Monthly Archives: November 2005

Christmas Knitting

basket of tiny stockings

That, my friends, is 17 completed ornaments. There are just enough materials left for Great Gran to make three more – she thinks they will be great money holders. It is time to move on to my Greater Christmas Knitting Destiny.

In an effort to avoid the trap of Too Many Knitted Gifts, I have always limited myself to one Official Knitted Present per year. This year, possibly as a direct result of finishing 17 Tiny Stockings before December, I have thrown caution to the wind and decided to make two (that’s right, TWO) presents. I will show them both to you because the Lucky Recipients rarely, if ever, read my blog.

Present #1 is a Mr. Dangly (as part of the Effort to Clone Mr. Dangly). I found this pattern while I was looking at the Zombies. Sadly, there is no Zombie pattern (I would pay Good Money for that). Here are the required ingredients for a Mr. Dangly Clone:

two yarns and a pattern

The Merino Style is in Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

Present #2 is a Lacy Scarf. I had a very different scarf planned when I ordered the yarn (K1C2’s Angora Soft) . When the description said “cabled” I did not realize that they meant Extremely Loosely Cabled, so I opted for a lighter pattern that I found while organizing Granmother’s Workbasket Magazines. I think it is going to be lovely.

lacey scarf

The Angora Soft works up into a soft, crushable, light and delicate fabric. Unfortunately, it turns out I hate working with it. It’s way too easy to stick your needle right through those little cables and split the stitch. Once you pull one of those tiny plies out, it’s the Very Devil to get it to go back in neatly. Add to that the apparent organic matter that I have to pick out every now and then which also disrupts the plies and you get a Frustrating Experience. I mean, honestly, it’s only %15 angora to begin with! How filthy can %15 of a goat be? Maybe it’s the baby nylons who roll around in the fields collecting sticks and leaves in their delicate coats that causes this problem. However, I am a somewhat patient girl and I have plenty of time to finish up a Handle With Care Scarf. It is pretty.

One more thing! I sent Traci (who hasn’t been blogging lately but I’m linking anyway – she could start again any minute) a copy of this pattern (I checked with Bernat and they said that was fine) and she sent me:

stuff

TREATS

Thank you so much, Traci! I’ll share with you any time. Just so you know, the candy in this picture has already been consumed. It almost didn’t make it back from the mail box. A tenth of a mile is a long way, people.

stocking mania

blurry fireplace

I should have used the flash.

For those of you keeping count, I am now six socks short of my Stocking Quota. But I only have to make four more. It’s still All Good.

Instead of stockings, I finished M’s striped sock number one.

one blue sock with a green toe

One ball of Parade does not make a complete man-size (10 1/2) sock. I only made a six inch leg since I am paranoid about yarn shortages (please see the previous entry) and I still ran out of yarn right at the toe. I used the green striped Parade that I got for myself to finish up. This is not a huge tragedy, I’ll just get three balls next time. I plan to make the second sock on our trip to Atlanta for M’s family’s Thanksgiving (last year was a Bay Minette year so this year it’s Atlanta). The people who are going to attend Thanksgiving are all stocking recipients, so I need a Travel Project.

I finished Mom and Great Gran’s pumpkins in time for Thanksgiving! Such as they are.

sewn up

The top I made felted too small for my pumpkin and someone stole the vine (my source refused to name names). I have to make them again. Like that will ever happen.

Oh, M has worn his cardigan every day and it doesn’t have any pills yet! I, on the other hand, have worn my Gatsby sweater three times and there are already fluffy bits on the sides. They aren’t noticable to the casual observer since the yarn is so nubby weird, but I know the pills are there.

knitting circle

I had my second knitting lesson with Aunt Wendy and Kim on Wednesday. They learned to cast on and are working on a garter-stitch scarf.

Aunt Wendy knits!

Aunt Wendy is making hers long and skinny.

The yarn is Lion Brand Landscapes in a bunch of different colorways.

Kim's scarf

Kim’s is much wider. Maybe too wide but she refused to start over.

I ordered five different colors so that they could choose. I’ve got leftovers and I’m planning to order more (there will be other people who want to learn to knit) because I really like this yarn! It’s great for beginners: there are no plies to stick your needle through, it’s reasonably priced, and the colors change often so even a garter stitch scarf doesn’t get boring. Maggie (my cousin) also showed up and wanted to knit – we made a little felted purse about a year ago – so I cast on a scarf for her, too. She took it home in a ziplock and plans to knit in the car on the way to Atlanta today. We set a date for our next lesson (with luck they will have finished one ball and will be ready to attach another) and I think Kim’s daughter is coming. Aunt Wendy invited a lady from church. Maybe I’ll make muffins.

In between “What’s wrong?” and “Am I doing this right?” I worked on the first of the Parade socks.

socky goodness

Blue is for M!

See the froggy yarn wound around the outside? That’s enough to make a sock leg. I had ribbed it down to the heel, got worried about having enough to finish, pulled back to a 2.25″ cuff and am going in stockinette from there. Not like that’s going to magically create another 50 yards or anything (my purls aren’t that loose), but it seemed like a good idea last night. I can’t imagine why. I really like this yarn! I like that I can use #3s (my favorite sock needle size) but it’s still a sock yarn (it’s got nylon). So I don’t really mind making the leg again. I am hoping that Knit Picks adds this yarn in solid colors to their selection.

I will leave you with this Holiday Moment:

eight and a half

For those of you keeping count, I am two stockings short. I didn’t make my quota yesterday. I’ll try to do three today and tomorrow to make up for it. Don’t worry, there’s plenty of time!

The end of a cardigan.

I got the buttons on M’s cardigan Monday morning (after an 8 minute ride in the dryer). After getting M to try it on and declare his love for hand-knits, I prompty forgot about taking pictures. Until this morning when he was getting ready to leave.

unsmiling boy in brown cardigan

Michael does not smile at 6:45 in the Morning.

I am very pleased with how this turned out! The crunchy Lamb’s Pride Superwash softens up during blocking to create a comfy fabric. I hope it wears well – I would really like to use this yarn again. While the cardigan turned out great, and looks like the picture, I think the designer could have done a better job with the instructions (Men’s V Neck Cardigan from Mari Sweaters). The pattern would be confusing for a knitter without prior Cardigan Experience: I often felt like I must be missing something and re-read the pattern looking for a piece of information that just wasn’t there. This alone isn’t enough to keep me from trying another of Mari’s designs (although when you combine it with the lack of a schematic and row counts instead of inches, I will think twice), the end result is a great looking sweater!

For Christmas ornaments this year, I chose to make the little stocking pattern from Oddball Knitting. With a couple changes.

one little stocking

The leg is only 14 rows long, the foot is 8 rows long and the cuff isn’t folded over. Since the white stuff is soooo fluffy (Caron’s Bliss), it’s easier (and neater) to knit the red part (Knitpicks’ Wool of the Andes) and then pick up around the cast on edge for the garter stitch cuff. There are six rows of garter stitch not counting the picked up row. If I make two stockings a day I should be finished by Thanksgiving. I think that’s reasonable, and it gives me time to work on other things. As long as they don’t require the #3 dpns.

four little stockings

Sunday and Monday.

Veteran’s Day

When I set my Cardigan Deadline, I forgot to factor in Veteran’s Day Activities (and ironing pants to wear to aforementioned activities). Because of this miscalculation, I have finished at 4:30 instead of lunch-time. In my defense, it is still lunch-time in California. They eat Late Lunches there. I’ve seen them in movies.

The Cardigan is blocking on top of the Baker’s Cabinet (a Cat Free Zone). All that’s left is the buttons. I can say that without stress because I have them ahead of time for a change. They were purchased for another sweater but wouldn’t go through the holes thus becoming available for M’s Cardigan. This is what is known in Knitting Circles as Fate.

Deadline

In an effort to finish M’s cardigan by next Tuesday (he asked ages ago if he could have it for Boulder), I’ve been knitting pretty much non-stop for two days. If I get it finished by lunch tomorrow, I have just enough time to block it before it’s time to pack. I will also have time to wash and iron the rest of his clothes for the trip.

I got the bands finished and attached after two tries to get the right one to match the left one. The pictures of this phase are too dark to post – the sun wasn’t up yet. That might also be why the right band gave me so much trouble. Or the trouble might have been because the Designer wanted me to knit 159 rows of band on each side (instead of however many inches), stretch it to fit all around the whole neckline (to keep the band from sagging), graft the two ends together, seam the sides and then magically attach the band to the still-live stitches of the back neck (she gives no indication of how to do this). I ended up treating the live stitches like bars of stockinette and didn’t pull the holder out until after they all were sewn to the band. Trust me, it looks fine.

Making the first sleeve wasn’t bad, if I don’t bring up the part about backing up a couple times during the short rows that shape the cap. I like the way the shoulder seam looks with the picked up stitches – sometimes shoulder seams end up so stiff and Obvious. But I don’t know if pretty shoulder seams are worth the wrist pain caused by having the ENTIRE SWEATER on the needles at one time. Add to that the frustration of not knowing how many inches the sleeve should be (no schematic and the Designer wants me to knit 195 rows who COUNTS their rows like that?) and you have yourself some Good Times. I finished one cuff early this morning and (feeling slightly paranoid about the length – I’d made it 10 rows shorter than the Designer told me too) went ahead and seamed up that sleeve and side.

brown sweater brown table

Doesn’t it look freakishly long?

I woke M up and made him try it on. Which he did. I felt better after that: 10 rows too short was a great idea and it IS a Good-Looking Cardigan. So I’ve started the second sleeve.

stacked up kitties

With all this support, I’m sure I will be able to finish in time.