Decisions, Decisions

The question really should be, “Should I finish something that I have on the needles or should I start a new project”.

But the answer to that is obvious.

Once that is taken care of, now I ask what project should I cast on next?

This weekend I was gifted the pattern for the Chandra Shawl (thanks again, C). I have been saving my Madelintosh Eyre for this shawl, and now that the pattern is mine and all printed up and put in a folder set alongside the three gorgeous balls of merino/silk/alpaca (can you say “luxurious”?)… well, could you resist?

I was also given a skein of Knit Picks Stroll this weekend (for a baby shower gift which is all kinds of awesome! Thanks, N!). This yarn is crying out to be made into a pair of Maeva Socks, don’t you think?

But how does one choose between them?

Oh, it is a tough decision, and the little nagging voice in my head said, “Why start something new when you have so many wonderful things on your needles already? Be a good girl and finish something first. What about that nice silk lace shawl you have been neglecting this week? That would be fun.”

To keep myself on the straight and narrow (because I try to be good, really, I do), I went to my Ravelry project page and counted my WIPs.

  • One lace shawl
  • One Christmas project (aka – no rush)
  • One silk top that should be put into hibernation because I don’t even remember when last I worked on it.
  • One crochet project (yeah, right. Like I’m really going to work on that!)
  • One super boring sampler in which I am knitting billions and billions (okay, one hundred, but it might as well be billions) of tiny squares to sew together and make something I don’t have a use or desire for.

Let’s see. That is five works in progress. Five. Five? Five!

So, I cast on the shawl and the socks, of course! 🙂

Free Pattern – Cast Iron Pan Handle Cozy

I don’t know about you, but I love my cast iron pans. I do almost all my cooking with them and have quite a collection. I even have a gorgeous purple Le Crusette saucepan and skillet. My only complaint is the hot handles. I am just scatterbrained enough to continually burn myself on them!

So, a long time ago, I made a couple of handle “cozies”. Then, I made some for my mom and now I have just finished up a set for a friend. The more of these I knit, the more boring they become, so each successive cozy gets a little bit more elaborate. And, then I thought, “Hey, these are getting pretty cute! I should write out the pattern for them!”

So, without further ado, here it is – the quickest gift you can knit, provided your recipient has a cast iron pan.

Cast Iron Pan Handle Cozy

Yarn – worsted weight cotton, I used Knit Picks Shine (‘cuz it’s what I had in the stash that was washable and I love the shine)
Needles – size 4 DPN’s

Cabled Version

cast on 16 st – placing 6 st on first needle, and five on the other two needles. Join in round.

row 1 – p1, k4, p1, *k1,p1* to end
row 2 – p1, c1f, c1b, p1, *k1, p1* to end

repeat rows one and two till cozy measures about 5″ or desired length, ending with row 1.
bind off

abbreviations:
c1b – slip one stitch to cable needle and hold in back, knit next stitch, knit stich on cable needle
c1f –  slip one stitch to cable needle and hold in front, knit next stitch, knit stich on cable needle

Corrugated ribbing version –

this one is not as stretchy due to the use of corrugated ribbing, you may have to change the cast on amount, as long as it is an even number 

cast on 20, join in the round
work corrugated ribbing – *k1 with color a, p1 with color b * repeat around.
continue till cozy measures about 5″, or the length of your pan handle
bind off

But, really. A smart knitter like you can just go and measure your pan handle, work out the gauge with a little math and get creative with the details. So, go ahead and try it. Use it to learn a new knitting technique (yes, that explains the corrugated ribbing one 🙂 ). It is small, fast and useful. Have some fun with it. 🙂

Dream In Color… ful Socks

I was starting to think that I would never finish these… but I did!

Kai Mei Socks in Dream in Color Smooshy Buttercup (not modeled because they are too small for my ogre feet)

These socks are so pretty and I am glad that I finally got around to knitting them.

Three things about this knit:

1. I love this yarn. I love the way the colors never stripe or pool, but just freckle a little with bits of pink and peach and dark yellow. This yarn was leftover from the sweater that The Bookworm and I collaborated on last year. I bought an entire skien just to knit 18 st of yellow flower centers and it has sat in the stash ever since just waiting for the perfect project.

2. I started out knitting these 2 at a time, but had to work them one at a time for heel, gusset and the ends of the foot, about 2 repeats of the pattern before the toe. It was a little bit of a pain going back a forth between the one long circular and the DPNs, but I got them both finished at about the same time, and that is what matters. No second sock syndrome for me!

3. If I ever knit these for my feet, I will need to cast on more stitches and add a couple of pattern repeats. I wonder, too, if the cuff should be knit in a smaller needle size than the foot to keep the ribbing tight? It will have to be fiddled with for sure.

Alas, these are not for me. I hope the feet that these are headed to are made very happy.

I think I could knit this pattern again (see #2), so someday my feet may be so lucky.

Grandma’s Doilies

When I got married, my grandmother crocheted for me a set of white doilies as a wedding present. While I thanked her for them, and gave them the proper amount of oooh’s and aahh’s, in my youth and inexperience I thought to myself “Doilies? What am I going to do with doilies?” 

You see, I had missed the point.

Now that I am a knitter, I get it.

It wasn’t just doilies that my grandmother gave to me. It was the hours that she spent with hook and thread, thinking of me. With each stitch she said
“I love you”.

I have been knitting a lot of gifts lately. When I am working on a gift for someone, I find myself thinking about the recipient. Sometimes I will pray for her, sometimes I am reminded to get in touch with her, and often, I wonder if what I am working on will please her. With every stitch, I am saying
“I love you”.

A handmade gift says so much more than, “Here, I got you something”.

It says, “You are worthy of this fabulous yarn that I have been hoarding for years.”

It says, “You are important enough to me that I spent hours thinking about you.”

It says, “With these socks, I hope to warm your heart as well as your feet.”

Something for you to remember when you are given a gift from a knitter (or handicrafter of any sort).

Appreciate Grandma’s doilies.

CAUTION: Knitting Ahead

Being a mother of young children, my knitting takes place in tiny windows of free time throughout my day. I knit a few rows here and there between kissing owies and changing diapers. Often, I will settle myself on the couch with my knitting only to have to jump up again minutes later to referee a fight or take The Munchkin potty (and while I am up, I will throw in a load of laundry or bake some bread…). Such is the life of a knitter with a house full of blessings (aka – kids). All this is fine and good, but I wonder how safe it is when I return to my knitting and discover that I left it on the couch like this:

Now, I suppose this might be okay if my house was filled with sane people who saw the couch before they calmly sat on it.

My house is not that house.

No, my house is filled with people who take a flying leap at the couch, seeing nothing at all, landing on head or back or whatever part is lowest after the crazy flip they just executed, while letting out blood curdling screams (or explosive sound effects if we are talking about The Boy).

Perhaps I should start leaving my knitting on a table instead….

Knitting Poetry, the Fourth

When lace has got you down
You’ve tinked more than you can count
Turn a heel

When silk has got you beat
Knit something for your feet
Turn a heel

When your knitting’s just too tough
Get your socks knit past the cuff
Turn a heel

When you can’t find your knitting mojo
Work some socks from cuff to toe… jo
Turn a heel

Turn a heel, turn a heel
Yeah, you’ll love how it will feel
Turn a heel

And maybe work some gusset rounds, too!

My Kai-Mei Socks are coming along rather nicely, if I do say so myself.

What Ever Happened to That Lace?

Rest assured, the lace obsession rages on, but several things have been slowing me down.

Hinderance #1 – Pregnancy Brain Lingers On. Despite being five weeks post-partum, I still can’t manage to remember a simple lace pattern – even when it is repeated eight hundred times! Sleep deprivation deserves some of the blame as well (see Hinderance #2), but I should be able to wrap my brain around a few yarn overs. This isn’t that hard (for lace) and I have mastered much more complicated patterns in my knitting life.

Hinderance #2 – Sleep Deprivation Causes Narcoleptic Attacks. If I am knitting on the (super-secret-christmas-gift) stockinette stitch project, I most definitely will fall asleep. It has happened…. twice. If I am knitting on something more complicated, say, this lace for example, well… see Hinderance #1. Fortunately, I am a tea snob and have the caffeine it takes to carry on.

Hinderance #3 – Silk (while gorgeous and fabulous and wonderful and awesome) Is Very Slippy and Hard To Work With. To fix this problem, I moved my knitting off of my slick nickle plated needle to my Harmony Wood needle. It helped, but I still have dropped more stitches than I care to count (can you say “tink”) and have to watch carefully even on the easy purl rows. The stitches dance around all over the place and the yarnovers like to rearrange themselves on the needle.

Hinderance #4 – 

Need I say more?

Hinderance #5 – Let’s be honest. The biggest reason that I have neglected my lace is this:

Can you blame me?