duckie one is go!

11 07 2011

Five years ago, in a galaxy & lifestyle far far away, I never would’ve talked about knitting, let alone making a sock. And now:

first knit sock!

My first sock! Sock one (of two) is go! Woot!

It’s such a lovely pattern, very easy to follow – even the dreaded gusset/heel section. I highly recommend the pattern for first-timers. Thank you, Samantha, for sharing this as a free pattern: Love it!

My mods
1.5″ for top ribbing
15 repeats for leg
4 rounds st st before beginning toe decreases

(29 pattern repeats total: 15 in leg, 4 in gusset/heel section, 11 in foot)

Unblocked, this reaches to mid-calf on me. The 2 skeins of chickadee/Quince & Co. gave me a lot of extra yardage to play with – 181 yards (sport weight) per sock – which is great since I prefer longer socks. I still have quite a bit of yarn leftover – enough to try making some adorable newborn Duckies (like this one on Ravelry but in sport weight). If doing this pattern again with this yarn, I would use the yardage to do 20 repeats for the leg.

Mr. P had patiently supportive things to say when I presented the sock to him (planting it on his chest as he lay on the sofa watching sports), including:
Hello? That’s very pretty.
…I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you wanted me to talk about the sock.
It looks very warm. And this lace part is nice.
Great work, honey.

And the best part? I wandered into another room, sighed and muttered about how sad it was for this pretty sock to be afflicted by my wide, paddle-shaped feet. Mr. P harumphed from the sofa and came over to tell me, “I like your feet. And who cares if they’re wide? That helps you swim faster.”

I love him partly because he’s so good.

Pattern: Duckies by Samantha Hayes (free pattern)
Yarn: Quince & Co. chickadee (dogwood)
For more details, see my Ravelry project page.


long sunset

9 07 2011

Many months and stitches in the making, I now have a lurvely pair of long fingerless mitts for winter.

ribbed hand warmers - sleeves up

As you may remember from January, I discovered some fabulous (and expensive, ahem) mitts I via Polyvore and then bought some delicious yarn to make my own.

I call them my Long Sunsets because A) they are long-ish gloves, and B) the scrumptious color – and many thanks to Lori of Thrums for introducing me to the color-saturated, poetically-named, tactile goodness that is Madelinetosh yarns.

ribbed hand warmers - closeup

Although I am an awfully slow knitter, it did not actually take 4 months to make these mitts. This was a side project that I picked up a couple times a month, worked an inch or two, and then set aside again. Altogether, it was actually about 12 days of knitting stretched over 4 months – and I’m especially slow working on DPNs.

And the almost-as-awesome thing, besides the actual mitts? DPNs no longer scare and torment me. We’re cool. We hang out and talk smack about magic loop knitting. I’ve actually moved on to making socks. (!?!) Will wonders never cease?

If you also pine for a pair of long fingerless mitts of your very own, I highly recommend both the pattern and the yarn. The pattern (see link below) is simple and well-written, also a generous freebie from the talented team behind Purl Soho. The yarn is a little pricier than is usual for my yarn stash, but I still have about a third of a skein left – and besides, the yarn is worth it. Yummm…

ribbed hand warmers - under sleeves

Craft: knitting
Pattern: Ribbed Hand Warmers from Purl Soho (free pattern)
Yarn: madelinetosh tosh merino light (Afternoon)
For more details, see my Ravelry project page

never-never land – and socks

24 06 2011

Exciting and lovely: I am starting my first sock.

duckies - wip1

Tomorrow we’ll review our adventures from the past couple weeks – eek!! sorry – but first I will gush a little about my Newest Thing. Knitting socks. As I’ve written and bemoaned often, DPNs are not my friend (that’s ‘double-pointed needles’ for any non-knitting readers). Since you have to use DPNs to knit socks, ergo I’d never make socks. And now I eat my adamant words. Again.

I know you’re laughing at me, girls. I wave my tiny needles at you. And my bursting-out-of-containers yarn stash. And the binders stuffed with knitting patterns that I recently reorganized in a fit of craft geekery/insomnia the other night.

So I am starting to make my first sock. It’s fast & exciting, and I may fall very hard for sock knitting. I found a lovely pattern by Samantha Hayes that calls for a sport weight yarn, which knits up speedily due to the larger stitch size – a bonus since I recently finished an Endless Project involving some gorgeous yet takes-forever-to-make-progress fingering weight yarn. Many of the other project reviews on Ravelry mentioned how fast and easy this pattern is, and so far I completely agree. Even with additional length added to the top ribbing & more lace repeats, I finished the leg section in just a day. Zoom! Love that.

duckies - wip2

We’ll see how I feel later today after working through turning the heel and making gussets. Gussets on anything are like craft kryptonite for me. Or if this were a romance novel, gussets would be the Villain or Obstacle that makes Happily For Now/Ever After seem completely unattainable.

And yes: I just admitted to reading romance novels. It’s been another Newest Thing this year – and a soothing fix while so many other dreams & plans have been turned bass ackwards and thrown out the window.

We’ll see how things develop. More updates tomorrow.

shenanigans 2011

6 05 2011

Off for the weekend, with plenty of happy college-reunion silliness to commence. And for my crafty yarn lovers out there: see you at Maryland Sheep & Wool. WOOT!!

Not that I need more yarn. AT ALL. But it’s delightful to look and contemplate. Also, I am a huge sucker for merino wool, baby alpacas, Jacob sheep, little cashmere goats, and crazy fluffy rabbits. Last year I found a great vendor who makes hand carved brooms – he has a big truckload of broomstraw parked next to his tent. I’m hoping to get a mini-broom for Bebe, who has enthusiastically taken on sweeping as ‘his’ household chore.

If you’re there on Saturday around lunchtine, we’ll be the group of girls – possibly in silly hats hastily decorated with tons of silk flowers and fake birds – having a picnic in the grass near the music pavillion on giant blue Neat Sheets surrounded by bags of yarn.

Cherrs! and have a lovely weekend.

notes from a road trip

5 05 2011

Recently returned from a lovely little vacation to visit our families in Louisiana. Made it south and back again, squeezing right between crazy weather systems both ways.

Driving down, I ooh’d and aah’d over the passing blossoms of mid-spring. Dogwood trees, whose blossoms seem to hover at the edge of each branch like a cloud of upturned hands, in the shaded undercanopies of the Shenandoah Valley, Blue Ridge Highlands, and the Appalachian mountains. Later the coming-home happiness of seeing towering magnolias trees with their huge, fat blossoms beginning to open up as we passed through through southern Alabama, Mississippi, and south eastern Louisiana.

Driving back, we saw some of the devastation caused by tornadoes in Alabama, Tennessee, and Virginia. It’s a terrible situation for hundreds of families, cities, and towns. Huge chunks of forest uprooted and flung around; immense traffic signs and billboards snapped and toppled; metal cargo shipping containers twisted like a piece of tinfoil and flung across a valley; farm silos bent and cracked open; homes and businesses left in splinters. And really, our route bypassed most of the damage. That was just the edge of the disaster zones. Our hearts go out to those communities.

It has certainly been a year to support the Red Cross, whose resources must be experiencing significant strain with all of the crises across the country. Praying hard for calmer times and continued support for rebuilding in the second half of the year.

On another note, all of those traveling hours meant plenty of stitches done.

road trip crochet

road trip knitting

Another giant rose brooch, slow progress on my lurvely wristwarmers (PurlBee link), and experimenting with a summery linen camisole pattern from the Brave New Knits book (Ravelry/Amazon links respectively).

rows of rocking chairs

Bebe was also a big fan of the wide array of rocking chairs he was able to try out while we stopped for meals along the way. We actually came home with a small one one crammed into the back seat – a gift from his grandfather, not something from the restaurant chain – and he has been completely delighted with that new piece of wee furniture. “Oh!” he says with high excitement, “Look at my rocking chair!”

coloring easter eggs

Best of all, we had a wonderful time visiting family, including a big pack of cousins who traveled in from all over for the Easter holiday. Lots of swimming, manic egg hunting, a mess of melted chocolates, and a huge and happily crowded crawfish boil (including the care and feeding of some young proselytizers whom my mother had met earlier in the week – and then invited over because she was concerned they’d be alone & far from home for the holiday).

Other advantures? We got to catch up with several old & very dear friends. Bebe had his first canoe ride. I introduced my young nephew to the touchable, lovely wonders of yarn at a charming and wonderfully well-stocked LYS (McKneedles in Lacombe, LA). We ate too much of a lot of delicious food. And time, time, time with family.

The only cloud in our family sky: my almost-recovered sprained ankle immediately decided to flare up into random, hobbling pain, so most of my Easter day festivities and the following week was spent laid up with a brace on and lots of books to read. Not so bad, but certainly not as active as I’d planned. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have gone from 2 days of car-squashed stillness to immediate hours of bouncing, dancing, and twirling with the family babies and toddlers. But seriously, how could I resist all of that adorable cuddliness? Impossible!

Home again, we are rested and ready for the wonders and adventures of spring and summer.

elf clobber complete!

15 04 2011

This tiny little project was four months in the making:

elf clobber - how they work

I started out thinking they’d be a great little ‘extra’ to tuck into one of my family’s Christmas presents. Winters in Louisiana are relatively mild, so these variations on fingerless gloves seemed both functional and pretty. And sure enough, the bottom half were done in an hour.

elf clobber - wip

The project came to a stuttering halt four hours later, then again the following day, and the next week. I tried to learn the crochet stitches from various books and online videos, but my alternately wobbly-loose and strangling-tight gauge, as well as fumbling entanglements with the dreaded puff stitch, meant I had to repeatedly rip out the fancy cuff section. No Fun. Frequent cursing and cross-room flinging of crochet hook. Finally, I just put everything away, thinking I really needed to sit down and learn the stitches with someone who actually crochets. A whole season passed, and this languished in my work pile for months

Enter my Awesome Friend/Crochet Goddess, stage north. Voila! In an afternoon, the crochet bits were taught and the pretty cuffs are nearly finished.

elf clobber wip - crochet trim

Another couple hours with some fancy lace weight and the dreaded DPNs, and they really are done. And soooo lovely!

elf clobber - finished

They’re pretty and the Aloft yarn makes them feel deliciously soft. I’m very tempted to keep them. Which means another set for me is surely in my crafting schedule. Somewhere. Squeezed in… So this pair goes into my early homemade-for-the-holiday box – or in this case, my ‘so-late-it’s-now-for-next-year’ holiday box. Embarrassing, but pretty and true.

Craft: knitting & crochet
Pattern: elf clobber by schnuddel Kerstin (free pattern) – ravelry pattern page
Yarn: bernat satin solid (dark brown) & knit picks aloft (mongoose)
For more details, see my ravelry

after snow, gardens

30 03 2011

Just when we thought it was safe to slide back into sandals, short sleeves, and short pants, Wintry Cold and Random Snow returneth over the weekend. It inspired an intense spate of hat knitting, with some gorgeous yarn that I didn’t think would be used until next winter. Behold, my Every Snow Cloud has a Rainbow Lining hat:

rainbow hat

Perfect for frolicking in the snow beneath flowering trees. Bit of trouble with the dye consistency in the skein – lovely dark rainbow seen in brim/bottom half vs. unfortunate bright Fruit Loops rainbow seen in top half – but I still love this hat. LOVE.

Craft: knitting
Pattern: The Amanda Hat by Gina House (free pattern)
Yarn: Cascade Yarns Lana Bambu (01 – see my cautionary note on the Rav project page)
For more details, see my Ravelry.

Fortunately, the snow quickly melted away – pretty much gone by the following evening, which made yesterday’s trip to the Lewis Ginter Botanic Gardens (Richmond, VA) appropriately green and blooming, albeit a wee bit shivery.

lewis ginter gardens mosaic

1. japanese garden, 2. cherry blossoms on the water, 3. bridge to childrens garden, 4. plum tree, 5. childrens garden – lakeshore, 6. tree bench

And small Bebe adventures that weren’t caught on camera? Just a few:

-tree-climbing with friends – Bebe mostly weaving around and under the low arching, gnarly branches while his older friends climbed higher;

-suprising Mama with some new vocab while seriously entrenched in a giant sandbox (where did he learn about sandcastles?);

-happily sweeping a series of mini houses with a Bebe-sized broom;

-loudly pining over friends’ crackers and chocolate cakes while adamantly rejecting his favorite foods (pbj sandwich and Kashi cereal bars);

-discovering a garden plot full of spinning, silvery pinwheels (staked out to protect flower bulbs from marauding squirrels).

Hope your week finds a few small adventures, too.

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