Monthly Archives: June 2006

We knit for babies (and for moms).*

I want all the Pigeon books for myselfThere are some people who think a handknit is appropriate for every gift-giving occasion – I, sadly, am not one of them, because if I committed to that philosophy, I would do nothing but knit gifts for others. And yet? I broke my own rule last week when I whipped out this little number for a coworker expecting a baby, to go with one of Knit One Purl Too’s favorite children’s books. The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog is a great work of littratchure in part because the lessons learned (i.e., for true happiness, one must share the hot dog) are not so overt that the book is Teaching Children Something At the Expense of a Fine Story. I’m sneaky; I always think kids learn life lessons a little better if you give them a book called The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog instead of one called Nice People Share, you know what I mean?

The bib is of the Mason Dixon Knitting variety, made out of stash Bernat CottonTots from one of my very first projects (shh! don’t tell the baby I used yarn I already had!), and though it may look unassuming, I think this is my very first buttonhole experience. Woo! Unsurprisingly, even though this was ostensibly an event filled with co-workers and it was supposed to be a “book shower,” I was not the only giver of a handmade item – someone’s mom had made a swell handmade quilt, so she and I hung out in a group of two handcrafting peeps, ooohing and ahhhing over the fun of making things for babies.

They're done! But that is not my only FO: Because I am versatile, I also make things for moms – my mom to be specific. These are the Mom socks started in December on my trip to San Diego, ripped after discovering her feet were narrower than I thought, and reknitted with a Sherman heel and your basic toe (first seen as part of the 56-stitch, 56 row sock pattern, at least by me). They are not exactly the same as Christine’s, but I find it amusing that we knitted very siimilar socks (note that she started hers after I started mine and still finished before I did – impressively fast!). Some knitting pron for the geeky: a closeup of the heels (this is really the only place the color didn’t match). This is so easy, even I can do it!

Next up? The second half of the Retro Rib leg you saw in the last post; after all, the next item I finish ties me with last year’s lame total of six completed objects. Making New Year’s resolutions is obviously a big contributor to knitting productivity.

*One of my favorite albums is the Oscar Peterson Trio’s We Get Requests, for several reasons: First, the great title which makes one of the all-time greatest jazz pianists sound like a short-order cook. Second? I never get tired of listening to The Girl From Ipanema (right-click and save, if you like). Well, now you know.

I’ve taken up decoupage…just kidding!

It’s been so quiet around here, you might have thought I knitted that last dishrag and moved on to other crafts – not a chance. Truth be told, there’s been a lot of knitting round these parts, but very little finishing. Nevertheless, the satisfaction quotient is pretty high because the finish line is getting closer.

Mom’s socks are almost completely re-finished – pictures to follow once I pick a toe style and actually cross the finish line. I reknitted a large part of sock #1 after discovering her foot is narrower than I thought. Conveniently, ripping a whole foot (sigh) allowed me to rationalize ripping out both the heels in progress and reknitting them as Sherman shortrow heels (Sherman shortrow shounds like some kind of dog, doesn’t it?). Well worth the effort – I am not tired of watching the short row magic happen.

It's retro and ribby The second Retro Rib is cast on: we’re past the cuff, and we’re into Legville – woohoo! After languishing in my “knits in progress” pile for more than a year too long, my current plan is to knit one pattern repeat a day on the second sock (that’s four rows daily, for those of you playing at home). That doesn’t seem unmanageable, plus then they’ll be done, and I won’t get those “you never finish anything you offer to knit for me” looks from Knit One Purl Too’s sock blocker deployment staff (a.k.a. my husband). As I keep saying “If you like the first sock, you’ll love the pair.” He can’t wait. Also worth mention is the fabulous sock bag I got from Trek in a swap for some custom sock blockers – I feel so organized and stylish, I can’t even say. Yes I can – it’s great. Thanks, Trek!

From the “be your own best pal” department, I bring you my East Coast stash enhancement, courtesy of Knitty City and A Good Yarn (where I met Alison and Johanna, a highlight of my trip). These two shops basically engaged in a “nice-off” to charm the pants off me: Pearl opened the shop (I’ll let you mull over the joys of private yarn shopping for a moment) even though she was supposed to be closed because my “I came all the way from Ohio to see you” impressed her – no jaded New Yorker here. She has a nice selection of classic, luxury and sock yarns in a really charming space; I walked away a happy camper with some Gems Pearl and some…Trekking! Woohoo! These are both new yarns to me, a key criteria when looking for stash enhancement. I also scored some Classic Elite Bazic in two yummy orange shades for a pair of fun mittens or fingerless gloves for me. Clara reviews it here, so it’s nice to know I’m on top of the latest trends.

And A Good Yarn is crammed full of the good stuff – they have something close to 200 kinds of yarn in a space the size of my living room, and it’s all Rowan, Jaeger, Noro, Debbie Bliss, Mountain Colors etc., etc. I think Alison and Johanna were a wee bit surprised that all I came away with were two mulberry skeins of Koigu KPM and some Chibi sock needles – but I was a woman on a mission, so I just kept repeating “don’t forget – solid color sock yarn” under my breath. I have the urge to knit some Nancy Bush socks (either the Shell Socks from Vintage Socks or her Denmark socks from Knitting on the Road) and/or a pair of Pomatomi – the possibilities are endless.

For now, I have my nose in several books, courtesy of Crafter’s Choice, including Knitting Rules, which was as entertaining as I expected, given Stephanie’s inspired lunacy (now all I have to do is get to Toronto so she can autograph it for me), and Wrap Style, because I must to be making the Twisty Turns wrap, now please. [I'm currently in denial about the fact that my own rack is significantly larger than the model's -- Ed.]. Under the influence of Ann and Kay, thanks to this entry re: the Irregular Rib Raglan (see another great version knitted up here), I also purchased Loop-d-Loop from the estimable Teva Durham. My husband’s first sweater isn’t even finished and I’m adding this one to the list. I also got some book by these two knitters who like to make dishcloths and are fond of Rowan – you might have heard of it? Two cowgirls on the cover and log cabin knitting inside? Yep, that’s the one. Even though it’s light on the things I ordinarily make (and I don’t often knit with cotton), I figured out why I like it so much – Ann and Kay’s attitude toward knitting, hellbent for leather and full of fun, reminds me of Elizabeth Zimmerman. I might be a party pooper for saying this, but the world only needs so many knitting books (One Skein? Is it really that hard to figure out what to do?) – we definitely need more like these.