Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Knitting Weather

Just for fun, I've paraphrased our current Detailed Local Forecast:

Tonight:  Windy with rain likely.  Thunder possible.
Tomorrow:  Cloudy with showers.
Tomorrow night:  Cloudy skies with a few showers later at night.
Thursday:  Rain showers in the morning will evolve into a more steady rain in the afternoon.
Friday:  Rain.
Saturday:  Showers.

I've been making great use of the hand knits in all of this weather,
so I giggled my way through this video from Pringle of Scotland:
(I borrowed the video from YouTube.  You can also watch it here.)

Thank you to my hilarious friend Karen for sharing the link!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

FO: Socks for Stitches

I'm heading out to Stitches West this morning and I can barely contain my excitement.  I've packed, walked the dog, fed the goats and chickens, and got the boy off to school.  That leaves me a few extra minutes to take pictures of my feet and write a quick post about my new Marlene socks:

Pattern:  Marlene by Cookie A
Source:  PDF from the Vogue Knitting website
Materials:  1 skein Miss Babs Windsor sock yarn, and US 2 (2.75 mm) needles
Modifications:  None!  The pattern gives instruction for only one size, but the stitch pattern is so stretchy that these would fit a wide variety of feet sizes by simply adjusting for length.

I bought this yarn at Stitches last year, and I'm happy to have made use of it in time to wear these socks when I am back at the convention this year.  I'm especially pleased because I'm taking a class from Cookie A, who wrote this pattern.  Knitting up these cleverly designed socks made me appreciate Cookie A's genius even more.  I can't wait to come back home with new sock yarn and fresh sock knitting ideas.

If you happen to be attending Stitches too, and you spot me, please say Hello!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Turkish Bed Socks pair #2

I am very excited to say that I knit the last few rows of my Oak Knot Hat at our knitting group meeting last night.  I can't wait to wear it, even if it is sunny and unseasonably warm here.

I haven't had a chance to photograph the hat, but I am linking up with FO Friday to post my latest pair of Turkish Bed Socks, which I knit for my wonderful sister.

The socks were finished despite my best efforts to avoid seaming. The pattern calls for sewing up part of the heel prior to knitting the foot of the sock.  When I reached this portion of the knitting program, procrastination reared its ugly head.

I tried to do it right away.  I really, really tried.  I actually threaded a needle, opened my Knitter's Companion to the appropriate page, and seamed a few stitches.

Then, mysteriously, I found a sudden and urgent need to:  build a fire in the fireplace, bake a pumpkin pie, and take the dog for a walk. It's amazing what else gets accomplished around here when there is seaming to be done!

When I couldn't think of any more reasons to procrastinate (and because I wanted my sister to have her socks) I did sit down, finish the seams, and knit on.

Pattern: Turkish Bed Socks by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas
Source:  PDF download on Ravelry or from Churchmouse
Materials:  Malabrigo Yarn Sock in "Persia", and US 2 needles
Modifications:  This is a clever pattern which results in a cute little sock, but as with many published patterns, Ravelers have made improvements on it.  Following the lead of other knitters, I used a smaller needle size for a tighter fabric, and a cozier sock.  My sister's feet are small enough that I could tighten up the gauge without worrying about whether or not I was making the socks too narrow for her feet.  To adjust the length of the sock I just knit extra rows before beginning the toe decreases.

Note to self for future modifications: 
After it was too late for me to change this particular pair, I found these great notes from Raveler "skip8" giving an alternative to seaming.  I will soon make a pair for myself and try this method.  
Isn't Ravelry wonderful?

I admire those knitters who tackle seaming with aplomb.  To me, seaming is kind of like knitting's evil twin who comes along on your playdate despite your best efforts to ditch her.  The best I can say about it is that I have learned to manage it well enough that I don't mind it quite as much as I used to.

What about you?  Does finishing work bring out the procrastinator in you, or have you conquered your fear of seaming?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How I Cured my Knitting Angst

Yippee!  It's WIP Wednesday and for once I am knitting something just for me.  Ever since I received the Juju's Loops pattern book in the mail I've been suffering from severe cast on cravings.  After writing about my knitting angst, I got a grip on myself and dealt with it in a methodical fashion.

First, I seamed, washed and blocked the latest gift in my knitting queue.  (More about that on Friday.)

Then, I mailed the rest of the gifts which couldn't be delivered in person.

Next, I organized my stash to confirm that I didn't already have yarn for the Oak Knot hat.  Fortunately, I  remembered I had some Jimmy Beans Wool reward bucks coming, and ordered some Tosh DK in my favorite color:

madelinetosh in "fig"

Yesterday, I wound the yarn, made myself a cup of tea . . . 

          . . . and had my own little knitting party.

I think I'm cured!

Friday, January 27, 2012

FO Friday: Manly Hat

It's FO Friday and I am looking forward to seeing everyone's finished projects.

The manly hat is ready to go.  I first queued this Jacques Cousteau Hat months ago, but then waffled about the pattern choice when it actually came time to knit the gift.  After all of your helpful suggestions, I came back to the original pattern inspiration as it was my husband's favorite.  The hat worked out and the time spent waffling produced a good list of manly hat patterns to choose from for future gift knitting.

My husband modeled the FO for me while giving our goats a treat.

The layers of color in the Tosh Vintage show off the unusual crown decreases in the otherwise basic ribbed hat.

Without prompting, my husband commented "It's a comfy hat.  It's warm, soft, and light."  He liked it so much I wasn't sure I was going to be able to get it back and mail it off.  Now I know what to knit when he is ready for a new hat.

Pattern:  Jacques Cousteau Hat by Lalla Pohjanpalo
Source:  free on Lalla's blog
Materials:  madelinetosh vintage in "ink", and US 6 needles
Modifications:  Because I was using a worsted weight yarn in a pattern calling for DK, I went up in needle size and cast on fewer stitches.  More details Raveled here.

Here is one more photo for good measure, just because Benny is so cute . . .  obnoxious sometimes, but cute.

Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Knitting Angst

I've been a knitting fiend this past week, prioritizing the knitting above all else in order to finish the last couple of gifts in my queue. After all, who needs a clean house?

The manly hat (the very last item waiting to be rescued from the island of unfinished Christmas presents) is being blocked.  I meant to have the boy model it for me today but I forgot.  It will have to wait for FO Friday.

The Howlcat, which I am knitting as a chemo cap for my friend Angie, just needs the ends woven in.

As soon as I bound off the Howlcat, I cast on for a new pair of Turkish Bed Socks for my sister.  You may remember that I made a pair for her last year.  But when I visited her in Portland over the holidays, I found out that my niece absconded with them  adopted the house socks for herself.  Not one to pass up the opportunity for yarn shopping, I offered to make a new pair for my sister if she wanted to pick the color this time.

So off we went to Knit Purl where she chose this Malabrigo:

Malabrigo Sock in "Persia"-  She has good taste.

I haven't gotten very far, but they will be a quick knit.

I am ready for some selfish knitting.  I'm so excited to cast on a new project for myself that I don't even know what to knit.  When my husband was little, the first time he went to Baskin-Robbins he was so overwhelmed by having 31 flavors to choose from that he left without having any ice cream!  That is how I feel right now.  I must have spent a full hour looking over Juju's Loops and trying to match up one of the patterns with yarn from the stash, but nothing seemed perfect enough to satisfy that need to cast on.  I will probably have an easier time choosing when all the gifts really are done and delivered.

Meanwhile, knitting angst is probably a good problem to have, right?  Maybe a little Work-in-Progress Wednesday inspiration will be just the cure I need!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Direct from London

True confession time:
In the midst of all of the gift shopping and gift knitting last month, I indulged in a little splurge for myself.  I saw this online and couldn't resist even though I had to pay for overseas shipping.  Soon after, this sweet little package arrived in the mail:

Opening it made me happy.

Reading through this little book makes me want to knit just about each and every pattern from the designers at Loop.  Actually, as I browse through the beautifully photographed pages, what I really want to do is jump on a plane to London and visit Loop.  But for now, I will content myself with knitting a few patterns.  Here are my favorites from the book:

Brown-Eyed Susan:
This shawl is pictured on the cover of the book in a different color.

Cinnamon Girl:
This cardi looks fun to knit and versatile to wear.

Oak Knot
I plan to knit this first. 

I like the texture of these fingerless gloves.

And now I must go re-order my Ravelry queue!