She is SO Predictable

My inner knitter is doing it again. She is so predictable. You see, I had the audacity to plan out my knitting for the next couple of months. I have made a list, I have checked it twice. Christmas is coming and it is deadline time once again. I told my inner knitter that she has to buckle down and get some things accomplished. She was happy at first, to have such a pretty list of knitting to do. Inspiration was flowing and the yarn went on the needles in a happy fashion. It was hard to not knit all the things! This list was inspiring! This list was exciting! This list was totally doable!

Fast forward to today, however, and my list has made a mysterious change. My once alluring siren has now morphed into a harsh task master – whipping my conscience for not completing projects in a timely manner, shaming me for desiring a smidge of inspiration, and shackling my creativity with a sense of obligation.

My inner knitter yearns to be free from her list of must-knits, but knows that she will be so satisfied if she could only see it through. She slogs through knitting projects that long ago lost all of their cast-on excitement, and she dutifully works to complete what she started with great determination and resilience.

But she also dreams of the day when she can cast on some frivolous knit with no deadline and no anxious little person endlessly asking, “Mama, is my ______ done, yet?” and no Christmas tree to mock her.

And so, oftentimes when I sit down to knit, I will find myself on Ravelry, surfing through everyone else inspiration, living vicariously through the creative expression of other people. I will waste the entire window of knitting time poking around on other peoples’ project pages and adding more patterns to my queue.

The irony is that my queue is full of the things that I found the last time this list tortured me so. And some of the things that I am knitting now came from that wandering eye when I was trying to avoid some “must-do” knitting of the past.

It’s a vicious cycle, I tell you. Vicious. And my inner knitter never strays from the merry-go-round. Make list. Cast on. Knit. Get bored. Surf Rav. Make new list. And on and on it goes.

This actually reminds me of my stash. Oh, inner knitter! You have gobs of gorgeous yarn! Pounds upon pounds of heavenly fiber! Why do you continue to haunt etsy? and Eat.Sleep.Knit? and swap groups? Use the amazing stash that you have, already!

My inner knitter is so predictable!

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Christmas Consolation Socks

Everybody got a handknit in their stocking this Christmas.

The Bookworm got fingerless gloves (which she hasn’t taken off since Christmas morning)

IMGP1752and a lace shawl (oh, she has been asking for years for a lace shawl. I think she loved it). I finished it last summer and squirreled it away –

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The Boy got minions. Lots and lots of teeny, tiny minions –

IMGP1591The Princess got a hat and scarf. When I finished knitting these in November, I asked her to model them for me. She had no idea they were for her!

IMGP0962_medium2The Munchkin got hat and mittens to match her Strawberry Sweater

IMGP1576_mediumFor The Fraggle, a hooded capelet. I love how she tucks her arms up into it. She is so cute!

IMGP1745 IMGP1747And for The Dancing Queen, socks. She had been asking me for handknit socks for years, but I always say no. Her feet grow far too fast! Oh, how sadly true that is, for when she tried to put them on Christmas morning, I realized they were too small.

IMGP1644She wanted them, bad, though. And she is such a gracious girl, I know she didn’t want me to feel bad, so she crammed her huge feet into them and thanked me heartliy. Later, I saw The Princess wearing them and I knew I had failed.

So, I took The Dancing Queen aside and I gave her a a few choices. I could fix those socks, I told her, to make them fit better. Or, if she wanted to pick out a different yarn, I could knit a whole new pair and she could give the small ones to her sister. She chose the latter. I gave her the run of the stash, any yarn she liked. She chose this Family Pendragon which has been in my stash for ages. I guess I was saving it for a really special project.

IMGP6820_medium2It fit the bill perfectly. And then I started knitting. I knit that first sock as fast as I could. Then I had her try it on, and wouldn’t you know it? Too small. Dang! When did this kid get so big? So I ripped back and started again. But by this time, I was burned out. Bleh. For a week I just played with my wheel instead, because I knew she was watching, so I couldn’t knit something else, but I DID NOT want to knit that! So I spun. See my merino/yak? oooh, purty!

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But it turns out that I am a good mom after all, and so I pushed through and finished the socks. The Christmas Consolation Socks. They turned out pretty darn good.

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Turkish Bed Socks in Family Pendragon 80/20 Fingering (discontinued), Ice Dragon 

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IMGP1737All’s well that ends well. And there might be enough left in that skein for a pair of socks for me! Woohoo!

But now I can’t wait to get back to that merino/yak. It is yummy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Stockings Were Hung

No. I still haven’t knitted stockings for the last two kids, but I did knit these four for someone else…

IMGP1349Kristen’s Creative Christmas Stockings in Wool of the Andes (colors used are listed on my Ravelry project page here)

Three things about this knit –

1) The pattern page on Ravelry says that one of these stockings takes 95 yards. That is a bald faced lie. This is very important to know if you are a) going to order yarn to make them and b) charging by yards knit and c) booking your holiday knitting extremely tightly. I was doing all of these things, so the huge discrepancy cost me time, money, and yarn. Accordingly, I took detailed notes of my yarn usage and listed it by stocking and color on my project page.

2) This pattern is so cool, yardage lies aside. Versatile, customizable, and creative, it was a fun project. I had to make some changes to keep them all the same size, but it was easily done.

3) Wool of the Andes is an excellent yarn for a project like this. It comes in over 100 colors, knits up beautifully with lovely stitch definition, and is quite economical.

I am pleased and proud as I pack up these four stockings and send them off to their new home. I am also keenly aware of the looming holiday and the lack of two more stockings hanging over our fireplace. So, back to knitting I go.

 

Knit Faster!

Ack! It’s December first! WHERE DID THE YEAR GO?!?!?

If you’re anything like me, you are behind in your Christmas knitting and starting to wonder if your long to-do list of gift knits  is anything short of utter insanity. Maybe it’s time to switch out plans for those argyle socks for something more simple, and to toss out all projects that have a gauge of 6 stitches to the inch or more and start focusing on 3 stiches per inch projects?

Quick knits. That’s what I’m talking about. And I have a few gems to share – knits that I have found to be fast, simple, and excellent for giving.

1. Seafoam Scarf (and other drop stitch scarves and cowls)

IMGP0966That wonderful drop stitch adds inches to the length of the scarf in just one row! This thing flies off the needles, and a decently long scarf can be made in the space of a good chick flick or two. Mine was knit in my own handspun. Ravelry project page here.

2. Turkish Bed Socks

IMGP1046This pattern is super quick, super easy, and makes a really nice pair of socks. I wear mine all of the time and my girls love the ones that I have made for them as well. I have knit this pattern many times, but the only picture I have is of the pair that was knit for me by my knitting buddy.

3. Mini Sock Monkeys

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These tiny critters are great crowd pleasers – just ask my crowd! Once I got the hang of them, I could knit one in less than a half an hour and they only require the tiniest bit of leftover sock yarn.

4. Flower Fairies

20110923-100739_mediumGranted, you need some little peg people to make these cuties, but those are easily and cheaply found online (I get mine from here). The girlies love them and they are easily altered to make gnomes and girls and all kinds of little characters. (see my variations here)

5. Wren Headband (or any of the 2131 headbands and earwarmers found on Ravelry here)

IMGP2626_medium2At the risk of sounding self serving, I designed this little knit to be a quick, easy, and impressive gift.

On top of that, there are 4085 patterns on Ravelry that can be made out of under 150 yards of bulky weight yarn! (look here!) Just on the first page I see a knitted beard, a hat pattern for the whole family, and a very cute short scarf.

Now, what are you waiting for? Only 24 more days until Christmas!

KNIT FASTER!!!

 

 

 

 

Smitten (Christmas Countdown Day 14)

Even though I finished with my Christmas knitting earlier this year, I still feel like I need to knit something Christmas-related. Maybe it is the two empty slots over the fireplace waiting for stockings (which I do not want to knit), maybe it is the Knit Picks holiday kit that I need a good reason to buy, or maybe it is just one of those weird quirks of this quirky knitter.

In any case, this urge to knit seasonally appropriate projects has sabotaged all real knitting. I have the Nutkin Socks going, and actually worked on them last night, and I have the Maeva Socks also in progress. There are a few other WIPs that I haven’t forgotten about and I need to knit a warm sweater for V. The Princess could use a warm sweater, too. Oh, and The Man wants socks. But there is this strange resistance to knitting those things. Needful things, works in progress, normal knitting… that all seems so, well… not Christmassy. So, what is a knitter to do?

Cast on Smitten.

You know. For next year.