sock porn for knitting voyeurs.

Friday, December 22, 2006

the grinch that knit christmas.

I don't like Christmas. (whoa, think i heard a pin drop!) Yes, I'm one of *those*... I cringe at Christmas music, avoid decorations and wrapping paper like the plague, am an absolute cynic regarding anything red and green. Like others who share this reticence about the holiday season, I have my own gamut of reasons why... vague ones like memories of mom weeping into her non-martinellis drink over every holiday dinner, explicit ones like my dad's girlfriend flaunting a wedding ring when they came to pick my sister and me up for our annual Time Spent During the Holidays with his side of the family (of course not telling us he remarried beforehand, or was engaged). Of course there's the kicker, returning on Christmas day from a trip to visit my grandparents to find our house half-emptied (and Christmas presents half-stolen) by my mom's third husband... spending the night at the local, empty-halled Holiday Inn because mom was afraid to stay in our home. So I never really faulted myself that I didn't like Christmas, that I didn't really care to celebrate it once I moved away and into my own life (for college, so just shy of 10 years).

Yes, this means that I didn't really do anything for the holiday for my son's first two Christmases. Of course he had presents, I made too much food for too few people... but no decorations, no celebration. That said, I bought my first tree this year, and I know I did the right thing when a friend came to visit and my son immediately dragged her to the tree and pointed, "look at the tree!" I even decorated it with a few ornaments I'd saved from when I moved my mom from her home...

mom told me my grandma crocheted these (there are several).

my grandma started my family's Annalee doll craze... I grinned seeing this one, the only one I'd saved for myself years before I'd learned how to knit (she's holding a yarn butterfly). My aunt has so many Annalees... lets just say, she has more of the dolls by weight and width than I have sock yarn. Easily, and maybe by twice. Really.

Ashamed to admit, but my son doesn't have his own stocking this year, so he's "borrowing" mine that my grandma made me in 1991 :) Next year, I'll knit him a Christmas in Tallinn stocking from Knitting on the Road (check out Erica's here!)

So why am I bringing yall down on the solstice and too-near Christmas? I just feel this huge weight that I didn't know was sitting on my heart evaporate, the one that worries too much about corrupting my son with my eccentricities. No need for him to see me weep over dinner, but no need for me to withhold special times like these just so I can avoid long-buried memories.

Knitting, holiday-wise? Finished the base of the Noni bag...

(uh, mistake? yeah, oh well.)

half of my gift design (pics when I can!) and my mom's third pair of One Skein Cashcotton footies (that I left in the room little man is napping in, no pics!) :) Also have been cr*cheting...

Rasta crochet cap, in handspun Brown Sheep roving

Something requested that has me a little enamored of crochet at the moment. It goes so fast! I have an 8 oz skein of Interlacements Toasty Toes that was withering in the stash and now I'm thinking a crocheted, circular blanket for mini me... I know, I know-- pinwheel instead! But crochet just feels so fast! :)

I finally sucked it up and frogged/restarted the wonky Interlacements Tiny Toes sock, too...


It should be illegal, the pleasure I get using my ball winder to frog. Or at least an indicator of how fast I need February to rear its head into my timeframe. Restarted on US 0's, working well so far... same gauge as first sock (mainly) but feels tougher. Oh well.

Aside from a way simple single stranded mitten for the babe (started when he hugged me and made me yelp with icicle fingers!)...

Koigu leftovers, corrugated ribbing and simple "stripe" in stranded knitting (*k1 in MC, k1 in CC*)... I was surprised to see the effects of yarn dominance when carrying CC under MC, knitting with 2 colors in my right hand. It almost looks ribbed, as much as CC stands out.

...that's it! :) Have a great holiday all!

ps... btw, if you're looking to blow that holiday wad, is having a 20-40% off sale their entire store starting 12/24. Also, is participating in the $10 off $30 and $20 off $50 google checkout promotion, a quick and dirty way to get knitting books already cheaper than amazon even cheaper to you. (Or anything else, I already bought a new cf card for the camera...)

Monday, December 18, 2006

what day already?

Some of yall are furiously working on holiday projects... I think since I started so early, and I've faced reality that nothing is going to be done by the target date, I would hold off and do a little work on projects that have been now officially branded with that seal of shame, UFO.

Red Herring Socks, started October 21!
Knit Picks Gloss in Pumpkin & Dusk
US 1.5 (2.5mm) magic loop, Holz & Stein

When I pick up a project after a while, it almost feels like cheating because so much has been done on it already. I loved these when I started them, but they kinda fell to the wayside for holiday knitting. I'm still planning on mirroring them-- a blue foot and an orange foot, and if my bad-at-math calculations are correct, the mirrored pair will take only 2 hanks of Gloss. I bought 4, so maybe some endpaper mitts with the leftovers? (I *am* going to knit those Anemoi mittens in some stashed koigu & solid Louet Gems Pearl, sometime.)

Starsky Sweater, started March 16, 2006!
Knit Picks Sierra in Cranberry
US 10 (6mm) 60" circular (wtf was I thinking?!), Addi

The left front actually worked up much more quickly than I thought, especially as I've been cabling without a cable needle and I've actually learned how to read a cable chart recently. Embarrassing maybe but its a huge step for me. I can't look at lace or cable charts and see patterns, or what they are going to look like knit up... something misfires in my brain. The tinier foundation is true as well, I couldn't look at cable directions and understand, without referring to the chart instructions, what each meant. When I knit Jenna's Celtic Cap pattern though, something clicked-- don't know if it was her choice in symbols or me hunkering down and really trying to understand them, but it worked and now that I don't have to keep referring back to charts or my color coding, its much faster and more rewarding. Another that will be finished sometime.

Of course I started something new, though.

Noni Bags, Prism pattern (Fall 2006 collection)
Patons Classic Merino wool in Petal Pink & Black held double
US 13 (9mm) 29" circular, Susan Bates
Started: December 17, 2006

This actually is a holiday gift, but I know it won't be done in time & I've embraced that :) This is for my auntie who told me I have too much time on my hands (after seeing grandma's lizard ridge afghan)... I was going to make her Tamarah, but really the pattern-- I just don't get it. (Full of embarrassing admissions today!) So I frogged it and ordered this pattern (Diva Knitting has free shipping on it!)... I think it will be much more "her" as she loves her handbags. (What would you do with 2 hanks of Tilli Tomas Pure & Simple spun silk in a decadent red? Something for myself I'm sure...)

Don't get me wrong, I love my auntie a lot, and I think she'll love this bag as well. (Especially if I can complete the finishing it deserves.) But I also get a blast knitting it, so I don't mind if its not as enjoyed/appreciated as if I were say to give it to another knitter or someone who "gets it." I love the process and love knowing what I put into it (effort and the idea behind it). I feel really good in this realization-- that knitting for others isn't just about the reception of the gift but what I got out of making it. Its also selfish in a way, I'm not a "bag" girl (I carry a thin wallet at most), but this way I get to knit a fun pattern I wouldn't normally make for myself.

One thing though (this is the bottom of the bag)...


The more I look at it, the more I wonder if I should switch the black & pink when I work the body/sides of the bag. The black is looking lost even though I intended for it to be a "black bag with pink"... dunno. The pics make me doubt that though-- it looks better in pics (the color contrast) than it does to my eye. Eh, I have the bottom to finish before worrying about it, so we'll see.

Also a note on the pattern... This is my first "hard copy" pattern I've ever bought, and its printed on professional looking, shiny cardstock. Impressed! There is errata to this pattern though, which I wish I'd found before going nuts over it. I also wish that the pattern had line numbers on the charts (the charts are small as well, I had to blow them up at my neighborhood Kinkos... the same one I made a stranger blush in a while ago.) Also, if you're buying this pattern sight unseen (as I did), you'll need a US 11 (8.0mm) circular for the solid bag, OR a US 13 (9.0mm) circular for the patterned bag. Everywhere I looked the needle requirements were listed at US 11 AND 13-- so I bought both but didn't need to. No matter, I'm already thinking about using the US 11 and knitting a smaller patterned bag with one strand of Patons Classic Merino wool (this is my new crack. seriously...) and the Noro Silk Garden Joan sent me to finish up my sister's capelet with-- a next-season gift for my sister, who did love her capelet, btw. (Too matchy?) I'll keep the bottom of the smaller bag a solid black though (do I need to double strand it? cross that bridge when i get there i guess)... I'm finding the wrong side/purling in stranded knitting really awkward esp. with double stranded worsted, though finished it doesn't look too bad to my eye. It also seems like a lot of work for something unseen... we'll see how I feel about it once this bad boy is felted.

Have a great holiday, and don't forget to knit for yourselves ;)

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dear Santa.

I can't remember the last time I asked Santa for anything. Could be that I have a terrible long term memory, but I think it was a dog's age since. I remember walking thru a mall with my mom forever ago... upon seeing a wall of lifelike puppets I *immediately* asked my mom for the monkey one. Normally I'd think I remembered this because I never asked for anything when I was little (the only other gift I remember asking for was The Animator, and I still have it!), but no... Mom said, well, maybe SANTA will bring it for you. I remember her doubling back (leaving me in the store alone? told you my memory's awful) and coming with a bag she didn't have before. She threw it in the trunk and we went on out merry way home-- she didn't unlock the trunk when we got there. I "stole" her keys later on that nite and opened the trunk... found the monkey. I must have been there a while cos mom came out and found me with the trunk popped and me talking to the monkey.

But hey, tis the season and I'm never too old (lies!)...

Dear Santa, I'd love to learn how to knit a hat. (Related: And take pictures of my own head.)

Center Square, Knitty Winter 2006
Patons Classic Merino wool, Black & Natural Mix (doubled)
US 10.5 circular, 16" Susan Bates
Started & Finished: December 10, 2006

Or maybe I should amend that request... Dear Santa, I'd love to not have such a ginormous head. See, the pattern unstretched is 15.5" and well... that hat would need about oh, 50% (!!) negative ease to fit my melon. I have this thing though, something about impulse control and a false image of how large my head is-- so I found my 16" 10.5 circular and eked out 3.5 sts/inch (stranded and stst, dude!), added a pattern repeat (72 st co) so unstretched the hat would be about 20.5", absorbed a few hours of Man vs Wild (goodness, rescue me!) and Iron Chef and had a hat at the end. A hat... yeah. I dunno, I think its the colors; the reason the pattern sample pops so much are the great colors (and regular sized head!) Anyhow, the kid likes it and I have scads of the yarn left over... on sale this week @ Michaels for 3.99, if you're wondering.

Speaking of sales, Santa... not that I've forgotten world peace or anything, but what I really want and no one will buy me is 3 bags of Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk from little knits for Amelia's stunning new coat. Of course in red! You know me, I try and make up for my lack of red in my life via yarn. Odd but true. I think I could rock an alpaca silk coat like Mrs Claus... or rock it naked like mis'tress claus. Whatever. Please?

Oh, um. Yeah. I *know* I just bought some grey Alpaca Silk DK for Celtic Icon from Inspired Cable Knits...

(I swapped for this book just so I could have this pattern!)

and I know I haven't finished Starsky...

(back done, left front in the works lately)

but c'mon. Please? :) (See why no one will buy me more yarn?)

Well, it could be this.


My former sock yarn bin... in all its cracked and ducttaped glory. (Yes, this bin used to hold *all* of the stash. Heaven help me, but I'm already dreaming of the Stitches Market in February.) The yarn was feeling a little... unloved here, so its been moved to some new digs...


(for insaknitty... lingo boxes from IKEA)


Where it doesn'

Please tell me this isn't the sign I need to go stash thinning :)

And on the topic of yarn giveaways, Santa... be sure to check out Rachel's pay it forward giveaway as well as Kristen's vintage knits contest... you know she made my legs famous with her Vintage Knits article in the recent Knitty, eh? :)

Friday, December 08, 2006

honey, what the...

Early winter holiday party with my dad's family was great. Sherwood's neck was reknit on US 3's over 10 rows and taken in 8 sts at the sides of the neck...


(firelight photos)

and grandma was gifted her afghan (no pics), which she loved. These weren't the best part of the trip though, surprisingly. My dad, whom my son and I haven't seen in years, got to spend a good deal of time chasing my kid around... and kept calling him "honey." See, recently my son started calling me "honey" (and anyone he was asking a favor of), and I remarked that I had no idea where he had picked that word up from-- I'd never called him honey. I guess I did though... my mom never called me honey, nor did anyone else I could think of. I think I picked it up from my dad, a million years ago. When I realized this, I had to excuse myself to another room to not cry in front of them... for too many years unseen, so much I didn't know.

I didn't knit at all during my trip and little since returning. Partly it was the almost lukewarm reception my gifts received taking the wind/manic 25th deadline from my sails-- I'm not freaking out about finishing my aunt and uncle's gifts before the 25th after my aunt took a look at the afghan and remarked, "you've got too much time on your hands!" :) I'm also switching up what I was going to make her (not in a spiteful way... I was trying to knit Tamarah, but my goodness I'm not smart enough to understand the pattern so I've put it away for now and picked something else-- more on that later.) Since my uncle's gift will ship at the same time, I'm not stressed... even less by the fact my sister said she didn't want/wear socks (so of course I promptly swapped the yarn for A Gathering of Lace... I feel the pull, you enablers.) More time for other things... I actually tried to finish up my walkaround socks for a holiday gift but, well. Thousand words, take two--



Interlacements Tiny Toes yarn in Chairman of the Board

The second is a good inch wider than the first, with the same needles and CO #. I was going to chalk this up to a change in gauge even though "I've not had this happen before!" (said my ex ;))... but there was something wonky about the 2nd skein of yarn I was going to write about when done (didn't think it would make this much of a difference!)

tt2 tt1

The two plies of yarn, instead of being twisted around each other-- had one ply twisted around the other, making for a very "bumpy" hand. I know that 2 ply yarns are inherently "flat" as well, but this yarn was actually flat by my eye, as if it has been pressed down somehow. I didn't want to admit the problem, even when I noticed the striping/color was dramatically different at first... but the gauge changed from 8 sts/inch to 7 sts/inch on US 1 (2.25mm)! Ergh. So... yeah. I usually lose/gain .5 sts/inch per .25mm needle change at sock weight gauge-- I really don't want to knit these on US 00's.

With my head in the sand personality, I started my new design project instead of dealing with it.


Exciting! :) I hate that, seeing things I can't see. But I have a reason to share... This is my 1st time in a long time knitting on 2 circular needles-- and I realized how much I hate the caston part. I do prefer using 2 circs to magic loop, learned that way so I guess that's why. I always use this method, plus the crossover join, meaning its pretty fiddly and takes too much time to just cast on. So this time, I went with a different way, inspired by magic looping. (Take a look at this link if this is your first time with ML, I'm just showing basic basics.)

Cast on your total # of sts on one needle.

Count off half of the sts, and pinch/pull the cord thru as you do for magic loop.

Push stitches towards the end of the needles, and use a crossover join to join into a circle for knitting in the round. (Remember this is still just on one circular needle).

Using your 2nd circular needle, begin knitting the first set of stitches as you would for knitting on two circulars. When you reach the end, you will have 2 circular needles across the front and back of one circular surface. Begin knitting on 2 circs as you would normally.

Forgive me for not showing the rest of the project? No? Oh well... okay.


How about now?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

save me.

130am, waking up to work on sherwood's neck (decided to reknit it on smaller needles... thanks, i didn't even think of that!)... find this on the couch. and the walls.

sanford, "mr. sketch" scented watercolor marker. blueberry.


i think i'm just going to go back to bed.

Friday, December 01, 2006

sherwood sweater... finished?

my sister, going thru my mom's photo albums and splitting up pics of herself and me for us to have, ended up with a larger pile of pictures of me (older sister) than she did of herself... asked my mom, "what, did you run out of film?"

maybe mom just got exasperated trying to capture toddlers on camera :)

this is actually going somewhere, i'd love yall's advice. i "finished" sherwood and popped it on the hambot to make sure it looked okay, but... well. thousand words, eh?

sherwood sweater, knitty fall 2006
size 2, with extended body length and arms
started: october 1, 2006
finished: december 1, 2006 (?) december 2, 2006
brown sheep cotton fleece, wild orange colorway-- 3 skeins
us 5 (3.75mm) 16", 24" addis and double pointed needles



yeah. the neck looks wrong, right? like a boatneck? i dunno, the more he wears it the more it grows on me, but... but.

more non-modelled (meaning not so blurry) pics, all unblocked...


front, up close

back, up close

now, i did continue in pattern up the front neck instead of just ribbing as the pattern suggests (for only 4 rounds, then ribbed plain for 2), and also continued the rib pattern in the back. i preferred the flow of that look than adding ribs that didn't perfectly match up. i did work a total of 6 rounds only for the neck as written for the size, but still... it doesn't look quite right to my eye. opinions? (thanks in advance, too... you guys always have great ideas about the gamut.)

i'm thinking my options are

1) leave it be. your kid has your huge head and needs wide neck openings anyways.
2) undo the bindoff and add a few more rows in pattern.
3) undo the bindoff and add a few more rows in pattern, while decreasing along the sides of the neck to cut down on the size of the opening.

i don't think it would look okay without a tshirt underneath, plus the kid will fanagle someone into taking it off sometime, i'm sure and he'd just be too cold without that layer to strip down to. he also does have a huge head, so the boatneck is a good thing in that sense. partly i don't want to do anything with it, but i have the time...

the pattern pics look like the original may have a boatneck-y opening for the head as well, that i've knit this correctly but to my eye looks weird done. i'm just worried that as i plan to pair this with a red tshirt underneath that it will look like its falling off his shoulders..? i dunno. maybe its just pre-family jitters. whatever i decide, i'll try and score better pics this weekend after its blocked and its fate decided.

anyhow, besides that, i love it. and my kid hates it, begged me to take it off... it may never see the light of day, anyway. ergh.

previous posts on sherwood sweater
october 2, 2006
october 5, 2006
november 27, 2006
edit: reknit neck here, december 8, 2006

*what's holding baby boy's attention? a homemade oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and iron chef. he is my son... i built this computer a few years ago just so i could install a video card with a tv tuner and remote to be able to record iron chef episodes from cable (and play 80's emulations with my wireless keyboard and mouse on the big screen tv)-- before the days of tivo and dvrs. it almost feels like me telling my kid i can remember phone calls being a dime the other day :) he may not even know what payphones are by the time he wants to make his own super calls.

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