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 

IMGP1743
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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.

A Stocking For The Munchkin (Christmas Countdown Day 12)

The Munchkin has a newly knit stocking (finally).

Three things about this knit:

1. I didn’t want to knit this. I put off knitting it. I knew that I had to knit it. I hated knitting it. But, even so, it didn’t take long and I am happy enough with it now that it is done.

2. The Munchkin’s stocking is bigger than everyone else’s. And I am okay with that.

3. For this stocking, I blended two patterns together. I wanted it to resemble the five stockings that we already have, and yet still be an interesting knit. I think it worked out okay. (The boring knitterly details are on my Rav page here)

Now I only have to knit one for V and one for myself and then I will never ever have to knit another Christmas stocking again. I’ll get right to it….. next year, perhaps?

Emergency Knits – Last Minute Gift Ideas (Christmas Countdown Day 7)

I may have bragged a little about having all my Christmas knitting finished recently. That was rude of me. I apologize.

To make up for that insensitive commentary (heehee), I offer the following ideas for quick last minute knits.

“Last minute?” you ask.

Yes, Dear. One week of December is already gone. This is “last minute” for a knitter. It may be that you will have to set that fingering weight afghan aside for next Christmas and work on something that you actually have a chance of finishing before the New Year. But I digress…..

Since today is the seventh day in our countdown, here are seven things that I would knit if I still needed to knit a gift… which I don’t… because I am done….

Sorry. I couldn’t resist. Okay, here we go!

198 Yards Of Heaven

A triangular shawlette knit in a largish gauge with an easy to remember lace pattern. You may remember that I have knit this shawl. Loved it.

Saroyan

Don’t have the patience for lace? How about another shawlette, also knit at a large gauge, this time with a warm Stockinette stitch body that is sure to fly off the needles.

Turkish Bed Socks

Socks are a bit daunting this late in the game, but what if one just skipped knitted leg and cuff? This is a quick knit that I would definitely wear. That reminds me – these need to go in my Ravelry queue.

Growing Leaves Cowl

I am a sucker for leaves, and this cowl has plenty.

Bunny Nuggets

The kids are sure to love these, and anything else by Rebecca Danger for that matter. Bonus – I bet these knit up faster than it takes to decide which color to use.

Shroom

I have knit this pattern twice, and I still love it. From CO to BO it took one evening. Bonus – looks great in Malabrigo Rasta. (You know you’ve been wanting to try some of that…)

The LeLe Baby Hat

Lastly, for the littlest one on your knitting list: (it almost makes me want to have another baby it is so cute!)

So, there you go. No more procrastinating now, Ladies and Gents. Get knitting! 🙂

All of the photos above were taken from the linked Ravelry project page.

Err On the Safe Side

I am a chronic yarn-yardage-over-estimator. Chronic. Remember my Mermaid sweater? Three balls left over (that would be 600 yards). The Tea Leaves Cardigan? Three balls (another 600 yards). Wispy Cardy? One ball extra (that would be one-third more than I needed!) And I have done it again.

In retrospect, I am not sure what I was thinking. The pattern clearly calls for 1545 yards for the large size. I substituted Knit Picks Cotlin for the reccomended Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere, because I wanted to use something machine washable and I love Cotlin. At 123 yards a ball, I should have ordered 12.5 balls, or really 13, of Cotlin. I ordered fifteen. Do you want to guess how much I have left? Not two balls, not three, but five whole balls of Cotlin in Coffee:

Now, I don’t know quite how this happened. There is also another partial ball, which I only got into for the seaming. So, I used approximately 1250 yards, after ordering a whopping 1845 yards. I guess math is not my strong point.

My motto? To err is human, to have lots of extra yarn at the end of a project, divine.

And, yes, I am finished with the knitting on this project. All I have remaining is the dreaded zipper installation. A task which reduces me to a pile of teary hopelessness in the best of circumstances. Pray for me….

Revelations

As my morning sickness has gradually abated, I have been slowly reclaiming my household responsibilities from my husband and children. This has been an eye opening process, and I am learning some disturbing things about what they consider to be good house keeping. Such as:

The dish rag in the sink can be used over and over for weeks on end. I stumbled upon this first fallacy when I decided to wipe off the table for the first time in two months. I grabbed the dishrag out of the sink, and the stench that was released just from lifting it up made me run for the bathroom. “Guys,” I asked my brood, “when was the last time this rag was washed?” I got the usual blank stares and a few “I don’t know”s. Weeks would be my guess. I knit seven dishrags, so that every day we could use a clean one. Ironically, they are going through dish towels like there is an endless supply….

Sorting the laundry by color before washing is optional. Okay, this may be true for us, since most of our clothes are so old that there is no color bleeding happening anymore, and, even after two months of this, we did not end up with any pink socks. However, our whites have never been dingier and I wonder where I went wrong in the training of my kids in the laundry department. (To be fair to the kids, I think this was a decree made by the Papa…)

The baby’s diaper must be changed only when solids are present. Now, I don’t know if this is actually what they think, but it must be close. How do I know? Exhibit A – one package of diapers (34 diapers) seems to last about three weeks. And, Exhibit B – every time I say, “Hey, can somebody change the baby?” I hear in response, “Why? Is she poopie?”

When putting away the dishes, just shove them wherever they fit, especially the pots and pans. The other night I decided that I felt good enough to make dinner. First, since The Man has been doing the grocery shopping and the cooking, I didn’t know what we had in the way of food and found myself rummaging around in my own pantry feeling like a stranger. Then, I couldn’t find anything I was looking for. The spatula, the pot-holders, a clean dish towel?

You may be wondering how these things could slip my notice for so long, but, really, that is how sick I have been. And, in a way, it makes me feel good, because now I know that they really do need me. Now, if I could just figure out where they have put my little saucepan…

 

And, guess what? Knitting is happening again! Yay. Unfortunately it is not the “oh, I just feel like knitting” kind of knitting, but rather the “oh my gosh, Christmas is almost here and I am nowhere near finished with _______” knitting. The Man, being so wonderful and good natured, said, “Don’t sweat it, Babe. Just buy something different for your sister.” That was before I told him how much I spent on the yarn…. Yeah. I better get back to it.