Saturday, June 30, 2012

June in Review

Wow! It seems like June just flew right by!

June Finished Objects
Links to Rav project pages
1.) Love Socks
2.) Parseltongue Hat
3.) Calcetines Azules
4.) Mom's Socks

4 projects completed. That's very low, considering how much knitting time I got in. However, it is important to note that 3 of these are sock projects- I also knit 1 patchwork sock in June- and socks do take some time... Also, I worked on a few OLD projects. Worked on, but didn't complete.
I'm happy about my Calcetines Azules: they had been on the needles for far too long, and they are the most complex (stitch-wise) socks I've made all year.

I still have 2 projects carrying over from last year: The Hexipuffs and the Ski Sweater. Both, sadly untouched. Just to make me feel guilty, and perhaps prompt myself into finishing it, I'm adding a picture of the Ski Sweater as last seen:

Gahh!! I feel so guilty! Look at that! It's like PRACTICALLY done! I just have to cut the damn armholes, sew in the sleeves and knit then neck hem. I have finished like 6 sweaters while this one lounges in the WIP pile. Way to go, me.

Techniques Learned
Cough, cough.
hm... MOVING ON!

Last Month's June Goals:
1) Finish Love Socks- these can be an xmas gift for a secret special someone who likes squishy socks
2) Xmas gift ^^^^ see how I plan on killing two birds with one stone?
3) Tok Knit-
5) No online purchases, even though it is my birthday.

um. I made a few online purchases but none of them were yarn, so I'm not sure it counts. I ordered:
1) A size F crochet hook, since it cost the same as buying one at the store, minus getting there.
2) A HO Bag (designed by the Stockinette Zombies) that HASN'T ARRIVED YET! (???)
3) 3 used knitting books: Mary Thomas Book of Knitting & Book of Knitting Patterns, and Knitting in the Old Way. These ranged in price from 93 cents to 9.99. Super psyched because one of the books was cheap because it "has markings inside." I can't wait to see what some anonymous knitter wrote inside!

Goals for July:
1) Finish The Ugly Sweater
2) Learn Afterthought Pocket Technique
3) Crochet a baby sweater (Either the Pee-Wee or the Beyond Rectangles)
4) TOK Knit
5) Sock Knit (Patchwork socks are ideal)

As for my IRL yarn purchases?
I bought 1 skein of Sheep(ish) to try it out for the Pee Wee coat. Expect a review soon.
I bought 1 skein of Washable Ewe to try out.
Then, I went to JoAnns to buy a skein of Fishermen's Wool for my ugly sweater and found that it was over 1/2 off! It seemed like everything was on sale, so I bought:
1 skein Fishermens' Wool
2 skeins Paton's Kroy (Immediately knit up into socks)
3 additional skeins of Washable Ewe
All for only $11! I was pretty happy.

Friday, June 29, 2012

FO Friday

1) Parseltongue Hat
Size 7 Needles
Yarn: Promo Fil

It was a fun and quick knit, but the yarn really doesn't do it justice. Also, I decided it looks better with the ribbing tucked under- mainly because I did a rather tight cast off.

2) Los Pequenas Relojas de Arena /Day of the Dead Socks
Size 2 needles
Yarn: Lion Brand Sock-Ease
On the needles for a full 10 months! I was so relieved to finally cast these off- they are my first pair of toe-up socks, and the longest socks I've ever made.

I love them.
Even though, before washing, they are a bit rough. I'll let you know if the yarn decides to soften up.

Check out more with Tamis Amis!

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I truly love knitting, and think about it quite often. The other day it occurred to me that my favorite type of knitting is sweater knitting: Plain ol' EZ pullovers in mostly stockinette- something cozy to knit and cozy to wear.
So I threw all my current WIPs out the window and cast on something new. The only rule was that it had to be from stash. Unfortunately, all my yarn is on hold: "Those skeins are for the Calligraphy Cardigan," and, "that box of cotton was going to be the Empire Strikes Back Dress."
You know how it is.

So I did some digging, and happened upon all my old scraps. You know, you buy a ball of wool and knit a hat with it and stuff the remains "somewhere?" Well I gots a lotta remains. In fact "somewhere" is full to the brim. So what's a girl to do except take the patchwork socks idea to the next level?

The Ugly Sweater.
It's happening.

I knit the sleeves in 2 days. The body already has 5 inches done. It's addicting. And fun. And so, so very ugly.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Swatching Is Stupid

Today I'm going to talk to you about swatching. You know, that stupid thing all thepatterns think you have to do? Knit a square in whatever stitch pattern the garment is in, and then measure it to find out the stitches per inch? And how, supposedly, this information is useful in some way? Well I'm here to tell you it is all a lie. As you've always suspected, swatching is stupid. And here is why:

First of all, we all know that everybody knits at exactly the same tension all the time no matter if they knit English, Continental, or some mixed style. So, if the designer of a pattern says she used a size 6 needle, all you need is your size 6 needle and you're good to go! Furthermore, nobody's gauge changes just because they switched fromplain stockinette to fair isle or ribbing, and your gauge is going to stay exactly the same whether you are knitting flat or in the round. You also don't have to worry about changes in your knitting over time, because our hands don't adapt to learn easier and faster methods of knitting that look different than the clumsy stitches we started out with. Also, the knitting you did while you were visiting with your best friend is guaranteed to look exactly the same as the knitting you did while arguing with your spouse. Since people are all made exactly the same, and we all use the same movements to make our stitches- like machines- we just don't need to bother with this antiquated idea of swatching.

I know a lot of people who say gauge swatches are good because you get to practice the main stitch pattern, but what kind of a silly idea is that? I mean, as a knitter you can do any technique without trying it out first, right? From steeking, to entrelac, to celtic cables and estonian lace- it's all just knitting and you are an expert who cannot benefit from practicing. It is so much easier to cast on 170 stitches for the body and realize that the stitch pattern makes the fabric so stiff it stands up like body armor after you've knit 5 inches than to try it out on a tiny 20 stitch square first. And when you're working your lace pattern and you drop 18 stitches in the middle of your shawl, it is a lot easier to pick them up again without ever having knit the pattern before in your life than if you had worked a gauge swatch first and have familiarity with what is going on. Besides, the glaring mistakes in the first three inches of your piece add to its charm.

The people who want you to swatch are just trying to delay your gratification when we all know it is better to just cast on immediately. That way, you get to knit the entire garment before realizing that it will not, in fact, fit you. At all. But it doesn't matter if it doesn't fit you! That's actually another reason swatching is stupid: It doesn't mater what gauge you get because the article will fit someone. After investing $72 and 3 months of time on that sweater- the one you really wanted, in the green that complements your eyes perfectly- it just makes sense to give it to your sister when it ends up the wrong size, even though you know she might accidentally throw it in the dryer next week.

Swatching takes forever, anyways. The act of knitting a tiny 4” X 4” square takes so much time compared to the hours and hours you are going to put into your sweater: you might as well get started without bothering to find out if it is going to take up more yarn than you have and end up big enough to fit your linebacker boyfriend. When you make that second return trip to the yarn store and find that they've run out of your dye lot and you admit to the friendly yarn store assistant that you didn't swatch and that your sweater is looking, “A little big,” she will wave your concerns aside and assure you that swatches are a waste of time.

And another thing, have you met those crazy swatch nazis who tell you that you have to wash and block your swatch? Or even to clip it up with a bit of weight hanging off of it to “mimic gravity?” We all know that all fibers stay exactly the same when they are introduced to soap and water, that no yarn has ever surprised us by bleeding color everywhere, and that every super-wash wool can indeed go through the washer and dryer without a problem. And as for gravity, it has never caused a perfectly normal hip-length alpaca sweater to stretch to the knees.

Besides, swatching is a chore. This is really the most important reason. It is not fun because, unlike a garment where you have to stick to a set of rules and make something that actually fits, you're JUST knitting. I mean, look at it this way: instead of knitting, you're knitting. How is that anything like what you do for fun?

And now, some links*. Click 'em to see the results that you, too, can achieve when you refuse to do a gauge swatch!

*please note that I am not at all making fun of these lovely knitters. I have had some pretty awful gauge experiences myself but neglected to document them.

In all seriousness, you guys, knit your gauge swatch. Knit them in a box, with a fox, in the park, in the dark. Knit them for information, knit them for practice, and knit them for fun. We've all heard the old adage, "Swatches lie," and it's true. So measure your garment as you go as well!
Today I'm swatching for fun.

How about you?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Cost of High Fashion Knitwear

Do you ever see something in a magazine that you could TOTALLY do yourself? This month I was flipping through Fitness Magazine, and looking at all their "latest next-level gear" (read: Very Expensive Workout Clothing) section when I came across something that looked knitted. It also looked simple to knit, and I even have some cotton in the stash in almost that very colorway.
Take a look:
"Rebecca Taylor Mesh Tank Top"
For kicks, I glanced at the price.
No....That can't be right.
$195 for a machine-made cotton tank top that doesn't even cover your belly? That's outrageous, but when I looked online I saw that it is actually on sale right now so you can buy this little beauty for only $136. Only.

So I got to thinking. I thought about how people don't really understand the value of hand-knit goods, and how they think spending $20 on a single skein of yarn is ridiculous.
Then I looked around my room, and the first hand-knit thing I laid eyes on was a scarf I made in 2007. I used 3 skeins of Karabella Aurora 8.

It's a funny story, actually: It was early in my knitting career, when nearly everything I made was 100% acrylic. I came across the Tutti Twist Cardigan in a book and went online to buy the yarn the pattern called for- it was $9 a ball. The cardigan called for 18 balls, and I figured I would order it 3 skeins at a time as I acquired money. Then one day I learned about dye lots, threw that plan out of the window and knitted a scarf instead!

I flirted with the idea of giving the scarf away, but it had taken so long and the yarn was so soft and pretty- it's not really my color but there it hangs today. The yarn for that scarf totaled $27. I was a relative beginner then, and it's a seed stitch/basket-weave pattern so I put a lot of work into it. If I was forced to sell that scarf, I wouldn't let it go for less than $50 and yet the average shopper has been led to believe that scarves are only worth about $12.

Think about what I just said for a second. "I wouldn't let that scarf go for less than $50." $30 of that is for the material alone. Now, I used to work for a non-profit. I got paid $11 an hour, and I did some data entry, answered phones, answered questions, tidied up, and made flyers. None of that stuff I did took skill. It was very basic work, and I got paid $11 an hour to do it. Knitting is a skill: proficiency and dexterity developed through training or experience. Let me tell you right now that scarf probably took at least 10 hours. So should I be asking for $110 plus the $30 for the yarn? Nobody would pay that, I say to myself.

Or would they? If we live in a society where someone will see a machine-knit top in a magazine and pay $195 for it, then why won't they pay $140 for a hand-knit scarf? Something is screwy here.
Check it out for yourselves. Top-fashion designers are charging outrageous numbers for super simple knits. $275 for a garter stitch top? I think this price is a steal- IF it were hand-knit.

I know this topic is totally, completely done in, but it was just on my mind today. If I got paid $195 to knit a simple, shapeless razor-back mesh tee with some ribbing at the edges I'd be making one right now.

I think Rebecca Taylor needs to share with me her list of customers.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

In progress...

I'm working on some socks. (they're made with some yarn).
I cast these on in August of 2011 and, dammit, I want my needles back. They're my red ones; they're my favorite.


So I'm sure we've all heard about the Ravelympics debacle? Let's not go there.
Instead let's have a picture of my baby being incredibly cute and trying to rip my sock off my foot.
Hmm maybe that one is a little blurry. Let's try that one more time:
Pull harder!!
Ok little buddy, you got it off my foot. Huzzah. Now whatcha gonna do?


Oh, and am I participating in the "Ravelry Games?"
I was leaning back and forth. I thought about doing the Modular Relay... But now I'm thinking I might rather want to show off my true skills and design and knit a sweater in the time frame.. or a lace shawl. Something really challenging for me that I haven't really tried before. Dunno. For now I have a sock to knit. ;)

Friday, June 22, 2012

FO Friday

Today I'm showing off a finished object of a friend's.

My friend Lara (The Whitty Knittress) made this wonderful little horse for my son's 2nd birthday. I was shocked at the speed at which he came to be: she called me to ask what color yarn to use on the June 1st and on the 9th there he was in all his plump pony glory!

This little guy was christened 'Pony' by my very imaginative and creative two year old- the same little boy who named our fish 'Fish'- but when Pony gets in trouble we call him by his full name, Ponyboy.

She used this (free) pattern- I was horrified to learn that this horse pattern is now available for free on Lion Brand, because I bought the entire book Dream Toys for this pattern alone.

Lara and I have entirely different knitting styles now that I think of it. For one thing, she was never afraid to jump in and start something. It took me years and years before I was brave enough to attempt something without a pattern: Lara was designing things from the very beginning- cute little toys like this guy:

Once while making a little toy, she got bored with making limbs and just attached some red yarn sticking out where his arm should be and decided his arm had been chopped off leaving a stream of blood.

She sent me a bone in the mail a few months ago. She didn't use a pattern for it, she just wanted to make a bone and so she did:

It's kind of neat, seeing the different kinds of things we knit. Or like how if I knit the same pattern more than once I kind of go crazy? She's one of those knitters who makes multiples. Like, one right after another multiples. Like, you know those girlfriend market bags? Yeah she's made 5 of them, so far! I swear, if I couldn't poke her and feel flesh I'd think she was a machine. I mentioned earlier how quick she cranked out that pony.... maybe she's a cyborg and I just never knew all these years....

Anyways, I just thought I'd share a few of someone else's finished objects today. Check out lots more with Tamis Amis.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I'm working on a hat today: The Parseltongue Hat by Tiny Owl Knits.

Top-down patterns are always fun, I think.
The yarn isn't classy: it's 100% polyester from the deep stash. (The stuff was for sale at Wal Mart for $1 a skein and I bought a sweater's worth without thinking about the fact that I wouldn't wear a sweater made out of this, let alone knit one.) It's called Promo Fil and it's really not something I recommend. (It doesn't even have the yardage on the ball band!)

My progressssss sssssso far

But, yarn aside, I am having a lot of fun with this pattern. I'm getting to the "fun part," the snakey bits, pretty soon, and I'm pretty excited about it. I love that it's written instructions- even though I usually do fine with charts, I still feel more secure if I can follow the written instructions with a post-it note. (Actually, this time I'm using a bobby pin, which is working quite well because it also keeps the two pages of the pattern together.... Also it's sparkly at the top, which you don't really need to know. But I feel like that helps.)

I use a dpn instead of a cable needle, when I use anything at all...
This hat will go into the box of Xmas present for a certain Slytheryn I know. That is, if it turns out head-sized. It seems like I mess up gauge more often with hats than with anything else...
We shall see.

Check out more WIP's with Tamis Amis.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Small Summer Project

Do you like tea?

I found this pattern, Tea for Tricia, a week or so ago and just knew I wanted to knit one. I printed out the pattern, bought the cute little tea and cup buttons, and cast on readily.
And had problems. Actually, I guess it was mainly just the one problem: Gauge.
I knit loosely. I know I knit loosely, I always do and so generally when starting something small I start 2 needle sizes smaller and hope I'm OK. The pattern called for a size 6 and I used a 4. Somehow, it still came out huge.

The pattern works like this:
You cast on for the flap and work in double seed stitch for a certain amount of rows. Then you do the buttonhole, and continue the seed stitch until the piece 4". Then you cast on to start working in the round for the pocket and at the end you work a 3-needle bind off so there are no seams to weave in.

Well with my problems with gauge, after the certain number of seed stitch rows, the piece was already 4" BEFORE I did the buttonhole.
After frogging 3 times- and getting frustrated- I finally threw the pattern(which didn't offer a gauge to match OR dimensions of the finished object) out the window, got out a packet of tea, and did it my way.

I started from the bottom, like a toe-up sock, with the same cast-on used for hexipuffs, casting on fewer stitches (26 instead of 36) and working in the round upwards until it fit the whole tea packet inside. Then I did a purl round, cast off half of the stitches, and worked flat in seed stitch (not double seed) until I thought it was a good place for the buttonhole, bound off 3 stitches instead of 4, and then did a few more pattern rows before ending with two plain rows and binding off knit-wise.

Sewing on the button, of course, made the whole thing worth it. It fits 3 packets of Stash tea inside (Orange Spice, Chai, and Earl Grey) and I popped it into my bag so I'll never be without a little bit of caffeine. ^_^

I will be making another of these cute little tea wallets (using the tea cup button) soon! It was a quick, easy, fun little project, and it's especially nice for hot hot days when a tiny cotton project is really all you can handle.

Friday, June 15, 2012

FO Friday

I got a little knitting done this week, and finished up the Sunnyside Cardigan.

Yesterday I went hunting for the buttons to finish off the sweater and I realized that it's actually very difficult to find buttons for a knitted garment! For this particular cardigan I needed buttons that were:
1) Not too big and not too small: my buttonholes were simple yarnovers.
2) Circular in shape (Dinosaurs and Trucks were my favorite, but they just didn't fit in the holes)
3) Decidedly boyish rather than girly
4) Weren't drowned out by the greenish color of the yarn, and also didn't contrast too greatly. I found these perfect little round gumdrop shaped buttons but they were the brightest garish red. It looked like droplets of blood!

I ended up with these cute little metal buttons with- I realize now that this picture is absolutely horrid- an image of 2 lions with a flag: an unknown lion crest.

I picked them up at JoAnns for $2.75 for 4 buttons. Which is irritating because I needed 5, and now I have 3 left over.
I searched the world wide web, but this is the closest image I could find that is almost like the buttons I have:

Also, after reading an article by Techknitter about sewing on buttons, (a task I consider an absolute chore!) I was set on buying shanked buttons. Now, call me silly, but I have never used a button with a shank before. I always use 4 hole buttons, because I was under the impression that buttons with shanks are "hard" to sew on, and that having 4 holes gives me less of a chance of ending up with a crooked freaking button.

Well I'm here to tell all you knitters who are not sewers, and all you who dread finishing work and loathe sewing in buttons with a passion: Shank buttons are the way to go. It was so easy sewing these buggers in, and I only sewed one in upside down and that was because I didn't look hard enough at the buttons to realize they actually had a design.

So I'm going to give the sweater a proper wash and block, then put it aside for my friend's baby shower.

The yarn is Knit Picks Bare dyed with black tea and food coloring.
I used size 4 needles for the body and size 6 for the sleeves (My name is Cecilia and I'm a loose purler.)

Check out more FO's with Tamis Amis.
Especially this one, which was knitted by a truly awesome 11 year old girl.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Very Merry (Um) Birthday

So it's my birthday, and I'll cry if I want to.
Cry for pie! Key Lime Pie!!!
And now???

~~~~~Showing Off Looovely Presents~~~~

1) Assortment of tasty tea (I love that it's called "Stash.")

So far I have only tried the Black Chai and the Orange Spice, but I'm looking forward to trying Ginger Peach. Yum!

2) Key Lime Pie
(This was all I really wanted!)

Yum ^_^

3) Handmade Necklace 1

This necklace means so much to me. My SIL Heather, upon gifting it, began sort of apologetically, "I don't know if you wear gaudy stuff..."and I tried to shush her (because I love gaudy stuff) but she went on with, "but there's a picture of Vyvyan inside, I pressed the flowers in the front, and I blessed it."
Needless to say, I completely love it to bits. Vyvyan loves it too. I put it on and he points at it and says, "Vyvyan watering flowers." ^_^

4) Fairy House

My brother is really into horticulture and when I shared with him that I wanted a little fairy garden, he secretly put this together! Apologies for the terrible picture, but there is a little path, and a mushroom statue for my fairies to sit on. It's so cute, and I loved that he set it up outside and left scavenger clues around the house for me to find it!

5) Handmade Necklace 2

Don't I have some talented SIL's? Tiffany made this one, and she actually showed me her whole necklace collection and I got to pick my favorite. There were some true beauties. (I would love to take this opportunity to direct you to her Etsy shop but she doesn't have one.) I think this one suited my personality the best, and the little bead at the end reminded me of a turtle shell. The whole thing is just very earthy and yet simple, and it's light and comfortable to wear.

I don't know how it happened, but a few years ago I made a wish (telling NOBODY) that I had more jewelry, especially jewelry that had meaning behind it. I had looked in my jewelry box and noticed that all my necklaces and earrings came from lame little mall shops and I had bought them all for myself. I feel blessed that since then I have acquired not only gifted jewelry but hand-made jewelry.

So much happy!!
I love both of the necklaces so much that today I tried to wear them both at the same time.

It was technically do-able, but I guess I'll be traditional and wear them one at a time. Since I only have one neck and all.... Oh and I guess I already showed you, but let's have some better lighting...

6) New Hair!!
Ignore my "Did it take the picture yet?" face ;)
Blue Hair!
It's incredibly temporary, but I have wanted blue hair all of my life and now I feel just like a mermaid. When it runs out (It only lasts 5-40 washes, with my luck closer to 5) I have a few other colors to pick from. I think purple is next. And before you ask, yes I had to bleach the daylights out of it. 2 boxes, and it still wasn't "blonde."

7) Goodies from JoAnne's
I went for buttons, but I ended up getting a few little treats for myself as well ;)
I bough Sheep(ish) for swatching for this adorable pea-coat.

Also I may have bought something online. That may be coming in the mail. ;)
All in all I had such a wonderful beautiful day- at the mall I ran into a few knitters, which really cheered me up!
I even had an hour or so this morning to myself to lose myself in a novel! I hope you all had a lovely June 14 as well ;)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A bit of sunshine

This morning I was quite pleased to see that Don't Drool on the Wool has been nominated for the Sunshine Award by Evelyn form Project:Stash! I love her blog <3
I'll be honest: I'm not entirely sure what this Sunshine Award is exactly, but it does mean that my small and infrequent blogging brightens someone's day. And that makes me smile. ^_^ 

Also I feel kind of bad about doing this post when I totally let another blog award slip past me a few months back! The lovely Omlair and Shannon nominated me for the Versatile blogger award, but (shhh) I secretly know that I'm not a versatile blogger and that I tend to follow non-versatile blogs as well... So I kept putting that one off for that reason, and also because a lot of my favorite blogs had already been nominated and I didn't want to sort of haunt them in a chain mail reaction of nominations! Whew. So I'm glad I can thank everyone, EVERYONE! All the people who read and comment and make my day and share stories and experiences. Maybe my blog isn't versatile enough- out of 300 I can count on my hands the number of non-knitting posts I have done- but the blogging community sure does brighten my day and I am soo glad to be a part of it.

On to the Sunshine Award Rules
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
You are awesome, and I loooove reading your blog. ^_^

2. Answer the 10 questions on your favourite things.

  1. Favourite animal: Giraffes (((Love))) [Vyvyan is here and he says his is a monkey.]
  2. Favourite number: 2. It's the loneliest number since the number 1.
  3. Favourite non-alcoholic drink: WATER!!! I tote my 22oz cup around everywhere; it's always full of ice water. [Vyvyan thinks it's my sippy cup]
  4. Facebook or Twitter: Facebook. I don't really "get" twitter. Still. I know, I know, I'm a dinosaur. Also, I still don't have timeline. hahahah
  5. My passion: Knitting. It's still a passion; I swear it's not an obsession.
  6. Getting or giving: (wince) Ok OK OK OK OKAY I admit it, I'm a giver but I love getting!! 
  7. Favourite Pattern:This is impossible. But I love this horse. If I have the patience and stamina to knit the same pattern more than once, then I must love the pattern. Right? I've made 2 of these horses and I keep thinking it's time for another...
  8. Favourite day of the week: Monday. I love that everyone goes to work and I get the house to myself. Also, I LOOoOoOooooOoOove Modification Monday over at Knitted Bliss. ^_^
  9. Favourite flower: I'm a gemini so I'm picking 2 favorites: Pansies because they double as an insult and Daisies because they are sooooo friggin pretty.
  10. Favourite country: Meow... Well I've only really been in 2: Canada and the US. It doesn't seem fair to pick the one I live in just because I live in it, but the US is where California is, and I absolutely love California. But of far-off places I haven't been to YET but love looking at pictures of and imagine myself some day visiting? Ireland. 
3. Nominate 10 blogs to receive the Sunshine Award and let them know they've been nominated.

This is the part I find kind of hard, because I don't know who already has gotten it or whatever but since it's just such a happy thought: Sunshine! I'll just pick 10 bloggers I loove following. If you've ever seen the list of blogs I follow you'll see that I read QUITE a few of them! haha

1) Shannon of A Life Flexible

2) Suzanne of Crea in the City 

3) Leslie of A Friend to Knit With

4) Shelli of Mrs. Murray Knits

5) Helen of Golden Apples

6) Nanette of Knitting in Color

7) Abby of Everywhere Knits

8) Deborah of Caffienegirlknits

9) Julie of Knitted Bliss

10) Vicki of It's a Good Place to Knit

And that's my bit of sunshine. <3

I just went and 'alerted' all the people I nominated and I just want to add a few words for them: I am so happy every time I get an update on my blog feed from you guys. As I commented that I nominated you, I realized that for a lot of blogs it has been a long time since I commented. Even if I read every post. It probably seems like I'm a stranger! But you've been talking, and I have been listening.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

This Little Piggy Went Yarn Bombing....

I've never really been yarn bombing before. Once a few years ago I tied a small bit of orange acrylic to a pole, but I really don't think that counts... I went back to check on it a week or so after the fact and it had been cleaned up and probably thrown away. It wasn't anything impressive; it was just a square, striped with garter stitch and stockinette with a few yarn-overs thrown in. But after a reminder that International Yarn Bombing Day is June 9th this year, I busted out some woolen scraps and whipped up a cute little project to do that very thing.

(it's a pig)

To be honest, I'm not sure I'm a fan of yarn bombing.
I feel like it's kind of a waste of yarn because, even if it looks really cool for a minute, it ends up all bedraggled and dirty and basically gross. Especially if it's left out in the rain and sun.
But I was inspired by One Sheepish Girl's strawberry idea, and thought if I did some cute intarsia then it wouldn't be so bad. Maybe, in fact, somebody who saw it would take a liking to it and take it home!

Instead of tying it on with string like I did with that old garter stitch square, and instead of sewing it on where it would be stuck on the tree or pole for life, I decided to go with a more temporary fixture:


I chose these cute little buttons because they are loners in the button bin, and were always taunting me when I would knit baby items where I needed 4 or 5. For the straps I just picked up 5 stitches, knit 14 rows of garter stitch, then did 2 rows of easy YO buttonholes so I have a bit of a choice as to what size pole or tree I put it on.

I liked that, since it's just a sort of throw-away project, I didn't have to worry about the reverse side looking pretty:

Anyways, I'll be out finding a nice little place for this pig.
Wish me luck!

And P.S.
I totally caught the Patchwork Sock bug (forum here).

I don't even mind weaving in all the ends!
 I seriously am in loooove with knitting these. Every new scrap I pick out I'm like, "Awwww, these were Will's socks... Awww this was Tennyson's cardigan that's actually still not finished and gee maybe I should start that second sleeve.... Awww this was the pair of socks I made for myself and then the dryer ate one.. Awwww this was supposed to be a hexipuff," and so on and so on. Seriously. Great fun.

Friday, June 8, 2012

FO Friday

I don't know if I've mentioned it lately, but I'm in the 12 pairs of socks in 2012 group on Ravelry, and I totally slacked off last month. So now I have to do 2 pairs in June. Luckily I have a few WIPs floating around, and this week I put some time into a pair and now my LoveSocks are done!

Reverse Stripes

When I chanced upon two coordinating balls of pink Cascade Fixation at my local thrift shop, I knew immediately I wanted to do some funky striped socks and- thanks to Devon Clement- the pattern was already out there.

Little Intarsia Hearts on the Heel Flap
The only modification I made to the pattern was the different weight of yarn. Using her child size directions, I was able to make an adult size sock with sport weight yarn. I used a size 3 needle, and I probably had enough yarn leftover to do several more stripes.
Also, not really a modification so much as an accident, I knitted them with the beginning of the round on the same side for each sock.

This wouldn't have been so noticeable if I had bothered with jog-less stripes but I very rarely do. I guess somehow I thought I could wear them both so that the jog is on the inside of my foot. You know, even though I have two feet, and the socks are identical?

You know how it's really hard to take pictures of your own feet?
It's extra hard to take pictures of your own heels.
The yarn is very comfy- very stretchy and quite soft. I'm keeping these ones for myself, because they seem too imperfect to give away and I love them so much I couldn't imagine giving them to someone who thought mis-matched socks were weird. Plus I'm very interested to know how well this yarn wears when mis-treated, so that when I do give some away I know what to tell them. (By mis-treated I just mean washed and dried like a regular ol' sock.)

Hee hee, did you notice that I took extra pictures today to make up for the fact that I have only one FO? I promise my Sunnyside Cardigan will be done very soon: ever since I split for the armholes it's like it's been knitting itself!
Check out more FO's with Tamis Amis.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I've been very good lately about working on one project at a time. I finished something on Monday, and then cast on for something I've had my eye on ever since I found out my friend was pregnant: Tanis's Sunnyside Cardigan. I love that with only a slight modification, the cardi can be made a little more gender-specific. I'm knitting the boy version, which features cables instead of lace and a garter hem instead of picot.

The yarn is Knit Picks Bare, that I dyed last year with food coloring and vinegar. It has been sitting in the stash for a while because I really like knitting socks with fingering weight, but the color is too boring and plain for simple socks and every time I start a pair of complicated socks they end up in the WIP pile for a year until I frog them... So I decided a baby cardigan would be the best idea for it, with a little bit of cabling so it isn't too boring. The best part is that, unlike socks, I don't have to knit two of them ^_^

So that's what I'm working on. Unfortunately, until I finish the raglan increases it's a little bit less brainless than I'd like, especially for traveling or waiting in lines, so I also cast on another project.

It wasn't a well thought-out project. I wanted socks. That's not true. I don't ever really want socks, I just want to knit socks. But right now all my sock yarn? You wouldn't believe it. None of it is sock yarn. I have an entire basket full of sock yarn, and none of it is suitable for socks. The Huntington? I'd have to do stripes to get a pair and I hate toting around more than one ball. The Koigu? The wrong color for plain socks, and I've gone over my problem with complicated socks. The Heritage Silk? Not variegated enough. The Twisted Sunshine from the wool festival? Too much of it. The Kroy Jacquards? Not enough of it. It's a problem. (Luckily my birthday is next week and I think this is a problem I can solve.)

So anyways, I decided to cast on some baby socks for my son. That way I'd get rid of that single skein of Paton's Kroy that was just taunting me, and my sock-knit craving would go away. So I sat in line at the DMV for a full 2 hours and nearly completed one sock. A visit to my sisters completed the sock, except for the toe grafting.
At that point  I showed it to Vyvyan and said, "Do you like your new sock?"
He nods, "Uh huh."
"Are you gonna wear it?"
He shakes his head. "Uh-uh."
"Yeah, you are, lets try it on."
I put it on his foot and um.... It was about two inches too short. So I frogged the toe, put it back on for a picture and to determine how much was left to knit and he screamed and pulled at it and I just sighed and gave up and frogged it right there. Right off his foot.
I decided to add the ball to my bag of scraps and I can make some Patchwork Socks. Since they seem to be the thing to do. I mean, all the cool kids are doing it....

Check out more WIPS with Tami's Amis

Friday, June 1, 2012

FO Friday

I have a few finished objects to share.
1) Sweater on the Fly
I know I said I'd give you a picture in natural lighting but... well...
It is 106 degrees outside my house right now so that is NOT happening.

I stood in front of a window for this picture ^_^
Then I took it off and threw it in a pile of winter clothing where I'm sure I won't see it again for 6 months.
Still, it was really so fun to knit a sweater without a pattern. For a minute there I didn't think it was going to work out, but I guess I really lucked out! Holding the wool-ease double was an excellent way to get a sweater fast, too.

2) Incredibly boring in comparison: white dishcloths
 Because sometimes when it's hot and I'm bored I make squares.

3 and 4) Hat and Sweater for a family baby
Materials: Wool Ease, 2 Skeins
Size 6 needles (I am so happy I learned magic loop, enabling me to knit this entire thing without switching needles)

As you can probably tell, I didn't use a pattern for the sweater. I just cast on 90 stitches and did a basic raglan. The original plan (if you can call it that) was to knit a placket down the middle front so that the new mama can just unbutton it to pull over the baby's head. But at some point I threw that plan out the window and decided that garter stitch is probably stretchy enough, especially in combination with the fact that the neckline was already accidentally far wider than I had intended. Basically I totally messed this up because pride goeth before a fall.
And yes, the garter stitch wannabe placket is one stitch off-center. I can't ever un-see it and it makes me so crazy. I'm not even sure if this is going to make it to the gift box for the new baby. It's sort of shameful. It does look cute on a stuffed cow, though.

The hat was made from this pattern, and I wish I had done a rolled brim instead... But I guess to match the sweater it had to be ribbed...
Neither of these items are really newborn sized, and I think I'll have to make something else for the shower. Still, they were fun to make (stripes yay!) and I love using up stash yarn!

Check out more FO's at Tamis Amis ^_^


I have one more important thing to note. Today is my son's birthday! He is two years old. Here is a picture of the day he was born:

At 9 pound 11 oz, June 1st 2010
I'm so happy with how far he's come, and how smart he's becoming, and how cute and awesome he is. (Yesterday he came in my room with a stick of celery and said, "Here, mama." and it melted my wee heart.) Here he is today:

I'm so proud of him. He can sing so many songs, he knows all his uppercase alphabet and some of his lowercase, he can put together 24 piece puzzles, he knows animal sounds, and he can identify a whole bunch of birds. He knows all his shapes, can count to ten, and can identify a few numbers by sight. He loves reading with me, and "reads" his favorite books to himself. He's so much cooler now than he was two years ago. Seriously. Cuter, too. ;)
So, anyway, I asked him what he wants for his birthday, and he said he wants cake, candles and to sing Happy Birthday. Can do, little buddy, can do.