just did that." Luckily I didn't burn myself too bad, but the burn is perfectly located where I hold my yarn. I was doing this funky modified knitting move all evening long. It's not as sensitive today, so I can't wait to finish up Teddy #3. Actually, this should be Teddy #4, but #3 only has 3/4 of a head because I ran out of the ball of brown I was using. I've been debating for days whether I should go buy another matching skein of it, since the whole point of these bears is to whittle down these balls that have been sitting here for years, not to buy more!
I'm on a roll: I'm already up to the shirtline of Teddy #3!
I had give-away knitting on the brain the other day when I saw an episode of Knitty Gritty on knitting for charity. They made a cute teddy bear to send to kids in Africa. I have so many apple-sized balls of yarn in this house that I thought this might be a good way to whittle some of that stash down. So I grabbed some yarn and went to work; 36 hours later, I've got a bear to send.
He's not perfect, but hopefully some child will like him. I plan to perfect the technique by making a few more. I'm digging in to the two big baskets of yarn from my living room (Girls, you know what I mean!)
If you're interested in doing this super easy project, the pattern can be found here. (Seriously, I started him yesterday afternoon.) And check out the official Mother Bear Project website, especially the photos of the kids receiving their bears. And then get knitting!
Last night I started working on my first double knitting project. That's where you knit a double-sided piece, working the front and back at the same time so it's reversible. It's a bit of a challenge to get started, but it's a whole lot of fun once you get going. I just grabbed two shades of green to make a scarf for the practice, so here's the front and back; you can see how the colors are reversed but there's no right/wrong side. Cool, huh?
If you're interested in watching this process, a video is available at the awesome site KnittingHelp.com!
My friend Vonn alerted me to a knitting show many months ago, so when I got to the US, I looked it up. I've been happily watching Knitty Gritty since, and even though a lot of the shows are pretty basic for me, I find I've learned a lot. In fact, yesterday I learned that I yarn over incorrectly, and today I learned a much better way to pick up stitches from the heel gusset of a sock. The show is great because I can actually see someone knitting, a bonus for me since I learned to knit via the telephone! I only ever had two knitting lessons with my teacher, so everything else I've learned from a book or made up as I went along. I think Knitty Gritty is a great tool for beginner knitters...too bad that all my students are still stuck in Germany!
I also think it's hilarious that my mother-in-law watches the show. We found it last month at her house and she watched all the episodes with me, but she keeps watching it! And she doesn't knit! If she keeps watching the show, she's gonna learn how to knit whether she likes it or not.
By the way, my mom wanted to see my latest scarf:
The details don't show up very well online, but it's dainty and pretty.
Erin, Kelly, and The Girl: prepare to be jealous.
My mother's friend came over today for brunch. Her mother passed away last year, and so she brought me the following stash that no one else wanted...
She also brought a gorgeous antique knitting bag. There's all sorts of stuff there, including double pointeds. Don't I wish I could get those for 65 cents like the packaging says! I just bought some for $3.44!
I was in knitter's heaven today.
Look at this bunny's feet! Happy Easter indeed!
And Kelly found the most wonderful project: The Binary Hat
I really enjoyed reading this blog post about teaching other people to knit. I have taught many people, and most of them have continued knitting. I love that. Erin and Kelly were the funniest though. They came to me and said, "We want to learn to knit. Teach us to make socks." Seriously. That was their very first project. No scarves for them. They didn't learn to purl or cast off for ages! Nothing like starting with the hardest project.
I've been thinking a lot lately about branching out. I've knitted English for nine years, and I really want to learn continental. But every time I try, it's so awkward that I just switch back. But all knitting is awkward in the beginning; I just need to push through the pain and learn it.
Then I could knit standing up!
The Girl finished her first major knitting project. It looks so nice. And she made up the cable on the sleeves herself! Her brother's baby will be so cute in it.
I'm working on a basic sweater right now. I've made this pattern as a pullover, but now I think I'm going to try to convert it into a cardigan. Anyway, here's the beginning of one of the sleeves.
And The Girl wants to learn to do entrelac. I had never done it before, but I remembered seeing this pattern on Knitty. So I made myself a little swatch. Entrelac is actually pretty fun; it's like a knitting puzzle. I couldn't imagine it by just reading, so I grabbed some junk yarn and saw it come together before my own eyes.
A woman in Riverrim's knitting club just lost her son to the War on Terror. This woman was making an afghan for her son, one square for every month he was away, and now the afghan will join him in his coffin. This story rips my heart out and the knitter inside me is weeping.
I haven't had any knitting content on the blog lately because everything I was making was a secret. But now the baby knitting is over and I'm just trying to pass the time until we move. I can't start anything big, so I've just been working to keep my hands busy. In the past two weeks, I've made two pairs of socks, a scarf, and a cozy for our portable DVD player.
The scarf sprung from a challenge from The Girl. The husband and I went to see King Kong over the weekend, and I knew that I didn't want to sit for three hours without knitting. So I told The Girl I was going to try out my Blind Knitting in the darkness of a movie theater for the first time. I realized that knitting in the dark is a bit different from knitting in the light. Even though I normally watch TV while knitting -- and I can even watch subtitled flicks -- I can still sneak peeks at my work. But there were no peeks in the movie theater. I found it takes more touch to knit in the dark; I had to put my finger on every stitch in order to knit it. And I was only brave enough for garter stitch! The process was much slower, but I think in time I'll get better. Now I just have to decide if I want to take knitting to see Superman Returns or X-Men: The Last Stand. I had trouble concentrating on that scarf when King Kong was fighting three t-rexes, so I'm not sure I'll be able to concentrate at all during two movies that will be the highlight of our summer! But maybe I can perfect my Blind Knitting before Spiderman 3...
Heh. Apparently concentrating on knitting can be deadly...
It's been a while since I put up knitting content, mostly because I've been 1) making stuff that I can't talk about until it's given as gifts and 2) knitting an all black reverse-stockinette cardigan that makes me want to fall asleep or scratch out my eyeballs every time I pick it up, it's that boring. So I don't have anything good of my own to share, but I do have a photo that makes me feel giddy:
My husband has always been curious about how knitting works, but he's never had any interest in learning. But once I read At Knit's End and laughed that her husband had been knitting the same sock for years, I wanted my husband to try his hand at my favorite hobby.
Since he has no interest in making knitting his own hobby, I cast on for him and showed him a row of garter. He knit three rows on his own and then handed me the needles and said, "Yep, that's enough."
He was a really good knitter, one of my best students so far. He chugged along at a good pace, despite his surprising innate desire to purl (I've never seen anyone's hands instinctually prefer purl over knit). And I'm sure he'll never pick up another ball of yarn, but I appreciated his effort to learn my hobby.
And doesn't he look cute the way he's concentrating so hard?
The mystery knitting project is complete. Two years ago I made a wonderful DNA scarf for a friend of mine who got her degree in genetics. I was struggling to come up with an idea of a baby gift to make for her first child, born the day after Thanksgiving. I followed a link on Lola's blog to the most fitting gift I could ever imagine. Mine didn't turn out quite as nice as Kimberly Chapman's (I think my gauge was a little off), but I still think my friend's new daughter will like it. And that solves the mystery of the "black weiner-looking thing": it was the side strand of a DNA helix.
(P.S. The DNA scarf pattern is no longer available online, so I had to link to another knitter who made the same scarf. I poked around on his blog and found a delightful article about manly knitting during WWII. The Girl, I'm thinking of making another DNA scarf for myself -- wanna join me?)
I don't normally show knitting works in progress, but I'll give you ten bucks if you can guess what this is going to be...
Give up? You'll have to wait a few days to find out...
I joined an elite new webring that I'm really excited about:
I guess that means I need more knitting content on my blog. So for the "knits" end of the deal, here's the sweater I finished yesterday:
I'm working on a very time-consuming sweater these days. Size 4 needles, sportweight yarn, lots of little stitches. About 42,000 of them so far, and that's only the back and half of the front. At five minutes per row, 312 rows so far, that's about 26 hours of knitting put into the sweater. That's two and a half seasons of Dallas. And I'm only halfway done.
With that said, if you walked into the living room and found the dog munching away at your sweater, wouldn't you try to hit him with a loaf of mozzarella bread too?
(I don't think he did anything I can't fix. Luckily he was chewing at the armhole, so I'm sure I can hide that bit. Oooh, was I mad though. And now I have teeth marks all over my needles.)
I told my husband that since I'm not working, I wouldn't spend any money on the internet. I've already broken that promise today by purchasing At Knit's End: Meditations for Women Who Knit Too Much, which I found via Knitty. I'll do better starting tomorrow...
This summer, with no job and a puppy to watch, I have done a lot of knitting. I never thought there was such a thing as too much knitting, but apparently there is. I have been having dull pains in my forearms, and both my index fingers are shot: I made a puncture wound in my left index with a 4.0 cm, and I have a rugburn-like callous on my right from holding the yarn. My husband has put me on the disabled list: no knitting for at least two days. And I was gonna start these gloves for my dad, perfect for his two favorite hobbies (cigars and fishing).
What do you do with your free time if you're not knitting?
Since all I've done this summer is knit and make sure the dog isn't chewing on the coffee table, I've been fairly productive. The sweater on the left is for the husband, and the other two are for me. I'm nearly done with a fourth, a plain white one. (I hate how photos always make my work look like those Magic Eye posters.)
Also via Zabibbo is Good, here's a humorous account from a man who lives with a knitter:
Living with a knitter is not easy. To which degree varies based on the knitter's personality as knitters come in all flavors. The sociological kind is common, to which knitting is a crusade, the polarized kind, to which an SKP and a K2TOG are mutually exclusive, the helping type, which needs to help you even when you never asked for help and the guru type, which only lives in Nepal. Some knitters are militant to their partner, which is, they want their mate to be involved. This can develop in requesting for help winding a hank (which can have catastrophic results), help choosing color and design (which turns into masochism easily) and can go as far as outsourcing a design to the mate. The latter, technically called "black hole initiative" is definitely hairy business and can go as far as what is known as "annihilation", don't try it if you are the Romantic type.
I suppose I'm somewhere between sociological and polarized. I have asked my husband for advice, wherein he makes something up and then realizes later that I was serious. I stopped asking. I have offered to teach him, but I think he wants to keep the mystery of knitting a mystery: as he said once, "You know, I have no idea what it is you're doing. You click those sticks together and a sweater comes out."
And SKP is most certainly different from K2TOG.
The husband sent me a cute article: It's True: Guys Join the Knitting Craze. I love the motto "Man Enough to Knit; Strong Enough to Purl."
His good buddy in the Air Force, one of the manliest men I know (carves his own baseball bats, used to work as a taxidermist) crochets. It adds an interesting dimension to his personality, but to him it's just another way of using your own hands to create something.
I've tried to encourage my husband to learn to knit, but he's not buying it.
I finally made something for myself that I can post on the blog. It's a scarf that took me the entire season three of Alias (read: four days glued to the recliner) to knit.
I almost started to write "This will be me someday!", but then I realized that it's already me. I knit about four hours a night too!
I finished two more projects this month. I'm working at a rate of a sweater per month during the deployment, which keeps me occupied. The first one is that pink and white sweater I was waiting on the yarn to finish. The second is for me too; I've always wanted to have a bright striped sweater. (I can never seem to get the colors to come out right when I take photos of my projects though.)
My home computer has major problems right now, so blogging might be rough this weekend. Plus I have final papers to grade, so don't expect much.
Knitting update: Still waiting for the pink and white yarn. It's in the mail, thanks to my mother-in-law, and I'm anxious to get that project done. Especially since it's still sweater weather here in Germany. I have started a new sweater already and finished the back last night (photo later when my computer stops acting like a jerk). In the meantime, I found a pattern I'd really like to try, save two major obstacles: 1) the yarn is honkin' expensive and 2) intarsia knitting is something I've never done before; I even had to google it because I didn't know what the heck it was. Plus I have a ton of projects I should already be working on first, but I keep pulling up this pattern and looking at it longingly. So many patterns, only two hands...
My husband has been gone for four months as of yesterday, and today is our wedding anniversary. I made him a special gift that he certainly doesn't need when the temperatures are pushing 130:
He wrote me a funny email this morning:
I don't have much else to say except I love you and I'm very thankful that
you're my wife. I'm also thankful that an AC-130 didn't bomb our wedding two
years ago. Cause that happens, ya know. I should be able to call today, inshah
Happy Anniversary, Blue 6. I sure do miss you.
In addition to finishing my book on the train, I also finished my current knitting project.
Well, 50% of the project...
1. Today the temperature outside was 63 degrees.
2. The heater in our house is still on full blast.
3. I finally finished my sweater.
4. Taking a photo of yourself is really hard.
5. This photo is too blurry, but it was the best I could do.
6. I'm absolutely roasting now...
7. I want to wear the sweater tomorrow, but it's so freakin' warm.
I've never posted any knitting on my blog before, but some people said they'd be interested in seeing it, so I thought I'd post a photo of a work in progress. I still have to make the arms, but this is what it looks like as of now.
Someone asked how long this took. Well, I think it took about 25 minutes for an inch (basically one inch per South Park) and it's 23 inches each front and back, so mmm mmm carry the one mmm that means it took about 24 hours to knit. Of course I didn't watch that many South Parks in a row; I've been working on it in the evenings for about three weeks. And this one is for me. The next one will be for the husband, and I'll probably just mail him a photo of it and not the sweater. We joked about that before he left, that he could hold it up in the desert El Guapo style: "It's a sweater!"