Giddyup!

Today I have a cute, quick knit to show you.

This is Spark’s Pony Pattern made in Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. It was a birthday gift for The Bookworm who is turned 12 this week.

Let me tell you, The Bookworm was thrilled. She carries it around on her shoulder! I love when I can put smiles on my kids’ faces with a bit of wool.

Three things about this knit.

1. This pattern is written for worsted weight yarn, but I wanted something smaller so I used fingering on size one needles. It is small, but I was hoping for even smaller. I probably should have whipped out some lace-weight and my 0000 needles. Oh, well, there is always next time. I also think that next time I will try the other head option for a smaller, more normal looking noggin. I did the big one this time because that is what the kids like, but I think it looks ridiculous.

2. I got this pattern almost immediately after it was added to Raverly’s pattern database, so it was brand spankin’ new. I got the “virgin” version and I felt the pains thereof. After I was about 2/3 through, I received an email containing the revised version from the talented designer and all was well. I still can’t figure out how the legs were supposed to be sewn together, but it worked out okay in the end.

3. The pattern did not explain how to do the eyes. For that I just went back to the Etsy shop where I bought the pattern and closely examined the pictures of her finished ponies. Then I did what I could with the felt bits I had left over from my calendar. I am pretty surprised by how well they turned out.

All in all, it was a good knit and so quick that I think I could do it again. The only downside was the amount of yarn used up on hair!

Maeva

I had an epiphany. Are you ready? This one might blow your mind, not because it is particularly clever or new, rather because it took me so long to realize it.

Why do I knit socks with long legs when I clearly have a preference for ankle socks when I buy socks at the store?

How many times have I knit a pair of socks that take twice as much yarn and time as an ankle sock (which is what I’d really rather wear). And isn’t that the point of making socks? To make the perfect sock for me?  I mean, I don’t wear turtleneck sweaters, therefore I don’t knit turtleneck sweaters. I don’t wear long johns, therefore I don’t knit long johns. So, I made a decision mid-sock and knit a pair of socks that I would love to wear (fortunately for me, it was a toe up sock, so I could make that kind of a change).

Introducing my “Natalie Loves Me” socks (so named because this yarn was a baby shower gift from my knitting buddy who knows what makes me happy).

Maeva in Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, Foliage

Three things about this knit –

1. This yarn does what it does well. I am not saying that it is my new favorite, but for a pair of socks I think it will do just fine. I love the color and the way that I magically (and without trying at all) started each sock at exactly the same point in the colorway so that the semi-striping is perfectly matching. I love the sturdy feeling these socks have.

2. I learned many new things while knitting these socks, the least of which was the epiphany mentioned earlier in this post. I learned how to do Judy’s Magic Cast On, a truly wonderful trick. I learned that while toe up socks are fascinating, I would much rather start at the top and work down. I also learned that I actually do enjoy working socks one at a time (rather than both at once) and that knitting the second sock doesn’t have to be a painful chore (because this second sock was just as fun as the first). I guess you could say that these were educational socks.

3. I made many mistakes. Many. I mean it. A lot. I crossed cables willy-nilly with no thought to the way they were actually supposed to cross. I increased haphazardly. I decreased when I felt like it. I totally faked the heel flap without even peeking at the pattern. All of these mistakes are tiny, and really, (really) they make no difference (at all. whatsoever). I keep telling myself that I don’t care. But I do. (But not enough to frog them.)

Also, these socks are kinda baggy, which is weird because I have huge feet and every other sock I ever knit for myself has been tight. Maybe I can shrink them up a bit in the dryer. (note to self – next time do a smaller cuff)

All in all, a satisfying knit and a new pair of socks in my drawer. It’s been good week.

Fibery Goodness

Cosymakes Falkland Fiber Club, March 2012 “Fresh”

Family Pendragon Mystic MCN, “Inner Wild”

Corriedale from Wildcard Fiber Arts, natural

Looks like my spindle is going to be busy for awhile. As a matter of a fact, I don’t even want to knit with all these luscious wools calling to me from the stash cabinet.

Oh, and check this out. This is totally cool.

When I told Kaylan at Wildcard Fiber Arts that I was a beginner and didn’t know much about the various spinning fibers available, she graciously sent a bunch of little samples to me. I have been fondling and sniffing and playing. This little bunch of bits is just the coolest thing and it perfectly compliments my current night time reading.

I am usually a very fast reader, but I am taking this book slowly. There is so much information packed in and I know almost nothing going in so it is a little overwhelming. But I am learning and loving it.

Oh, and there is knitting happening here, too. More on that tomorrow!

Party Planning

I love planning birthday parties for my kids, so this year when The Bookworm asked for a slumber party, I got really excited. The planning is usually the best part for me, but this time was an exception. We had an absolute blast! And I had just as much fun partying as I did planning. So, just in case your daughter (or son, because most of this is gender neutral) wants a super awesome slumber party, here is the quick rundown of ours.

Decorations –

I have two words about party decorations – Dollar Store. I spent $10 and got streamers, balloons, bowls, napkins, spoons, cups, and a table cloth. Sure, they were just plain pink and yellow, but a 12 year old doesn’t need cartoon characters right? The above picture is the living room ceiling, and below is the table, which leads me to the next item –

Treats –

Instead of a cake, we did banana splits – I spent about $40 on ice-cream, banana’s, and toppings. And look at those toppings! Whoppers, M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanuts, and (of course) cherries, plus chocolate, caramel and strawberry syrups.

Games – 

For game ideas, I visited the NBC website for the game show “Minute to Win It” and picked out a bunch of really fun challenges. In the above picture The Bookworm is trying to drop pennies into a baby bottle that is submerged in a gallon jar of water (it was a lot harder than it looks). We also tried to keep three balloons aloft for a whole minute, blew purple ping-pong balls off a plate while leaving the red ones on it, stacked marshmallows on our foreheads, played ping pong tic tac toe, and many other zany, laugh-inducing challenges. Once we had run through those, I sat the girls (and The Boy) all down to play Catch Phrase while I got the craft ready in the kitchen.

The Craft –

For a craft, I purchased candy melts, molds, lollipop sticks and bottles at Joann’s crafts ($35), and we made some candy. This was really fun and the girls (and The Boy) all did a really good job. We also threw in the left-over toppings from the banana splits as our creativity soared.

More Games-

We then played a few rounds of Reverse Hide and Go Seek in the dark – we turned out all the lights and one person hid, then everyone had to find and hide with the person who was “it”. As it got later and we needed to quiet down (the little girls were now in bed upstairs), we played Hide the Thimble (I talked about this game before).

Settling Down-

At about 10:00 we put on our jammies and spread out the sleeping bags for a good movie. I had three movies rented for the occassion and we held an election to see which one we would watch. “Ella Enchanted” won out over “The Muppets” and “Hugo”. At midnight we turned out the lights and went to sleep. (It is a little ironic that, while the girls all went right to sleep, my baby, who has been sleeping through the night since she was two months old, kept me up for most of the remaining hours of the night.)

Bright and Early – 

One of our guests had to be ready to go at 8:15 am, so we were up and eating breakfast at 7:30. Breakfast was scrambled eggs and cinnamon rolls. After breakfast, we all got cozy in the living room and watched “The Muppets” so that I could snooze a little longer.

Sum-up-

For less than $100 we had a fabulous slumber party. We giggled and created and we were entertained and we were challenged.

And now my daughter is 12 years old. Wow!

Oh, Dear. I Think I Deserved That

Knitting disaster strikes me from time to time, and I guess I was asking for the latest one when I bragged about how easy that hooded scarf was.

This, My Dear Friends, is the kindle cozy for The Bookworm.

Strange, right? This is what it was supposed to look like (photo swiped from the pattern):

Now, a part of me wants to claim ignorance (“I don’t know what I did wrong!”) and maybe blame the designer (“What a stupid pattern!”), but I really do know what happened. All I want to say is this –

Next time I plunk down beside you at knit night and I wonder out loud how this thing thing on my needles is magically going to turn into a usable item, and then I say that I think that I have the pattern memorized after only three rounds please, someone, for the love of wool, SLAP ME!