Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Good Gift

The best Christmas knitting happens when you put aside your own preferences and instead consider the preferences of the recipient.  This past week I've been knitting for a co-worker, an older gentleman who has taught me a lot and who will soon be leaving our company.  His style is old-school British and that means plain knitting folks. 

I searched the net for just the right pattern and ended making these up as I went.  I'm very pleased with the outcome,  other than the deadly boring nature of the knit. They fit my hands, Jim's hands and both boys too.  They took less than a 50g of sock yarn and less than a week to make. 

The little tweaks I put in these gloves make them special I think. Like extra stitches picked up, then decreased away to prevent holes at the join of the fingers.  There's a non-curling edge to the fingers.  There's also extra rows in the hand to raise up the first three fingers higher than the pinkie, but all fingers finish at the same level. 

As I was finishing up the second one, I thought I should write down what I did.  Luke has requested a pair and I think I'd like to make some for myself, too.  So I did and I'm offering it as a free Ravelry download. Of course, you get what you pay for and the pattern has not been test knit nor edited by anyone but me.  But I hope someone may find it of use.  I know, I plan on using the pattern again.

Absolutely Plain Fingerless Gloves: download now

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sending out an S.O.S

Isn't it a bummer when you run out of yarn so close to the end of a project?  And this was supposed to be a stash-buster Xmas gift.  There's no way I want to buy a whole 'nother skein of this yarn at $12 a ball.

Does anyone have a few yards of Rowan Kid Classic in Burgundy kicking around in the stash?  If not, I can go to my LYS and buy some more, but then I'd have to bust that out of my stash.  I'd much prefer to reduce someone else's stash. So please, search your stash, or ask a friend.  You'll have my gratitude and what every compensation you deem reasonable.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Lying to Myself

Back in October I bragged that this year I wasn't going to do any Christmas knitting.  I lied. 

At first, it was just a case of finding items knit earlier in the year that would be good gifts for loved ones.  Then I realized I HAD to knit a pair of socks for my mother-in-law as a gift.  Every year, I give her a pair for Christmas, her birthday and mother's day.  After that, I dunno, things got a little out of hand.  My current knit-gift list includes:
  • a vest
  • slippers
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of fingerless gloves
Of course, this is still subject to change depending on my mood, my stash and how the knits turn out.  And honestly , most of those knits are done.  All that's left is the gloves and a pair of socks.  I've already shown you the vest and slippers.  And today, here are two pair of finished socks.

Pattern: my own, 72 sts
Yarn: Wild Fire Fibres BFL sock
Needles: 2mm

Pattern: New England from Knitting on the Road
Yarn: Paton's Kroy
Needles: 2.25mm

These socks have been on the needles for a while.  What's really been going on the last week is this:

Pattern: Druid Mittens, from Vogue Fall 2008
Yarn: Socks that Rock, Mustang Sally
Needles: 2.75mm

The back of the hand is quite pretty but you may have noticed that the thumb isn't complete.  That's because this mitten is sitting on the edge of the frog pond, preparing for a rip.  And the reason is this:

It's too short, the palm is shorter than the back of the hand, the top of the mitten is awkward and the whole thing sits on my hand crooked!  Frustrated much?  You bet!  I don't think I could wear these mittens day after day and be happy with them. 

It doesn't do to lie to oneself. 

Monday, November 16, 2009

Styling It

I bought myself a new jacket to wear on the bus, rather than wait for the long process of knitting myself one. Of course, a new jacket inspired me to knit some accessories for it.

The knitting in yesterday's post was my new hat. Isn't it cute?

The pattern is Rose Red by Ysolda Teague. The pattern was a joy to knit, with clear instructions and fun milestones to keep you knitting, such as watching the flower on the crown emerge or switching from lace to cables.

After it came off the needles I tried it on and it did not look good. Sort of like a puffy beanie. I have a theory that girls with straight hair can wear snug beanies and girls with curly hair should wear slouchy, draping hats. A full immersion and a day spent stretched over a dinner plate resulted in the hat of my dreams.

It's worked in Rowan's Kid Classic, which I bought especially for my hat. I wanted something that would go along with the scarf I had knit earlier. I like how the two go along with out being an exact match. Kid Classic was beautiful to work with, stood up well under extreme blocking duress, and has a lovely bit of a halo from the mohair. Sometimes, you get what you pay for.

Now I need some mittens.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


This must be a quick blog post. My weekend has been incredibly busy and I don't know where the time has gone. Here's a couple snapshots though.

Alex took this picture of my supper one week night.

Grab a bite!

However busy life gets, there's always room for knitting. In this case, a hat to go with my new coat. I can hardly wait for it to dry to see if it fits and looks nice. You can just never tell with hats.

Still Life - Fruit with Knitting

I hope you weren't too hungry before you stopped by my blog.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

'Tis the Season to Accessorize!

Since I last showed you knitwear, I was off work sick and we had some horrible weather which got me to thinking in terms of keeping the cold out. To that end, I present a parade of warm accessories.

First up, Canadian gloves. A variation on Nancy Bush's Canada socks from Knitting on the Road.
Jim and I are both very happy with these. The Kroy knit up very dense on 2mm needles. I had only one ball of the main color and ran out with the second thumb still to knit. I popped into Michaels with the glove in my pocket and easily matched the color with a new ball of Kroy. I love the color so I bought two. So much for de-stashing!

As an aside, walking through Michaels at this time of year, the aisles are just filled with clutter and kitsch. It made me really happy to be a knitter, creating beautiful and practical things.

Then I decided that Luke needed a nice warm hat for the 20 minute walk to school. In an effort to give him something practical and stylish, I decided to make up Struan.

It came out great and was a lot of fun to work. But Luke doesn't like the peak. He can feel it pressing in to his forehead. It does press in, but very slightly. However, Luke is sensitive and it doesn't do to argue with him. So, I knit him another hat.

This one he likes! No pattern, really. Just 2x2 rib until it was almost 11 inches, then decrease it all away.

There is over two balls of yarn in this hat. I almost always make my hats too shallow and I really wanted him to have a cuff deep enough to cover his ears. This one is almost too deep. But no matter. He likes it well enough that he was wearing it around the house all morning.

The yarn is the same as for Struan, which is a 70/30 alpaca/wool blend that is soft, squish and warm. I plan to knit him a dense pair of mittens and a loose and squishy scarf to go with his new hat. Then I know he'll be toasty and warm all winter on the way to school.

Speaking of squishy, while I was sick, my knitting brain took a holiday and I made myself some garter comfort.

For a novelty yarn, this one was a winner. It's actually got some merino wool in the blend and I love the little bit of gold sparkle in it. It whispers Christmas at me.

I knit it loosely so that it's huggable and squishy. I just love it! I bought three skeins of the yarn at the Needle Emporium's tent sale for a dollar a ball. It would make a great Christmas gift, if I can bear to give it up.

I have great plans for more accessories for family and maybe a few for Christmas, but there's also a sweater in the wings that I'm eager to get at. This time of year is great for knitters. We are so appreciated!!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

A Happy Halloween

It was a great Halloween here last night. Alex and his friends were mages: water, earth and fire.

The water mage's grandmother put these costumes together starting Friday night when the boys announced that the party they were going to was canceled and they wanted to go trick or treating. She used bedsheets and ingenuity! In return, we had the group for a hearty chili supper before they hit the streets.

This was probably the last time any of our boys will be making the rounds of the neighborhood, so I'm very glad Alex had such a great time with his friends.