Friday, January 30, 2009

And it's already Friday again

I'm not sure how that happened. It was just the 23rd, but now it is nearly February, and I'm due to finish something, as it's

But, nothing is finished yet. I have decided, however, to work on the afghan I started a long time ago. I had just learned entrelac and thought the idea of an entrelac afghan was fabulous. I still think it is fabulous. However, in execution, knitting an entrelac blanket large enough to cuddle in is just plain silly.

"I only have to count to 8" I said, "that makes it mindless knitting."
"It's good practice picking up stitches," I thought.
"It's just little blocks of stockinette, easy peasy" I quipped.

Dude. Entrelac, while lovely, is tedious once the magic of it is gone. When the "how in hell did I just manage to make yarn do that?!?" is gone, it's just plain knitting with a bunch of decreases and picked-up stitches thrown in for giggles.

Mind-numbingly tedious or not, I still like the idea of it, so it shall continue to grow. I do reserve the right to change my mind, stop knitting at some yet-to-be-determined point and call it a mere "throw" or a shawl even.

I also finished a pair of fingerless mitts this week. They are loosely based on a WWII Red Cross mitts pattern that was in Piecework Magazine last month, but there's really very little resemblance when it's all said and done. Please don't click to enlarge the picture, as then you could see both my lack of blocking the mitts and moisturizing the hands. I really ought to go get a manicure.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's done

I feel a little like a hit man. I finally pulled the trigger and frogged a stole that I started last March, It had the potential to be gorgeous, but alas, it was accursed. I'm sad to see it go, but honestly, I'd never love it with the mistakes in it. Life is too short to finish reading bad books, and likewise too short to wear half-assed shawls.

RIP, Eye of Partridge Shawl.

But I now have two balls of Trekking XXL that I can use for other things.

It's Finishing Friday.

I've actually finished something, too! I started these socks for the Ravelympics, but I got sidetracked and they got stuffed in a bag and hung on a doorknob. I got them back out in November, intent on putting them in my daughter's Christmas stocking. Umm, fail.

But thanks to the genius of Majorknitter, who dubbed 2009 the Year of Decisions: a year during which all the WIPs become finished objects, or are undone and returned to the yarn stash. I decided that it would be good to start with something easy, so I pulled out the socks and finished them up. Nora loves them and wore them to school today, in spite of the fact that I screwed up and made one about three-quarters of an inch shorter than the other.

If I can manage to finish some housework in time, I just might frog something today, too. Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I am a bad yarn mom

Yesterday I decided to clean my office. I can manage to keep most of the house moderately respectable, but it is usually the office that gets all the overflow when people are coming over, and it's the place where most of the bills and mail come, so that's a constant struggle. But the worst part of my office shame comes from the yarn that lives here. You, my faithful reader, might recall my yarn stash finding a new home a little over a year ago. I was so proud, it looked so nice.

But over that last year there have been projects started and finished, also a fair number of projects started and abandoned. There were swatches knit, new yarn acquired, and searches conducted. Some random skeins were pulled from their home and plopped unceremoniously on this desk, to end up tangled in computer cords. Other yarns were hastily rewound and shoved back in or atop the armoire, to become tangled with other yarns and needles that had been treated equally as poorly. I knew it was a mess, but until I pulled out every poor, mistreated bit of string in my house and put them all on the table, I didn't know the magnitude of my transgressions.

Meanwhile, I had already decided to join in the fun with a bunch of others dedicated to Finishing or Frogging all those WIPs in the closet. As part of that endeavor, I decided to also get really honest with myself about how many projects sit in the cabinet and in bags on doorknobs, languishing on their needles, that need to be finished or completely undone.

This is the result:
Yarns that need to be re-wound and re-homed. They also need a good solid apology for my mistreatment. It was like woolen Gitmo in there. Poor things.

And projects that need to be resolved one way or the other (By the way, Penny thinks I am a very good kitty mom, for providing her such a soft and lovely sunny spot for her afternoon siesta):

As you can see, I need to get busy.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pattern: "Nora", a child's winter headband

This is a simple headband with a 3-st seed stitch border on each side, then a cable up the middle. It's super easy once you get the rhythm of it. It's really only wide enough to cover a child's ears as I've written it, but if you used a wider border or bulkier yarn, it would be great for a grown-up, too. :)

Ravelry Link to the pattern. :)
From Drop Box
I've never written a pattern before, so if there are any parts that aren't clear, please let me know and I can fix them.

Worsted weight yarn
US7 (4.5 mm) needles

Here it is:
CO 14 stitches (use provisional if you choose, or you can just pick up stitches on the CO edge later)
knit one row across

Set-up rows:
Rows 1&3 (rs): k1, p1, k1, p2, k4, p2, k1, p1, k1
Rows 2&4 (ws): k1, p1, k1, k2, p4, k2, k1, p1, k1

Begin cable pattern:

Row 1: k1, p1, k1, p2, slip 2 st onto a cable needle to the front, k2, knit the st from the cable needle, p2, k1, p1, k1
Rows 2, 4, 6: k1, p1, k1, k2, p4, k2, k1, p1, k1
Rows 3 & 5: k1, p1, k1, p2, k4, p2, k1, p1, k1
Repeat cable pattern until desired length*, ending on row 5 of cable pattern

Begin decreases for the tie:
Knit one row across (ws)
Row 1: k5, s1,k1,PSSO, k2tog, k5
WS rows: knit across
Row 2: k4, s1,k1,PSSO, k2tog, k4
continue on, decreasing the center stitches until you have 4 stitches left.
Knit i-cord with those 4 stitches until you have about 3"
Tie off i-cord, break yarn.
At CO edge, pick up 14 stitches, and work exactly as you did the decreases for the the other end.
weave in ends.
take a picture and show it to me.

*"desired length for us was enough to cover from one ear lobe across the top of her head, to the other ear lobe. All kids head will be different. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A new FO

I have no fancy name for this, but I made a headband for my daughter. It's way too cold for it today, though. It is currently -16 degrees outside-- that's not windchill, that's the actual temp! But on the winter days when it isn't too cold, I still want her to keep her ears warm. She's getting to that age when she doesn't want to go messing up her hairdo willy nilly. (I am very not ready for this grown-up kids thing.)

So anyway, here it is. It's knit out of a pinky-purpley vintage yarn that's a little fuzzy like mohair, but otherwise a decent yarn.
From Drop Box

Yarn: Pingouin Mousse
Needles: 4.5 mm (US7)
Eventually I'll write out the pattern and name it. I think I'll make a few more of these for gifts.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Busy busy busy!

I've been actually getting some stuff done lately. I'm as amazed as anyone, really. Since there's a lot of stuff to share, I'll get right to it.

First, on December 30, I decided to turn an old t-shirt into yarn. It's really easy (Thanks, Alwen!) and I love not having to throw out all that perfectly good cotton. I'm such a packrat. Anyway, the resultant yarn is a little thicker than I'd like, but never having done it before, I didn't know what I was doing exactly, I didn't cut the strips thin enough. I'll do that next time, said Jack. I knit up a swatch, and will definitely try it again. This is about 3/4 of the yardage from the one shirt (men's sz medium) and is a 6" square. I used my trusty 9mm bamboo needles for this.
From ravelry

Next up is a Panta headband. I used about 70 yards of leftover Patons Classic Merino for this. I was so anxious to get started on this, I didn't even bother to wind the yarn into a ball first. I just looped the hank over my neck. That's true slacker knitting for you, right there.
From ravelry

It took no time at all, and I really am happy with it. It keeps my ears warm, and doesn't do funky things to my hair. That's all anyone really can ask of a wool head band, no?
From ravelry

I also have been baking lately, but I'll save that for another post. I have dough in the kitchen that won't turn into a loaf without me. ;)