Category Archives: items for wee ones

You would be wrong.

Punctuated Ribs Sock Top You might think, after working a month and a half on preparing a sock knitting presentation for my spinning guild, I’d be sick of sock knitting – almost, but you would be wrong. I promised mom a pair of birthday socks, and before I headed off into the wild blue knitting yonder to cast on hats and sweater and non-socks, I needed to finish a labor of love. These are the Punctuated Rib Socks from Knitting Socks with Handpainted Yarn, a book I’ve now knit two patterns from (a record!). The yarn is Aslan Trends Santa Fe, a soft, economical sock yarn that I would call the “poor man’s Koigu” if I were feeling snarky, but I’m not. Nice to knit with, my only complaint is that I needed to swipe my one and only Addi size 1 out of the Fionn sweater I’m working on. Added incentive to finish the socks, since I found out after just a few rows of the sweater on straights that I am no longer a lover of straight needles unless they are DPNs. See the pair here. I feel like I’m definitely going through a dark yarn phase, which is inconvenient when your knit night is in a bar.

For the opposite of dark yarn, I present these Maine Morning Mitts Maine Morning Mitts, knit out of long-stashed Kureyon intended for a Lizard Ridge afghan. I think I held off making these because I was concerned I couldn’t get two mitts out of one skein – I am here to tell the Internet you can make two Maine Morning Mitts with just 100 yards of worsted weight yarn (I did shorten the cuffs a bit, but I’m confident even the originals are one-skeiners). These were quick and fun and they knit up in a week, satisfying my raging case of startitis. They also served as a convenient distraction from the hooligans who shot my new car with a BB gun while the Knit One Purl Too crew was out to dinner in a perfectly nice Cleveland suburb. At least the insurance adjuster thought the mitts were nice, and everything’s back to normal now. Frankly I cannot believe that I drove my new car to Chicago and all over the Windy City without a scratch (the Dan Ryan! the Ike!), then I come home and some loser tries to make my Honda Fit into a hoopty.

Quincy Quade Quentin In my righteous indignation over HooptyGate I have not one, not two, but three finished objects for you – this weekend, I stuffed and sewed a Quincy Quade Quentin monster, and I have to say that while it was a lot of work because I am not a sewer, I am charmed. I’m also pretty proud that he looks suitably monster-y (with the help of Knit One Purl Too’s monster engineering staff, aka my husband, who suggested teasing the stuffing to make it less lumpy, installed the safety eyes and cut the teeth for me). I loved making him, and even though the finishing was more involved than I expected, it reinforced my love of getting details right on knitted objects. Finishing work is actually fun for me.

But if I love finishing, why do I have so many things started? I have 9 things on the needles right now, which seems ridiculous. I’ve started things I haven’t even logged as projects on Ravelry, like a Cassidy cardigan (I met Bonne Marie Burns in Chicago last month at YarnCon and yes, I was a total fangirl: “I love your patterns!”) and the Desdemona shawl in Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace (I may have gushed a little at the Lorna’s studio sale: “I love your yarn!” – that’s what happens when you buy yarn once a year; you get excited), and a pair of Roger socks for a dear friend. You would think all of these works in progress would have me a little overwhelmed and maybe a little guilty – but so far it just feels like really good knitting. In other words, you would be wrong.

The opposite of fun.

What kind of knitter am I? I love challenges, use deadlines as motivators and think knitting for other people is noble and worthy, as long as I also get to knit for myself. Still with me? I also know my eyes are bigger than my stomach, knitting-wise, since it takes me four years to finish a sweater and my Ravelry queue is ten pages and holding – no matter how hard I try to restrain myself, there’s always something new and lovely to knit, there’s always a reason to knit faster, and if I’m not careful, I could get myself into a lot of trouble.

Take, for instance, three weeks ago Saturday.

The scene is my cousin’s wife’s baby shower, to be held three hours from my house in Ohio – I had dutifully started a Baby Surprise Jacket as soon as I had talked myself into baby knitting (“Can I finish a knitted gift? Probably not; I shouldn’t even try…But it would be so cute – and I love Elizabeth Zimmermann, even if I always forget to add the extra N – let’s knit this thing!”) which took a week or so, time I could have spent knitting, but didn’t because I was finishing these Nancy Bush Fox Faces socks (which I love, and are great – Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select highly recommended). Nancy Bush SKA Mystery Socks, Finished Long story short, the BSJ hit a snag (an inexplicable section of stockinette – how hard is it to knit garter stitch?) and I knew it would not be done in time for the baby shower, thanks to obligations like a job, which seemed to be getting more than full-time by the minute.

As an alternative “gift garnish,” for this kickass diaper bag, I started a pair of Saartje’s booties the Bockstark way two days before the shower. Shower Saturday dawns bright and clear, and my plan is working, but I’m running out of time. Booties are done, except for buttons and button loops. My sainted husband offers to drive me to Michigan for the shower so I can finish the booties. How long could finishing take? I pictured a quick bit of knitting followed by a chatty car ride.

Answer? We may never know, because when it comes to button loops? I suck under pressure. Despite this great video, I made ugly button loops the size of basketball hoops, and in a fit of frustration, with just 20 miles or so to go before arriving at the shower…I cut them off the end of the bootie straps, snipping one of the straps in the process, and causing it to unravel. It was at about this point that I unraveled as well, out of frustration.

New Knitting Rule: If you have to count the car ride to the event as part of the time needed to finish your knitted gift, you’re probably screwed, knitting-wise you should definitely have a backup plan.

I returned home, full of shower cake, and not a little sad that once again I had gotten myself in a knitting pickle. I make my knitting deadlines just often enough that I talk myself into setting them, again and again. But knitting is supposed to be fun, and these two failed projects were the opposite of fun

Noro Striped Scarf, ProgressYou know what’s fun? Deciding on a whim to start a Noro striped scarf, and knitting away, stripe after stripe. I have been monogamous to this thing since October 25 as “failed baby gift” therapy, and you know what? It’s as tall as I am now, more than 5 feet and growing. Apparently, I can knit, I just have trouble knitting to a deadline.

Which, of course, is why I signed up with some knitting friends to participate in the Ravelympics in February. I probably will have forgotten all about this debacle by then. Also, I’m seriously considering stacking the knitting olympics deck by knitting a (quite lovely) sweater on size 15 needles.

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 can’t knit fast enough.

After a loooong session with the knit-and-purl scarf, and a bout of frustration with the seed stitch version of the catnip mouse pattern (I’m sure this is my novice pattern-reading showing through), I have not picked up my knitting in about a week. I want to start something new, but the beginning of the felted tote on DPNs is too intimidating right now. I have asked my knitting mentor nicely for help (to the point where I could be stalking); I may have to simply be patient, or travel to the LYS, and plan on transporting the bag back home on DPNs. Scary! Dropped stitches everywhere!

I’m ready to start Amy’s Suki, but as I told Rob at Threadbear Fiber Arts via e-mail last week when explaining why I could not order the yarn yet, I don’t have room for a stash, and to pace myself, I prefer not to have more than two projects going at once – right now, it’s a mouse and the knit-and-purl scarf that seems it will never end.

So what did I do instead of knit? Read about knitting, and offer to knit things for people – a ribbed stocking cap in merino wool from Hip to Knit for my father-in-law, and the Bob top for my mother-in-law. I have got to be stopped.

But not quite yet. I read the instructions for a simple sock class and I think I’m ready to try it – the pattern uses short rows to shape the heel, and Knitty’s explanation makes short rows seem simple (thanks, Bonne Marie!). I’d love to knit some socks for the Socknitters Children in Common Challenge. Plus, Sock Fest 2004 is coming to Toledo next April, and I plan to be there.

See? More reading and yapping than knitting. Must change that. But before I go, two links you might find handy, particularly if you knitblog with MovableType. Do you get comments? Would you like your readers to be able to follow along with your comment discussions via e-mail? Try the subscribe to comments script from Scriptygoddess. Lots of knitting links crowding your sidebar? Use these tips and templates to make a knitting portal, right inside MovableType. If you have questions about these two, let me know – I’m happy to put down my needles long enough to help.

Cat tested, knitter approved.

finishedwonton.jpg My finishing skills remain simply average, but Charlie doesn’t seem to care that my wonton is slightly lumpy. He liked it, and I was inspired to start Wendy’s cabled mouse pattern for the Great Charity Mouse-a-thon. I’ve actually started three mice as of today, and they were like the Three Bears’ bowls of porridge: the first one was too loose, the second one got off-pattern at the end, and the third one seems to be just right – I should finish it tonight. Cabling is easier than I thought, and seems to work like magic – I must be missing something!

I’m also halfway through the knit-and-purl scarf, and looking forward to getting started on the felted tote – with more mice sprinkled in for good measure.

Wonton and Eggroll.

I’m currently knitting Feline Dim Sum, just the Wonton, actually. I highly recommend this as a warmup project for new knitters; it’s supposed to be knit tightly (which new knitters tend to do anyway, I hear). After working with size 5 needles, size 8 will feel big!

wontoninprogress.gif

After starting this, I found Wendy’s Catnip Mouse pattern courtesy of Knitting Zen, and now I have to make one – it’s not quite a beginner’s project, but I’ll get there.