Sunday, January 30, 2011

All About the Feet (and someone's head too)

The Christmas socks, Dad's socks are on his feet nightly. I enjoyed a visit with them this weekend, just myself, and was witness to his nightly ritual of donning Christmas knit socks and slippers. I did notice, and I know he'll never tell me, that they are a bit too short. The pattern called for 7 inches but I believe the next pair needs to be 2-3 inches taller. Or maybe I should just knit knee socks for him.
Christmas sock ballerina pose: My boys snuggle so much. These are the feet of two kitties (Toivo and Heimo), for whom God knit them purr-fect socks: Snuggled so tightly, you can barely make out Heimo enveloped in Toivo's warmth! This quick little bit is not about Florence's feet, but rather her head:
she loved her hat and we had a mini lesson in hand-washing wool knits. I was worried she might not like the enormous pom-pom adorning the top and was prepared to tell her how to remove it, but she adores the pom-pom adorning the top! However, I forgot to take a picture of her wearing her hat. Darn it!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


The Alaskan Gift Cowl has been completely revamped. I am now calling it the Alaskan Re-Gifted Cowl. I tore out the seam (which was no small feat as apparently I excel at seaming.) Couldn't find my darn seam yarn. I ended up cutting just below the seam and frogged to the cast-on edge. Then pulled random bits of cut yarn out of stitches, many, many stitches. Let me re-iterate: MANY, MANY stitches with cut up bits of yarn preventing them from frogging nicely. Lots and lots of yarn bits.
Frogged back a reasonable ways - didn't measure, tried it on. The fabric was wonderfully stretchy so I didn't have to cast back on to mathematically calculate how to add increases to the beaded rib pattern. It just nicely (magically) pulled down over my shoulders. The cowl falls gracefully from my neck.
Et Voila!
Wore Re-Gifted today to work and received many compliments. Am pleased with it now. I knew I would never wear the bee-hive of fabric around my neck and the cost, the beauty and the sentimentality of the yarn just wouldn't let me stash it in the closet. It just sat on the desk near my bed so that I could ponder it daily. Yesterday, it came to me. I do believe I have enough yarn left to do a nice lace pattern SMALL cowl also. That should have been my task to begin with, but hindsight always wins, doesn't it? Substitutions are a crap-shoot, and I hit craps with that one! I do want a Fit To Be Tied cowl, and I will make one someday with more appropriate yarn.
Knitting blog world is floating around instructions to post a picture of yourself wearing a handknit. A picture not taken to show off a handknit. Didn't look too intensely, but do have this picture from the 2009 Thanksgiving family photo with me styling Amused. I wear the heck out of this one. The past two weeks I have worn a handknit to work 4 out of 5 days. (Why not five? Last Friday was Packer v. Bears day at work and I had to regale myself in Packer wear while the rest of the building (minus a few brave souls like me) dressed in Bears colors. I've never knit a Green Bay Packer sweater.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Month of Hats

This must be the month of hats. Here is another which is a Really Warm Hat. The pattern is from but I've linked the pattern for you. I used less than a skein of Kraemer Yarns Bear Creek Bulky in Cotton Candy. Not sure if I can get two hats out of that skein, but I'm going to try. I even got the pom-pom right which is amazing as I am pom-pom challenged. I used pom-pom instructions. I got it right the first go, and didn't even utter obscenities or anything! This hat is uh-dorable! (it's a birthday gift for my sister-in-law - hopefully she doesn't read my blog, or if she does, she doesn't read this until her package arrives).
Color is truer in this second photo, and yes, that is Boots loving the handknits!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One, Two, Three

One, that is a picture of a happy kid. The boy's friend needed a hat. This particular boy wears a camouflage jacket in the winter. He wears Carharts. A camouflage hat was only fitting. He was tickled to be the recipient of a custom hat for himself. He wore it through dinner!
Two, I am toying with combining the man's name with mine to create a cute linked name like those the tabloids use for the stars. Thus far I've come up with Doughgerm. (neither dough nor germ is spelled correctly, but no matter)
and Three, have I mentioned that Boots likes handknits?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

As Promised...

Yesterday started with some falling snow with a forecast for worse conditions as the day progressed. The announcement came over the intercom mid-morning that we would be having early dismissal.
Here's the drive to work:

This was the drive home:

Worse indeed! Had a nice, unexpected afternoon in the coziness of my home with some knitting on my lap. Mr. Tweedy's body came off the needles today, largely due to the amount of time I was able to dedicate to it yesterday. I'm pleased with it so far. Some of my modifications were a crap-shoot, but they appear to be working out for me. Of course, final product on body will be more telling!

I really like the cable ribbing, and am planning to do a larger section of it on the arms.

And so, as promised, Lisa came over last night with an absolutely gorgeous free-form loaf of hand-made bread. So pretty, I didn't want to tear into it. Of course, with artisan bread like this, it is an insult to cut it with a knife. This bread deserves to be torn into and ravaged! It is delicioso!!!

Should I mention here that it is sometimes prudent to complain to others? While I was trying to get a good picture of this lovely bread, I bemoaned the fact that I need a better camera or photo-shop so that I can take detailed pictures for my blog, especially of stitch detail. Lisa said somewhat innocently (I mean she knows me, but apparently...) "doesn't your camera have macro setting?" And what is that? I replied. She took the camera and said "Oh, here it is", and pressed the button of a flower. And it seems that I do have macro setting and was immediately able to take a picture of the lovely loaf of bread and later a picture of the cable ribbing. Yes, I have had this camera for 3 years. Go figure!

The bread has wings!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Merry Ordinary

A merry ordinary evening with the boys. For dinner I put out a lovely bowl of fruit, a platter of gourmet cheeses and crackers, made piglets in a blanket with little turkey smokies and mini bagel pizzas and while we supped, we played a few games of Yahtzee. The boys were delighted with this change of pace and followed me around the kitchen like kittens waiting for their bowl of milk, as I prepped for dinner.
Mr. Tweedy body is off the needles. I increased the body after the divide by 1" and knit my cable rib until body was 15 inches after divide. Picked up stitches for my button band, but have yet to start the ribbing. Think I'll sit with my youngest baby Heimo in my lap tonight. He's been a bit needy as he had to wear his cone for 24 hr. Got his face pretty ripped up yesterday. He becomes so clingy when he's wearing his cone! Curled into me all night for sleep, and walking up my chest to cry into my face that he needed his face scratched in the night. I took the cone off this afternoon, and he's bothered it some, but is not bloody. We'll see how he does tomorrow. We may be running to the vet for another shot when I get off work.
My friend Lisa Lisa has promised me a homemade loaf of bread after work! Yummy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Art of Staying Warm

Finished the boy's snowboarder hat. I'm calling it the Michael Who Rocks Hat. Pattern is irishgirlieknits pattern (snowboarder that rocks). This was the special request, colors included. I held two strands of Lion Brand wool-ease together to create this. (Holding two strands together for cable work has rubbed the edge of my thumb a bit raw.) He wore it to school today and had someone ask him how much he'd sell it for. That's a nice compliment from pre-teen boys! He likes it and that's what counts. Now his buddy wants a camouflage hat just like the one I knit for the man. Guess there will be another hat on my needles, and I just picked Mr. Tweedy Greenjeans back up. Was good getting back to sweater knitting, nice meditative stitching with a bit of interesting cable patterning occuring every few rows.
Toivo and Heimo snuggling while mama types away on her blog.
It does feel a bit chilly in here.

I acquired some Rowan Cotton Rope this week. Someone was de-stashing on ravelry and I was stashing. Cotton Rope is discontinued, so I'm thrilled with the acquisition. 10 lovely skeins in Calypso. I'm stashing it for Frontier Blues Jacket by Wendy Bernard. It will be great fun to shop for the ribbon trim on that jacket. Knitting Daily took a poll for their next KAL and Frontier Blues Jacket was one of the choices. Unfortunately, it did not end up being the winner, which is probably a good thing as I have way to many patterns in my queue right now to start on Frontier Blues. (Which I think I'll call Summertime Blues Jacket, what with being the manic Who fan that I am, and it will probably be summertime before that beauty finds its way off of a set of needles!).

I love getting yarn in the mail!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Feeling Girly

The first items off of the needles for the new year include a gi-normous cowl. The Fit to Be Tied from Cowl Girls will be much to warm for me to wear as I had intended: as a fashion accessory. The yarn is just too thick to drape, even if I knit the tie as per knitting instructions. I do believe I am going to rip back several inches, start some increases and make a regular cowl. Fit to be Tied is a tube and therefore WAY TOO bulky and warm! It would be fabulous in cold temperatures under my coat, but I was craving a fashion statement with this one.
It looks like a beehive!

Next item declared as finished: ribbed hat for the man. I used Paton's classic wool in camouflage, left-over from the endless Christmas sock knitting adventure. The hat I made last year was a bit too short to cover his ears entirely. I followed the ribbed hat pattern from Holiday Knits.

I love how the colors pooled into a spiral on the crown:

The boy requested a snowboarder's hat. He asked me if it would be too difficult to knit one. Silly boy; he forgets who he's talking to! I took him on ravelry and we searched patterns and projects. He has requested the Snowboarder Hat That Rocks by irishgirlieknits. I will be off to the yarn store tomorrow. It is not often that a 12 year old boy requests something handknit! I had better jump on this one (and it has cables to boot so it will be an interesting knit). Believe it or not he has also requested that the top include a pom-pom, which he did not refer to as a pom-pom. Rather, he called it a "top ball". I did have to assure him that it would be removable should he not like it.

Yesterday while getting the full treatment at the hair salon (cut and color and highlights), I received a text from my man. It said "after you finish with your hair, go get your nails done". Now, mind you, I don't need permission to spend money. I earn half of the household income and he would never imply that he is in charge. It was simply the thought that he was directing me to spoil myself! What a dreamy guy this girl has. And there is nothing girly-er than pretty hands peeking out from the oversized sleeves of a girl wearing her boyfriend's sweatshirt:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Back and Forward

The first day of the new year has me looking forward to the knits to come and looking back at the knits that have been. I created a collage of finished knits and it seems so few projects made it off the needles. There were a few additional baby hats and sweaters not included in the collage, and additional pair of socks (identical to camouflage socks) and other small items. I did not knit over the summer months this year, which may explain the shortage of FOs to post.
My favorite knit items: the Heather Hoodie Vest is amazing! I love this knit and wear it a lot. It is uber warm and the red buttons just make the vest for me.
Also, Francis, Revisited is a frequently worn sweater. Pastaza yarn in a gorgeous emerald green, the simplicity of the sweater itself with just the right amount of detailing - plentiful cowl neck with seed stitch edging, flared cuffs and hem with same seed stitch make a simple sweater interesting and attractive.
The socks - all of them, all three pairs of them - for my family. To be able to product socks for them felt so damn good, I can't even tell you! The men's socks were knit using 3x3 rib worsted short row heel pattern from The Big Book of Socks by Kathleen Taylor. Mom's socks were knit with a traditional heel. I did not think that short row heels were easier, but stuck with them through all four of the men's to produce an identical product. However, I think I will prefer to knit traditional heels from now on. Aside from the warm fuzzies I got gifting these to my family, the socks gave me inspiration to continue with sock knitting. I've always felt out of the loop not being a sock knitter. I truly enjoy knitting sweaters and feel it's my preference, but began dreaming of more pairs of socks to come off of my needles, and different sock patterns and sock yarns. I do believe I may set up the summer months as sock knitting months!
So the above rank as favorites for the year, but all were fun to knit.
Did I meet last year's resolution to knit a project a month? There are enough projects to surpass the number 12 as in months of the year; but in being honest, I don't feel that I did because I did no summer knitting at all.
Looking forward: I have a few items on the needles now (yes, I know I state that I'm a monogamous knitter and that seems contradictory to admit several WIPs). There is a knitted hat or two in the works and a pair of mittens. But....the mittens...these were my visions of sugar plums. My new, never-before-tried-knit, pretty enough to follow and endless stream of camouflage socks. BUT, the transitioning yarn in the pattern, transitioned in a color indistinguishable from the background color and they are so tight. I don't want tight mittens. I set these aside and began a different "sugar plum" project instead. The disappointment of the mittens was so off-putting that I couldn't help myself. These will have to be frogged, which I hate doing, but the crazy part of frogging for me is that I have to finish first to accurately determine that something must be ripped out. Goofy, huh? So, I'm pretty darn sure these are going to need to be pulled out, but that little voice in my head tells me to finish them and assess the damage at that point. So, how fun can it be to finish something that you know you will rip out? That is all self-imposed, but there it is. I am what I am. And yesterday while at the shopping mall, I acquired a beautiful pair of down mittens at Eddie Bauer, which doesn't propel me to finish the mittens which essentially I've already replaced. May mittens will be in my summer knitting plans as well.
I look forward to many knits this year as I again attempt my project a month resolution and pay special attention to summer knitting. Wendy Bernard's Ingenue is in my queue, as well as Shalom both of which I've already purchased yarn for. I chose the standard, affordable, versatile Cascade 220 for Ingenue in a beautiful deep purple, and Malabrigo Merino Chunky in hollyhock a sumptuous orchid color. Maybe this is the year of purple for me!
On the needles right now: Fit to be Tied by Cathy Carron from Cowl Girls. Such a fun book. A Merry Christmas to me book. Loads of gorgeous cowls to choose from, why stop at just one? There are several in there I'm itching to add to my wardrobe. Mom and dad bought me some lovely merino and mohair yarn while in Alaska a few years back. I am using it to knit Fit which is working up like a beautiful cloud. The cloudy aspect of the mohair is hiding the beaded rib stitch a bit, but no matter to me because this yarn is stunning! Pictures and additional yarn details soon. The yarn colorway is called "Foggy Forest", which I love. But, don't fear, I'll post pics soon.
Happy New Year to everyone! We had an enjoyable evening hosting friends to welcome in the new year with us. Having a lazy day today as a result. Remember, this year is to be the year of the Very Merry Ordinary Day/Week/Month/Year/Life.
The boy and I wanted a snowman, but the snow was too light and airy and fluffy and wouldn't pack. Our solution: a snowman lying down:
And the very next day the weather suddenly warmed and our snowman looked like a mysterious archaeological dig: