Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Very Knitty Christmas

Obsess, and they will listen!

My DH, mother and sister all came up trumps. DH got me the Jane F. Neighbors Reversible Two Color Knitting (I've been taking it out of the library time and again since the spring). As it's out of print and highly desirable, it took some work on his part. And I am VERY grateful!

My mother got me the Knitting Pattern A Day Calendar (I already have it at the office) and also Nicky Epstein's newest, which is just gorgeous. Her books are the ne plus ultra for inspiration. My sister and her crew got me Barbara Walker's Second Treasury, which is my favorite.

DH also got me Cat Bordhi's Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles. Might not keep that, I don't care much for her writing style, and do prefer my DPNs. The patterns are charming, but I usually make up my own, anyway. And I got my selections from Crafter's Choice. They screwed up the order and are being anything but helpful about an exchange, so I will probably order the book they didn't send, which will fulfill my obligation, and close the account. With luck I can swap the one they did send for yarn!

DH was completely surprised by the hat. He could not believe I'd managed it almost under his nose. And then he got right up and tried it on immediately. That's the way to take a present! I finished his striped sweater vest, too. On Christmas Eve! So (after he insisted on trying it on) I wrapped it and put it under the tree.

The socks I started on Thanksgiving are a bust—for me, anyway. The heel is too narrow. (For me. That's just crazy!) Haven't decided whether to frog or do the second one and trade or gift it.

But I brought some new sock yarn and Sensational Knitted Socks in with me today. As well as DPNs in sizes 1, 2 and 3.

Oh, I did finish the Checkerboard Socks for Theresa. They'll be here on Friday, I can't wait 'til she opens them!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas is well in hand.

The only thing to finish is a pair of Checkerboard Socks (my own pattern) for Theresa. She and Joe were visiting when I finished my own pair and she coveted them madly. As they're coming to stay for New Year's on the 29th, I'm in good shape—mid heel flap on sock #2.

After that I will probably pick up the sweater vest for Jimmy (ran into finishing problems, due to a pattern error). But now I've got the right needles, and it's just a matter of neck and armscye ribbing:

I would really like to have it for him by New Year's, but "we'll see". Still, considering that most of it was done by August, it's overdue!

After that, I need to start the Vegan Fox for Jen's b'day (February). I've already got Alaric's Fetching done. His birthday is January.

Stash-diving next. I've found some incredible things in my new favorite thrift shop. Just yesterday: 4 skeins of black worsted. It's mill spun, but local. And beautiful. A whole $4.99 for all 4 skeins!

The big pull right now is some Lamb's Pride I found at the same place. That, plus a cone of mohair (all together now, "same place!") are looking like a mittens/hat and something set, in Fair Isle.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Stash, and birthdays

First: DH's surprise hat is done. It turned out very well, and he never caught a glimpse. Now it's wrapped and under the tree.

So ALL the real Christmas knitting is done. There's one more thing I'd like to make before New Years, though. We have friends coming to stay on the 29th, and they're as nutty over vintage as we are. Theresa saw my checkerboard socks as I was Kitchenering the toe of the second one, and she even asked to try them on. So I think I'll try to make her a pair, probably in the gray yarn. I'll cast on tonight or tomorrow, as soon as I dig out the pattern and wind the yarn (it's my own pattern). I'd also like to make a tie for Joe. Real Art Deco stuff. I've got some great vintage patterns, and not long ago we found some beautiful laceweight Shetland that would be perfect. But Jimmy (DH) wants to choose something for Joe himself, so we'll see...

Last night I finished a modified version of Fetching for my oldest nephew. No cables at the top, and a plain bind off. His birthday is next month, so that and a gift card will take care of him.

On the way home yesterday I stopped at my favorite thrift shop and found some great yarn, including 4 skeins of Lambs Pride in a dark red, all in the same dye lot! Also a cone of mohair (I think...haven't done a burn test yet), and what looks like a wool/silk/cotton blend, plus some beautiful gray tapestry yarn, 100% wool. The LP and the mohair would be enough for mittens, and hat, and a scarf; some kind of simple Fair Isle pattern. And very Christmassy! Maybe I'll come up with something for me. I adore LP but usually it ends up gifted to someone else.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A surprise. I hope!

This past weekend I made a hat for a friend (his birthday is December 26th). I used some Cascade purchased last year for felting, but never used. I don't remember the name of the yarn, but it's a sheepswool/llama blend, and it looks quite a bit like Lamb's Pride, but softer.'s a nice royal blue, and the hat is a K2, P1 rib, with a turned up brim. I added a gray stripe on the cuff. DH loved it; kept trying it on until I wrapped it so he couldn't do it anymore!

I had another skein of the same yarn in a different color—a very sunny orange—so here and there on the sly I'm making him one, with a contrasting stripe of brown.

It's not easy finding the time, he gets fidgety when I'm not around, and crabbed when I got home from the SnB (the more so because, as I told him, no one else made it). Ungrateful git just might see it on my head instead, if he's not careful!

I'm including a certificate for a pair of mittens as well. The fun never ends!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Not a lot of news

But the cotton blend Baba's Bed Socks are finished. I did that while the in-laws were visiting (Wednesday). There were just a few decreases to go; washed them, then put them in the blockers to dry.

They aren't dry yet, and it's Friday! Incredible. But I should be able to box and wrap them tomorrow. The family gifts for my side need to head off to TX ASAP. We have dramas almost every year with that; I'm using UPS this time. The post office...well, don't even get me started....

Also, I'm trying to swap out the afghan-sized lot of acylic that I got from my sister's MiL. It's quite nice, as acylic goes, but I really don't like the stuff, I never have. But there's enough for a small afghan, it's winter white, and still in the ball bands.

I posted about it on Knitty in Swap-o-rama. Tonight, I hope, I will dig it out and get all the details; even better, pictures, if possible. If not, perhaps I can find shots of the same yarn somewhere on the web.

Who knows? Maybe I'll get sock yarns! (I did say that I want natural fibers and no self-striping.)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Christmas Knitting for People and Pets

I've done a fair bit this year, thanks to planning ahead.

Right now I'm finishing up a pair of Baba's Bedsocks for my sister's MiL (a wonderful woman who sent me quite a bit of her stash yarns, as she's decided she won't be doing any more knitting, only crochet and cross stitch). I'm using a charcoal gray acrylic/cotton tweed (double) with a strand of pale blue cotton added in for the heel and toe, as they're down in Texas.

DH's BiL is getting a mosaic slip-stitch (double knitted) scarf with yarns from a frogged thrift shop sweater. I dyed the teal myself:

My MiL is also getting Baba's Bedsocks, but in a very soft novelty yarn, pale blue, with I-cord ties; also a linen face cloth in a seed stitch chevron pattern.

SiL is getting two dishcloths, and my BiL a pair of gray socks in merino with a Yankees insignia worked in stranding (navy) on the heel flap (my own design).

If I have time I'd like to make my mother a pair of bedsocks from a plum superwash wool I got in a Knitty trade—I also have suede bottoms for the soles.

Now, I haven't done any new toys for the cat. But I am making him his own Christmas stocking (I know. But even as pets go, he is a darling.). It's based on this pattern:

I've modified it to include a white fold-down cuff and contrasting heel and toe (also in the white). That's about 80% finished.

Alrighty...on Knitty I mentioned that I also make cat toys, sometimes for sale. This is what they look like:

A few people have PM'd me asking for the patterns, so here they are, albeit a little on the loose side, I'm a knit-as-you-go sort.

Catnip Snake

It's my own, adapted from the snake/worm scarf in Kris Percival's "Pretty Knitting". I've never written it down, and tend to increase/decrease when I think the width needs to change, so if you prefer to do that, go for it!

Worsted weight or scraps to make up to it; this is fun to do in lots of crazy stripes. Use wool, acrylic or cotton; they all work.


Scraps for stuffing
Size 7 or 8 straights, a yarn needle, sewing thread & needle (optional)

CO 5 sts; knit in stockinette, and increase every 2 to 5 rows until the unrolled width is a scant 3". I generally use a M1 increase one st in from the edge.

Knit even for about 5" more; your snake should be about 7" long, total.

Decrease every other row (1 st each time) for 6 rows.

Increase 2 sts per row, every other row, for 4 rows.

Decrease 1 st per row for 4 rows.

Cut yarn, pull through live stitches, and secure.

Make the tongue

Take 6 strands of yarn (I like red) about 4" long. Knot one end, and divide into 3 sets of 2 strands, and braid about 2/3 of the length.

Divide again, this time into 2 sets of three. Braid each set of three, and finish off with a knot. Trim ends.

Sew the tongue onto the snake (I usually thread it through the circle made by the fastening off. Sew it very securely!!) It's long so you can fasten well into the body, in several places if need be.

Now stuff your snake with pillow stuff, yarn scraps, or what have you, and a few good pinches of catnip.

Sew up the underside, securely. Embroider eyes. Black sewing thread works well for this.

Exclusive of the tongue, it will measure roughly 9".

Catnip Mouse

This pattern is one I found somewhere on the internet. It's very simple! Just knit a square (stockinette is good...but choose your own stitch!) at a rather tight gauge. Use whatever scraps you have, and leave a long tail from the cast on OR cast off.

Fold it into a triangle, and seam the side w/o the tail of yarn. Stuff it with yarn scraps or pillow stuffing or whatever you choose, plus a few good pinches of catnip.

Now, fold the point of the unseamed side to the point of the seamed section, and sew that up as well. Now you have a mouse.

For the tail, cut another piece of yarn twice as long as the one already on the mouse, and using a yarn needle, pull it through behind the attached piece, half-way. Now you have three strands; braid them and knot the end. Trim. Embroider eyes, if you like.

Voila...catnip mouse!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Socks, socks, socks

Well, I'm not the Yarn Harlot, with her sock-a-day for the upcoming Knitty Gritty, but I am a minor addict.

Last week I finished my BiL's Yankee insignia socks, and the first of a pair for DH is close to being finished, too.

But I want more socks for me. To that end, I planned out a pair today. I cast on at lunch. They'll have some spruce colored Regia for the top of the ribbing, the body will be in Zarina baby merino (soooo soft, it's what I used for the Yankee socks), and the heel flaps and toes will also be in the spruce; it's left over from a pair I made in September.

Most of the body will be stockinette, but I've worked out a diamond pattern to travel down the front of the leg and the instep. As we're driving to an inn in Maine for our Thanksgiving dinner, I'll have plenty of knitting time tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Knit Your Bit Scarf

It's done. I did the finishing last night, after quite a few false starts. I was going to use (evil) crochet to turn the golden brown ends into a brown and white plaid, but...oy.

Let's just say I won't be winning any awards for my crochet "skills". I spent plenty of time bitchin' at the SnB last night, chaining, then ripping out. Then chaining...then ripping out...

Finally I brought it home. Ripped out all of the crochet, put in clusters of fringe at all four corners, and knotted each bunch of fringe together to make tassels. There! Now it's a little more unified. The tassels just need to be trimmed, a new picture taken, and I can send it off to the WWII Museum in New Orleans for vets.

No photos right now because my ancient laptop has decided it doesn't want to play nice with the camera. And the pictures will upload to my husband's computer...but then my online photo album won't accept them.

This will be a drab blog for a while.

Friday, November 10, 2006

In the beginng there was it's Obsession.

Which is why I'm here. I've joined (so far) just to join the "Knit Your Bit" KAL.

More info here: