Fox Guarding the Henhouse

Naturally, when my stash was threatened this morning, I went on high alert.

I even posted a guard.

In a stroke of genius (and because I am a super fun mom), I appointed my number one suspect as guardian of the yarn, as if I never thought she would be capable of such crimes.

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I’ll let you know how that worked out as this story unfolds.

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The Note

I found this on my pillow when I went in my room to make my bed after breakfast.

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Talk about hitting me where it hurts!

My suspect list is short. Of my seven children, there are only a few that a) can write a note without asking me how to spell every third word; b) would use pink letters; and c) continuously followed me around the house this morning asking me when I was going to make my bed.

Stay tuned for more on this breaking story. (I can’t wait to see what’s next!)

Creepers Gonna Creep

Ah, Minecraft. The amazing computer program that blends creativity and video games so seamlessly that even Mom approves. And she shows her approval by knitting creepers for her kids. Because she sucks at building anything on the actual game. Virtual blocks and pretend pickaxes only confuse her, but she is a whiz at creating stuff with wool (and I don’t mean wool blocks on a screen), so she plays along with her needles instead of her keyboard.

Introducing my little knitted creeper. As seen on Ravelry here

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There are several patterns to chose from on Ravelry (look here) but I decided to wing it when I didn’t see one that fit in the palm of the hand.

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And it was a simple thing to figure out, anyway.

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It’s basically a bunch of blocks put together just right. Here’s how I did it, in case you want to make one like it.

Knit Creeper Pattern

yarn – I used Mosaic Moon Licorice Twist DK in the colorway “Lime SS Trim For Sweet Cream Scoops”, but any sturdy, DK yarn will work.
needles – size 3 DPN’s (or a size that will produce a nice, tight gauge)
gauge – not critical, but you want it tight and small-ish

HEAD

CO 10, knit 12 rows stockinette stitch

Pickup stitches along each side of square (8 stitches along sides and 10 along end) and begin working in round.

Purl first round
Knit 8, purl 1 four times (repeat row 12 times)

Bind off 27 purl wise

Knit across flap (back and forth in stockinette) 12 rows
Stuff and sew shut

BODY

CO 20, join in round
Knit 4, purl 1 four times (repeat that round 11 times)

Bind off 15 purl wise
Knit flap back and forth 7 rows
Bind off, sew shut
Stuff and attach to head at center bottom

LEG repeat four times
Pick up four stitches from center out of bottom of body, CO 1

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Work flap 7 rows st at
Work as for head, adjusting for smaller stitch count

Repeat leg three more times –

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Use tail of one leg to tie inner corner of each leg together to firm up base

Duplicate stitch face on (I used Mal sock black held double)

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Give to resident Minecraft enthusiast and enjoy the happy.

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Keeping My Needles Clicking and Clacking

Mass producing Curly Purly Soakers has been keeping my knitting needles a clicking.

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I am using O’Wool Classic Worsted in six different colors with plans to make a stripey one with the leftovers.

These are for a commission knit that I am working on, for, sadly, my cloth diapering days appear to be over. (We have transitioned The Blessing to disposable diapers.) I wish I had tried this pattern sooner, though, because it is really quite clever. And free. The shaping is done mostly by changing needle size, and I used a wide range of needles for the above soakers – from size 2 to cast on and work the ribbing, to size 6 for the main body, and size 4 for the legs and the transition from waistband to main body. I think that these will stay up quite nice despite not having a drawstring, which is how I always have kept my baby’s britches up.

Distracting me from the above knitting is this.

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Sweater of my own design using madelinetosh Tosh Chunky in the colors Oxblood, Norway Spruce, and Glazed Pecan

It started as a few skeins of endless possibility and a winter spent wishing for a big, squishy, cozy sweater. Add to that a fun sweater knit along with some of my favorite people on Ravelry and I am hooked. Funny thing is, the KAL runs from Memorial day weekend to Labor Day weekend, and I am going to be done quite soon indeed.

I am working it as a simple, top down raglan with ever increasing fronts and a shawl collar. The stripes are inspired by Reflected Lines, a pattern available through Ravelry.

So, what is keeping your needles moving?

Must. Knit. Something.

Funny story.

She came over that evening and she actually brought her knitting. She always forgets her knitting, but on this night she remembered. Then she actually knit on her project as we visited! She hardly ever does that. Usually I’m the one knitting and she knits a few stitches and then talks and then knits a few stitches and drinks her tea and then holds the baby and then… This time she was really flying across her rows, knit. knit. knit.

So there she is knitting in my living room and I had nothing in my hands at all. I had two projects on the go, and both of them were colorwork and I don’t like to knit colorwork while I’m talking (remember the socks? Yeah. That lesson was still fresh in my mind).

So I was sitting idle.

Watching her knit.

Weird, right?

Right. Totally weird.

Desperately, I grabbed the nearest ball of yarn and cast on some longies. Then as I talked and without any planning or thought, I started switching colorways from my scrap bag.

And I was knitting, too.

All was right with the world.

And The Blessing was getting another pair of longies. One can never have too many longies.

Win, win.

I am giddy with happiness at how lovely these scrappy longies turned out. They took days to dry after lanolizing, but this morning they were ready for the photo shoot.

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The Blessing, however didn’t want to do a photo shoot.

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No, she’d much rather crawl around and put leaves in her mouth.

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Or grab for the camera.

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When I finally got her to stand, it was only for a second and then she was down again.

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But she did like climbing on her chair that Uncle T made.

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I realize that this post started out as a knitting post and has quickly turned it’s focus to a cute baby. Can you blame me?

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I didn’t think so.

Okay, so knitting details. Well, for starters, the Ravelry project page is here.

Just for kicks I decided to try Russian joins. It’s clever and I like eliminating the ends to weave in later, but it isn’t very smooth as far as the knitting goes. It leaves big bumps. It’s only longies, so it’s cool, but I doubt I’ll use it again.

The yarn is all Mosaic Moon Targhee Aran. Some of it I picked up in a scrappy swap and some I had on hand. I did use one bit of Mosaic Moon Licorice Twist Aran (the pink zebra at the knees and just before the cuffs) as the legs were looking too blue for my girlie-girl.

These ended up being just a tad too big, you can see that I rolled the cuffs. And I should have used a smaller needle as the gauge is looser than I usually like for longies. But she will grow and they are just too cute.

I am extremely happy with the results.

Rushing It

Carried by the high my first steek afforded me, I blithely picked up stitches along the neckband of my colorwork sweater.

As I sat and chatted with my in-laws during their week-long visit from Ohio, I worked away at it.

Watching Muppet movies with my kids, I worked away at it.

Drinking coffee and staying up late, I worked on it.

And then I bound off. It was done.

It looked awful.

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I knew all along that I was rushing it.

I picked up 2 stitches out of 3. It really needs 3 out of 4.

I knit a 2×2 rib, but to match the hem and the cuffs, I should have done 1×1 rib.

I was relaxed and happy, so the stitches are relaxed and happy, too.

The end result is an awesome sweater with a sloppy, poorly sized, pathetically executed button band.

I don’t have much time left if I am going to enter this sweater in the Mosaic Moon Mini Skien Contest, so I skipped the pouting, knitting something else, procrastinating, and whining phase of frogging and got right to it.

I will be glad to have it done right. I will be happy that I frogged it. I will like the look of a more dense 1×1 ribbing that actually fits the sweater. I will be proud to wear it when it looks good.

But today I am a little pouty and a little whiney as I pick up all of those stitches again. Today I am wondering if I can finish it in time to block it and photograph it for the contest. Today I am a little irritated with myself.

I guess that is what I get for rushing it.

The Steek

My heart was pounding in my chest. My palms were sweating. I could barely breathe.

Carefully, I double checked the blue lines of thread that ran up the front of my colorful knitting.

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Taking the scissors in my hand and inhaling a deep, steadying breath, I put the steel to the wool.

And then I cut it.

I think I might have started to black out a little, so I paused and waited for my sight to return.

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Seeing the shiny silver scissors eating up my knitting made me a little nauseous, but I carried on and cut up the entire length of my sweater.

My hand was shaking as I set the scissors down next to my carefully constructed knitting. I stepped back and leaned against the china cabinet for a moment.

Then I looked at my work and I was happy.

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My first steek was a success!

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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!

Dirty, Rotten, No Good, Lying Piece of Swatch!

Swatches lie. Big time. I only swatch when it is absolutely necessary, and this time it was absolutely necessary. I made a great swatch. A beautiful swatch. A swatch to base an entire sweater pattern upon. Behold, the gorgeous swatch! … Continue reading