Saturday, November 29, 2008

Drops Hat Part Deux

Somehow, despite having finished my few holiday knitting projects well ahead of time, I still feel deadlines looming over me. The funny thing is, they are all self-imposed artificial deadlines. They're projects that I told myself I would have finished very quickly (or at least by Xmas) and I'm starting to worry that I won't, as the calendar pages fall steadily away. Of course, there's nothing wrong with finishing them later. Maybe I should make a resolution this year to give up deadlines.

Here is the second version of the little Drops hat I made previously. This one is for a coworker, who is petite (so it's smaller than the one for my gargantuan head) and vegan (so it's bamboo instead of alpaca/mohair.) The drape of the heavy bamboo is pretty amazing and makes me want to knit some kind of cardigan or camisole from it. I knit the ribbing on tighter needles (US5) since bamboo doesn't have the memory of wool, and the whole thing will be likely to stretch out with wearing. It won't be as warm as the alpaca/mohair, either, but hopefully she'll like it anyway. I think I'm getting a batch of vegan peanut butter cups out of this deal, so it's totally worth the time and effort.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Small Packages

So unless you're living in China or something (hi Brandi!) you probably know that my friend Raksha and her husband Pravesh had two additions to their family this past weekend, two handsome and healthy baby boys, to be exact. Because they are tiny little twins, it will be a while before they can use most of the gifts I made.

Here are two of Elizabeth Zimmermann's Baby Surprise Jackets, made from Blue Moon's Socks that Rock in Heavyweight. I love making the BSJ out of this yarn, since they end up so squishy and adorable. Since we knew ahead of time that she was having twin boys, I wanted them to be matching, but not matchy-matchy, ya know? The first one is more of a honey shade, and the second more of a caramel. (I realize it's hard to tell in these photos, so I included a couple of close-ups.)

I wanted to make something that was extra-special and personal, too, so I put a little intarsia Om symbol on the back of this jacket, which I based loosely on the Baby's First Tattoo cardigan out of Stitch 'n Bitch Nation.

Lastly, an heirloom blanket made from Koigu KPPPM (remember when I bought the yarn in Portland?) which you really have to hold to believe it. The hand on this thing is amazing, and it has such a drape. I don't normally make anything with the recommended yarn (cuz I'm a cheapskate, mostly) but this time I'm so glad I did. It is the Big Bad Baby Blanket from the first Stitch n' Bitch book.

It was hard to stop knitting when I did -- I love making baby things since they are so adorable and so quick!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I like having progress bars for my projects on the sidebar, because it is always a good feeling to nudge one up a few percent every once in a while, and see that I am actually getting somewhere with the big projects I am working on. Funny thing is that most of the time, I do loads of little projects that never make it to the sidebar, mostly because I'm too lazy to put them up there before they're done.

Case in point: a pair of leafy socks in a pretty spring green yarn (Louet Gems Fingering Weight in the colour Baby Willow, if you care.) This is another free pattern from Knitty that I am making in between the half-dozen hats that I've committed myself to in the last couple of weeks. More on that later. Anyway, these socks have a pattern like little leaves, which I realize you can't see very well in the photo. If I get a chance to model them on actual feet, it will be more apparent. If you're wondering why the sock looks so fabulously blocked, it's because I jury-rigged myself a sock blocker this afternoon out of some plastic & foam board that I had lying around here. (I have to say that, as much as I love those tv shows about tidying up one's space and getting rid of useless junk, it's so nice to have that same junk still lying around when you finally think of a use for it.) It will totally work until I can get myself something nicer, i.e. when I spend my money on sock blockers rather than on yarn and fabric. Could happen.

So I have the first sock finished and am about a quarter of the way through the second. Good thing I only do one at a time, or I'd have had to make two of the sock blockers.

Meantime, I made some decadent brownies last night, which are just about perfect. They have that little crispy layer on top, but are still moist -- or what the cookbook referred to as 'stodgy' which I love in this context -- in the center. Don't listen to my HLM when he tells you they're too sweet. They aren't. I even substituted some bittersweet chocolate for semisweet squares, when I ran out, so how could they be? Just because they have three kinds of sugar (including corn syrup, which I didn't have, so I actually spent half an hour concocting a substitute corn syrup before I could make the brownies, which only called for one tablespoon anyway. No, I'm not crazy.) They are awesome. And stodgy.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The recent first issue of Debbie Bliss' knitting magazine had in it a handful of really cute patterns using her new superchunky yarn Como, made of wool and cashmere. Unfortunately, I can't afford that. I picked up some bulky wool from Elann and cut the cost of making these adorable placemats to roughly a third of what it would have cost. (Pats self on back.)

They are totally great, squishy and fat and lovely, even just in pure wool. A slightly thicker yarn would probably have done a bit better job, but who's complaining. These things only take about a half hour apiece, so in no time flat, I have a lovely table setting for the holidays. My only concern is that they are slightly smaller than I would like. They measure about 23cm x 28cm (which are the dimensions given by the written pattern) but I would really prefer them to have another couple of cm in both directions. I tried to block them bigger, but they bounced back to their original dimensions. They are clearly as stubborn as I am. I gave in... this time.

They are a big change from what I've been working on, recently (and with no pun intended.) Here is an image of the needles I've been using. The bottom one is the needles for the socks I just made (US2); the center ones are from the grey Drops hat (US6); of course the top are for the placemats (US17) and were bought especially for them. I am not convinced I'll ever need them again. Unless I decide I want more cute placemats.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Alleged Apron

So if you came across a fabric like this, with cute little fishies that reminded you of koi and yin yang and sushi, obviously you couldn't resist buying some, either. Especially if the colours just happen to be almost the exact ones from the quilt you just made. And if you had a fabric like this, obviously you would make an apron with it. A cute little gathered smock-type of apron, with big roomy pockets and a tie in back.

And if you made an apron from this fabric, obviously you (and your HLM) would make a pizza. The pizza to end all pizzas. With homemade beer-batter dough and prosciutto and hungarian salami and two cheeses and lots of garlic and fresh mushrooms. It's in the oven now. Can you tell I'm hungry?

Friday, November 14, 2008


Okay so both the Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits Holiday Gift issues were a bit lackluster, and there isn't a lot of great stuff in the upcoming Interweave Knits Winter issue, either... Where is a knitter to go for something inspiring, something spectacular?


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Now That's What I Call A Vacation

Final vacation tally:

  • one eye-searing quilt top
  • two stripey socks
  • one awesome slouchy hat
  • two sweet fingerless gloves
  • one more square for Lizard Ridge
  • one apron (yet to be revealed)
  • three novels (read, not written -- der.)
  • lots of long soaks in a hot bath
  • one broken tooth and repair trip to the dentist
  • innumerable cups of coffee

We now return you to your regular programming.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Knerdy Knucks

So Knitty has this little pattern for fingerless gloves called Knucks, with the idea that those of us who aren't yet brave enough to get knuckle tattoos can emblazon them across the gloves, instead. There are some great ones on ravelry, though I am surprised by how many people make the gloves, but don't take the opportunity to put a cool message on them. Of course I only had one good idea for what to embroider...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The New Hat

So among the many Drops patterns I was enamored with in the fall pattern collection, I found this hat and scarf combo. I had a couple of balls of their Alpaca yarn left over from my Fabel cardi, so I got a little ball of mohair on the cheap from elann and, over the last couple of days, knitted up this little hat.

Okay, so the pattern was really more of a loose guideline -- after making a swatch, I decided that I didn't really like the look (or the fussiness) of the berry pattern, so I did the body of the hat in moss stitch instead. I also realized I was running out of yarn, about five centimetres before it was the length it should have been, so I did the decreases early. I don't mind, really; I think it still looks pretty good.

So last night I was in Starbucks and a perfect stranger told me "I very much like your hat" which, as my HLM commented, only emboldened me. That's right, I'm even considering trying another one in different yarn (and maybe a different type of berry stitch? or slightly shorter ribbing before the stitch pattern?) and making it to the proper dimensions.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Stripey Socks

So here we are, new stripey socks to make me smile. I actually finished them yesterday, and have knitted a whole hat since then. But one thing at a time, yes?

They are, as I said before, from the Universal Toe-Up Sock pattern on Knitty. I used a short-row toe and heel, and a very basic four row stripe in three colours. I did a very short and simple garter stitch cuff, since I didn't want ribbing, for some reason. What more can be said about them? They fit very well and are snuggly, thanks to the customized sizing of this pattern.

Socks Make Me Happy

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Et Voila!

Before you know it, all those strips are sewn together and you have a quilt top done. I bet you didn't think it would end up looking like this, from those simple beginnings...

I don't know the name of this quilt design -- perhaps the more experienced among you know the name -- but I've seen this motif used in a few quilts that I've come across, and once I saw it, I immediately intuited how easy it would be to make it, using strip piecing. The ones I saw have the motif made with much larger blocks, and just as a central design for the quilt, with borders surrounding it. I thought it would look cool if the whole quilt was done this way, with no borders. When it is eventually finished, the binding fabric will be the same red fabric, and wait until you see the back....

So there you are, a few days work, and there is one bright and busy quilt. I wish my photos were less blurry, so you could appreciate the busy-ness of the whole thing, with those fabrics so wild and colourful.

I love it.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Step Four

Then you sew all those strips together...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Step Three

Okay, so then you turn half of the squares a quarter turn and sew them together again...

Would you believe I'm past the heel on the second sock? There should be a couple of Finished Objects to show off, in the next day or two...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Step Two

Then you cut the sewn strips of three into squares, like so...

Oooh this is where it starts to get good...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Step One

So the first thing is to sew the strips in threes. I got a good start today (about a quarter of what I need to do) but have a long way to go before I get to Step Two. Unless I skip ahead, cuz it's my vacation and I can do whatever I want, so there. I'm pretty excited, since it looks just as eye-searingly bright as I hoped it would.

On the whole, I'm really having a great time so far, on my vacation -- I finished one library book last night (a pulpy mystery novel) and am about halfway through another (a pulpy fantasy novel.) I have even bought a few books by some of my favourite authors that I'm excited to read, too. I finished the first Stripey Sock, this morning, and have the toe completed on the second. Ah, it's nice to have all the time I want to Craft.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Next Project

I'm past the heel on the first sock, but in more exciting news:

Here are 90 strips of fabric, ready to be reconstructed into something awesome! I'm not usually a huge fan of Kaffe Fassett fabrics (with apologies to Kaffe and his many fans) but for this project, I wanted something really dramatic, something that really caught the eye. Either of these fabrics would do that on their own, and as a combo, I think they really pop. Just wait until you see the design come together.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bisy Backson

So I have a week off and am planning to stay home and fill that time with as many projects as I possibly can. A couple of days ago I decided to pick up a new knitting project, to try to get my mojo back. (I think my knitting mojo may have been somewhat drained by the Tweed Coat which has been on my sidebar for a while but otherwise has not yet been spoken of.) The project I chose was socks. Easy socks. With some yarn I just have sitting around.

So I present to you the beginning of my Simple Stripey Socks. The yarn is Jawoll Sock, which is very thin, so they have, like, 74 stitches around. That's like a sweater. I mean, if I was skinny.

Anyway, I think they are adorable. I know that two of the colours are a bit close in value, so they don't stand out from one another very well, but they are cute and cuddly (and free, sort of) and I think they will be much worn.

I also started cutting up some fabric for a new quilt top. Stay tuned.