Archive for the 'Knitting' Category

Bzzz, bzzz, bzzz

December 23rd, 2008

That’s the sound of me being a busy bee today.   Unfortunately for me, although I was quite productive, in terms of creating tangible objects, I’m not pleased with the results.

1.   Sock for Mom

Spoiler alert!   (Okay, it’s not really much of a secret; she’ll find out in a day or so anyway, and I’ve given her socks for something like three significant events running, so I bet it’s not a shock, either.)

Having decreed that no one would get knitted presents this year, I naturally proceeded to cast on for these yesterday.   I would have cast on earlier, but the yarn was so tangled, it took Matt and me (working in shifts) the better part of six hours to untangle.   I was displeased.   I’m also not thrilled with the way the sock turned out; I don’t like the sploochy nature of the dye job and I don’t love the pattern, either.   All the negativity could just be a result of my natural Christmas humbug, though.   I think Mom will still like the socks; Matt says they’re nice.   Decide for yourself:

snowflake-sock

Of course, Matt is so tactful, he’d say anything I make looks nice, which brings us to item 2:

2.   X-mas yammies

I bought holiday-colored fleece weeks ago, meaning to make coats for the dogs.   That task got put off until today, when I realized that it was either fabricate the coats or put the fleece in storage (! — as if I have anywhere to do that) until next year.   So I made the coats tonight.

These are my fifth and sixth pair of yammies, and I’m getting the hang of it.   I still haven’t made an actual pattern, so I’m using an old set to cut out the pieces, and so far, that’s working out well.   I remembered to orient the stripes with the length, rather than the width, of the dogs.   I also remembered to place the sleeves with the seams to the back, rather than the front, as I did last time.   Further, I avoided the frustrating mistake of using the smaller bottom side of the sleeve to size the sleeve-hole, avoiding having to rip out teeny-tiny stitches.   The coats, in a dressmaking sense, are perfect.   Unfortunately, however:

hideous-xmas-coat

They are hideous.

I emerged from my sweatshop bearing the first coat, very pleased with myself.   Philip was, fortuitously, standing, scarfing down the last of his dinner, so I promptly swept off his blue pyjamas (which, by the way, are very cute), replaced them with the new pair. . . and promptly burst out laughing.   They are really just appallingly ugly.   These pyjamas are in the running for the title of ugliest thing Kim has ever made, and that includes spandex leggings from the ’80s.   Come to think of it, if this pattern came in spandex, I might well have used it for leggings in the ’80s.

Part of the issue, I think, is the contrast material.   I went with the light green because I couldn’t find a matching dark green or red, but the light green just screams “elf” to me.   (If I have time tomorrow, I might try to make elf boots for Philip.   Henry wouldn’t wear them.)   Of course, the rest of the issue is the general repulsiveness of the striped material, which, as Matt tactfully put it, “I always had my doubts about.”

Kindly, Matt has confirmed that he would never have mentioned how truly unsightly these yammies are had I not raised the issue myself.   However, as I am not blind, I feel that these are destined to be a Christmas tradition (they really are very well made) . . . and at least I can see the joke.

(P.S.   You can weigh in!   There’s a new poll assessing your opinion of dog coat aesthetics.)

Weekend update

December 21st, 2008

Saturday: Woke up at 10:30.   Took a nap at 1:30.   Woke up at 3:30.   Took dogs for a walk by the river.   Came home.   Took another nap at 7:00.   Woke up at 7:30.   Knitted until 4:30 am.   (I suppose that makes this Saturday/Sunday, really.   Semantics.)

Knitting until 4:30 allowed me to finally finish the garment Matt and I refer to as the Kim-snood.   Last year, about this time, I knitted Henry a snood.   This year, I knitted myself one.

kim-snood

For those wondering, a snood is basically a circular scarf, and when it’s made for humans, it’s more commonly called a cowl.   I find it amusing to class myself with dogs.

My snood is exceptionally warm (it’s made of cashmere) and soft (it’s made of cashmere), and because it’s so long, I can do this (Kevin will snicker):

snood-as-hood

Although I then feel vaguely like a medieval knight, my ears stay warm on dog walks, and I’ve decided warmth trumps.   Next on the list is gloves; we bought big golf umbrellas to provide coverage for both ourselves and the dogs, and exposed fingers get chilly.   (I bought cashmere for those, too — did I mention I’m on a cashmere kick?   It’s really just as amazing as everyone says.)

Sunday: Woke up at 1:00 (pm).   Sat in bed and watched TV.   No naps today.   Hey, I’m on vacation!

Vacation beckons

December 18th, 2008

And I think I’m going to make it.   I turned in my final project for my master’s class tonight, so that’s done.   I still have to pull together my test for Friday, but that’s really just assembling it from old tests, not writing it from scratch.

Also, with very little time to spare, I finished the only Christmas knitting I’m doing.   Naturally, it’s going to someone too small to care, but it’s a lovely little thing (as is the recipient), so I’m still pleased.

poppys-hat

I had to have it done, including blocked (washed and dried, for you non-knitters) by Friday, as that’s our last day of school before the break and it’s for the baby of a colleague.   The hat is made from part one of my ridiculously large hoard of cashmere, and this stuff is win-win.   It’s cashmere, for heaven’s sake, so it feels like, well, heaven, but it’s recycled cashmere, so it’s free of goats-destroying-the-plains-of-Mongolia guilt.

Now, I just hope it fits.

Hand in glove

September 25th, 2008

Over the summer, I did very little knitting.   I needed a break from socks in a major way.   I didn’t think I missed knitting at all, but when Matt and I went to Fort Bragg for our late-anniversary jaunt, I couldn’t resist the yarn store.   Within the yarn store, I couldn’t resist cashmere yarn and a brainless scarf pattern.

When I finished the first scarf, I knitted a second.   When I finished the second, I contemplated a third, but decided I’d rather have a different project.   I’ve always had a hankering for gloves, but I don’t know how to make them.   So I popped over to Ravelry to browse patterns.

It turns out there are lots of fingerless glove patterns and lots of mitten patterns, but not so many gloves-with-fingers patterns.   Those that exist tend to be written for hands larger than mine, and I wasn’t sure I’d want to tackle resizing on a first-glove project.   I saw a reference to The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns, which I don’t have, but the Sacramento library system does.   In Elk Grove.   So I requested the book to be transferred to my branch library and settled down to wait.

I’m not very good at waiting.

The book actually arrived at the library today, but by the time I figured that out (7:00), it was too late to pick it up.   Besides, as you may have noticed, I’ve cobbled together a glove, based on the premise that hands are very much like feet.

For a first attempt, especially with no pattern, I’m pleased.   The yarn is a handspun I bought from Etsy way back when.   Originally intended for socks, I held off because it’s a bit thicker than I personally want my socks.   For quick-and-dirty gloves, it’s perfect: immediately available, faster to knit up than standard sock yarn, thin enough to make usable gloves.

I’m not waiting for winter with bated breath or anything.   But at least now my hands will be warm when I do morning supervision at school.

Well, one of them will be warm.   Let’s see if I can make this two (gloves) for two (hands).

One of those days

February 25th, 2008

It hasn’t been that bad, really, but there were a few unfortunate things.

Due to the recent rain, the dog’s walks have been short-ish and sometimes rather damp.   Hoping to make up for some of that, we decided to take them out today when we noticed a break in the rain.   By the time we were ready to head out the door, though, it was raining again.   We went anyway, hoping it would stop.   Quite the opposite.   A few blocks away from home, it started pouring.   We gave up and came back (after a grand total of five minutes), very wet.

Exhibit A: Wet Henry

wet Henry

Exhibit B: Wet Philip

wet Philip

Exhibit C: Wet zombie Kim

wet zombie Kim

My second unfortunate thing concerns my knitting, and it happened earlier this week, but let’s just pretend it was today.   In search of an instant gratification project, I decided to knit a hat out of bulky yarn.   Last time I knitted the hat, it was too small.   I unraveled, bought larger needles, and tried again.   It didn’t take long, only a few hours.   I tried it on before I cast off:

almost done hat

and again afterward:

finished hat

Yeah; now it’s too big.   This is not really a fixable problem, at least not in the United States.   The pattern calls for 7 mm needles.   In the US, we don’t use millimeters.   My choices are US size 10.5 (6.5 mm), which made the hat too small, or US size 11 (8 mm), which made the hat too big.   Surprise — I need the actual needles the pattern calls for!   I could special order them, but I’ve reached my limit.

Who’s got a bigger head than me and wants a hat?

Darn!

January 19th, 2008

It’s nice to be appreciated. (Can you hear the “but” coming?)

But. . . Matt has worn his socks to death. And it’s only been two months.

Okay, so “to death” is an exaggeration. Nonetheless, I was not thrilled last night when, while putting on his socks, Matt said, “Uh oh.”

“What?” I asked.

“This is bad,” Matt said.

What?” I repeated.

Matt didn’t say anything else. He simply extended his foot and showed me this:

hole-y sock

Look, I know that socks wear out. (Especially Matt’s socks.) I made these with a clear understanding that I would have to undertake repairs at some point. (Can you hear the “but” coming, again?)

But. . . I was expecting to repair heels, not toes. (This is actually not a problem, as toes are much easier to fix than heels.) And I was not expecting the sock to have an intact shelf life of approximately 45 days.

Oh, well. I undertook the repair, accompanied by a chorus of groans and complains (all from me; I’m talented that way). The first step was to remove the old toe.

hole in toe

(This is actually a mend, not a darn, as I re-knitted rather than stitching over the hole, but “Mend!” isn’t nearly as catchy a post title.)

With that accomplished, I re-knitted the toe, and Matt’s sock is (nearly) as good as new:

mended sock

Matt is very pleased to have his socks back and is wearing them right now. Again, I’m glad he loves his socks. (Wait for it. . .)

But. . . at this rate, I’m going to spend more time mending than knitting.

Greyhounds like coffee

January 6th, 2008

Matt ran out and got mochas for both of us this morning.   I had about three-quarters of mine, and left the remainder on the headboard, where I forgot about it. . . but the greyhounds didn’t.   After our walk, I headed into the front bedroom in search of wrapping materials for Danielle’s (late, obviously) Christmas present, and came back to see Henry standing on the bed. . . and the coffee cup sitting on the floor.

My comment?   “Oh, [expletive deleted].”

There was coffee on the pillowcase, the sheet, the down comforter, the bedskirt, and the floor.   So Matt and I resignedly stripped the bed and put on non-coffee affected sheets.   While we did so, the dogs gathered around to help us clean up.

Henry and coffee

Philip and coffee

That fiasco dealt with, I turned to wrapping Danielle’s Christmas present.   More details (and pictures) after the jump. . . Dani, you get to decide if you want spoilers.

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Bad friend, good greyhound mommy

December 30th, 2007

Danielle’s Christmas present is now five days late (and counting), and is only about 80% complete.   As she requested this gift, I give nothing away when I say that the cause of the delay is second-sock syndrome.   I am a bad friend because, rather than sit down and finish the darn thing, I spent my knitting time yesterday working on a snood for Henry.   To add insult to injury, a snood is basically a sock for the neck.

Also in the bad category: my self-control.   Before we went to the yarn store, I took a mental inventory of my sock yarn and told Matt, “No more sock yarn,” which he obediently repeated at intervals.   I proceeded to ignore him.   In addition to the snood yarn, I bought sock yarn (this brings the stash up to a quantity sufficient to knit seven pairs of socks, not including the four currently in various stages of completion) and more sock-sized knitting needles.

Steady knitting tonight and this morning (I got up at 6 to preempt mad Philip-barking at squirrels and couldn’t go back to sleep) brings us to near-completion of the snood.

unblocked snood

At the moment, it doesn’t look like it would fit on my arm, let alone a greyhound head, but after the magic of blocking, I’m sure it will be fabulous.

In case you’re wondering about the gnawed corners of the table — blame Henry.   He likes wood.   Also plastic.   (Look closely at the handle of the scissors.)   Why, you might ask, did I make him fragile knitwear?

It’s a fashion statement.

Home for the holidays

December 27th, 2007

Sunday, 12/23/07
This is the day Matt and I have agreed we will head down to Fresno, arriving in sufficient time for Christmas festivities. Sunday morning sees us sleeping in.

Bleary-eyed, I frantically knit at what is to be my mother’s Christmas present, because, like an idiot, I’ve decided that the socks I pre-knit in June especially so I can avoid frantic last-minute knitting are, in fact, not good enough. They appear to be two different lengths, and also, I’ve found this cute pattern with candy canes. How timely. How unfinished.

Matt, in the meantime, scrubs down the bathroom and peels off the old caulking. He’s going to re-caulk now because the caulk has to set for several days and we only have one bathroom. The caulk smells like vinegar. Caulking takes a long time.

We arrive in Fresno at 7-ish. We invade Kevin’s room while Kevin goes to a LAN party. The dogs make themselves at home.

hounds enjoy Kevin’s bed

Matt and I are certain Kevin will love this, since the dark brown blanket atop the bed is a dog blanket, placed there for Toby. Toby won’t come anywhere near the hounds, and there’s no use letting the bed go to waste.

Matt plays Zelda.

Matt plays Zelda

I resume frantic knitting. I have about 1.75 socks at this point.

zombie Kim knits

Monday, 12/24/07
My plan is to visit my grandmother. Instead, the dogs wake us up early, we go for a walk, hang out with family, go for another walk, and I sleep for four hours. Oops. Guess I’m still sick.

I finish my mother’s second sock. This is good, as it has candy canes on it, thus limiting its utility if presented after the 25th. The sock needs to be washed and blocked to look good and match the first sock. This is bad, as it’s too cold for the sock to dry overnight. The solution involves a blow-dryer and something like half an hour of my time.

Tuesday, 12/25/07
We went to Fowler to spend the day with my dad’s side of the family and do a combined gift-exchange (usually Christmas Eve), Christmas day, and mochi-making session (usually the day after Christmas). I annoy Kevin by unilaterally declaring his mochi lumpy and unacceptable.

fixing mochi

Matt annoys everyone by darting and weaving and taking pictures.

mochi

We left the dogs in the car, parked in front of the house, rather than in the farmyard. This is so they don’t see the cats. My auntie offers to let us leave the dogs in the fenced courtyard. We explain this will result in the demise of one or more of her cats. She retracts the offer. We walk the dogs occasionally. They’re fine. Don’t feel sorry for them.

Wednesday, 12/26/07
Abandoning Matt to the tender mercies of the greyhounds, I visit with high school friends for lunch and (finally) drop in on my grandmother. Petee Pirhana (nom de poissons is my addition), my auntie’s crazy dog, barks ferociously at me. On the way back from visiting Grandma, I mention I haven’t yet finished Danielle’s Christmas socks. My mother tells me I should have finished Danielle’s first. I point out that Mom’s have candy canes on them, making a late delivery useless, whereas Danielle’s are non-denominational (so to speak). My mother says, “No one’s going to be looking at them all that closely. I figure I’m going to wear them until the end of the winter.”

!!!!!

Matt drives home. I blog. Wait, is this in real time?

Demands, demands

November 25th, 2007

Demand for Kim-knitted socks has increased dramatically in the past few days. In the queue are socks for:

  • Danielle
  • Melissa
  • Jeanette

Melissa’s request came in response to Matt’s generous offer of knitted socks. [He's pimping me out.] She’d like stars knitted in. This requires colorwork, which I don’t know how to do. I know the principles, but lack the skills. This is unfortunate for Matt, whose beloved (and much demanded) bleep-blorp space invaders socks require colorwork skills.

I decided that perhaps simple knitted stars could teach me a thing or two, so I made a rudimentary pattern, found some old yarn, and cast on to give it a second try, with some success. So Melissa, there’s hope yet. Just don’t hold your breath.

star swatch

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