Saturday, December 30, 2006

Sherbet Baby Blanket

While Janelle was here, we went to Hill Country Weavers. I'd been wanting to make a baby blanket for some friends who are expecting in February. The pattern I picked out called for some pastel-ish blue, green and yellow yarn, but we decided that these bright sherbet-y colors would be cooler. As Janelle said, "Why knit a baby blanket for a girl when you can knit one for a girrrl?" Amen.

The pattern also uses an acrylic/wool blend. I've saddled a few parents with lovely wool blankets that are of dubious usability. Who wants to go to all the trouble of hand washing something every time it gets spit up, pooped, or peed on? So this time I'm going for practicability. The pattern called for each square to be 6". But I didn't want to buy new needles, so mine are 8" square. It doesn't exactly look that way in the picture since some of them curl a bit on the edges.

The blanket calls for 30 squares knit in 6 patterns arranged in a 5x6 grid with an added border. Three of the patterns are knit 6 times and three are knit 4 times. The finished project should be something like 42" by 50". That's a lot of knitting, but each of the patterns is pretty easy, and I'm hoping I can get a lot done before I have to head back to work.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Don't Drink the Kool-Aid®

Seriously. Have you ever really looked at that stuff? Use it for something way more useful -- like dyeing sock yarn!

Janelle and I had planned to do this when we were up visiting this summer, but never
got around to it. As a Christmas gift, she brought me some Kool-Aid®, some undyed sock yarn from Knitpicks, and accoutrements for the whole process. What a treat! We did all this yesterday. That's Janelle's finished hank on the left, and mine on the right. Let's just say that, in many ways, I'm more tightly wound than Janelle.

I decided to do mine as a self-striping yarn, while Janelle went for the hand-painted look. The process is pretty simple. Soak yarn in warm water, mix Kool-Aid® in a container, put yarn in containers, heat for a while, remove, dry. Okay -- that's pretty simplistic. I won't go into details -- there are plenty of sites that do that. Your results may vary.

You can do it either on the stovetop, as I did, or you can opt for the yarn casserole, which Janelle used. She used a baster to dribble the dye on her yarn in interesting patterns. It was amazing to see that after half an hour of baking, all the dye had been soaked up by the yarn. From experience, we can recommend wearing gloves while doing this.

Then it's all over but the drying and the winding. We left the yarn draped over lawn chairs in the backyard. Mine dried by that evening, since it was spread out into a thinner round. Janelle's, still in the original hank, took overnight to dry.

Oh -- and the final step -- naming your new "colorway." Thinking that I will probably only ever wear socks made from this yarn on the 4th of July, and fondly remembering the ice cream truck that used to drive by my grandma's house in San Antonio when I was a kid, I name this yarn...


If you don't know what I'm talking about, go to this image from the manufacturer.

Thanks, Janelle. I had a lot of fun doing this. I'll post when I dye my second hank, and when I knit something from this.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Gifts

My family loves their knitter. I think I got some really strong hints as to what people might expect for Christmas next year! The following link to entries at LibraryThing.

All this and a gift certificate to KnitPicks. I must have been good this year.

Thanks, everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cedar Fever

The title of this post? It's an Austin thing -- and I'm getting it in more ways than one.

This is a sock I started yesterday. It's more Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn, this time in the colorway Cedar -- a birthday gift from my friends Sharon & Janelle. They're going to be in town in a few days, and I wanted to get started with this. I'm using the slipped stitch rib from the six-stitch pattern chapter in Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. I really like this ribbing -- very tight. I've never been completely happy with how my hand-knit socks stay up. I think these will.

Keep an eye on upcoming posts. They'll be to dye for.

Friday, December 22, 2006


"She's nice to see and she's soft to touch." Okay -- enough with the musical theater references.

I knitted this because a) I had the extra yarn from the first cozy and b) I wanted Janelle to experience the cutting of the steeks. Some people get their thrills from the running of the bulls. Knitters get theirs from the cutting of the steeks.

If Charlie Brown had a tea cozy, it would look like this.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

La Cozy Nostra

A most pleasant combination – a drizzly day, apple scones from Central Market, clotted cream*, Grandma Self's china from Germany, and the world's coziest pot of Lady Grey tea. Yum.

*And the subsequent clotted arteries.


That was fast! It's amazing how much knitting you can get done when you don't have to do things like go to work.

So I got the knitting done last night and got cracking on crocheting and cutting the steeks today. Sorry Janelle -- I couldn't wait! But, I do have enough yarn to knit another one. Maybe I could have it done by the time you get here?

I did a checkerboard steek rather than straight vertical lines. I thought it would be easier to keep my place while crocheting, and I think it worked. I used Eunny Jang's excellent instructions on how to make a crocheted steek.

After cutting, a few little strands are floating around from the edge stitches. I don't feel like I got that part quite right. I also think that I might have made one of the steeks too long. I wove the ends from the crochet yarn in, hoping that would be enough for pinning everything down. I'm still not sure. I know that steeks are really designed as a place where stitches are picked up. I don't think they're supposed to just flap there.

The cozy is blocking over the teapot right now. We'll see how it looks after that. I'll post a picture (maybe later today?) to show progress. Mmm. Tea. I think I need to run over to Central Market and get some of their apple scones!

Monday, December 18, 2006


My inner old lady won out.

I have no idea if this is going to work. I'm going to use the "Two for Tea" pattern on page 251 of Debbie Stoller's Stitch 'N' Bitch Nation. It calls for knitting two pieces flat and sewing them together. But I wanted to practice fair isle a little, so I'm knitting this one in the round. But how to knit this in the round and still carry the pattern across the necessary holes for the handle and spout? Steeks.

I'm in way over my head on this one. But I'm intrigued by steeks, and why not cut my teeth (and yarn!) on something small like this rather than wait until I'm working on some fancy-ass sweater?

Clicking on the picture will take you to the Flickr site where you can find details about the materials being used. Wish me luck.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Baltic Sea Socks Done!

I finished the Baltic Sea Socks that I've been knitting off and on for the last few months. Hooray! I finished them while my nephew and niece were over helping us celebrate Jeff's birthday today.

They both helped a little with the Elizabeth Zimmerman stretchy bind-off, and showed interested in how this whole knitting thing works. My sister even said she wanted me to show her how to knit so that she could make herself scarves. Soon my plans for world knitting domination will be complete. Mwa-ha-ha!

I'm not sure what to tackle next. I've got some lovely Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in "Cedar" that my friends Sharon & Janelle gave me for my birthday. I also have some Opal zebra-stripe yarn that I want to use to make my niece some socks -- dang, I forgot to measure her feet while she was here. My inner little old lady is interested in exploring the world of tea cozies. And I have my eye on a couple of patterns for sweaters for myself. Top priority will have to be a few Christmas gifts that I've yet to finish up. I'll post about them once they've been given.

In other news, it seems that a month after setting up my Flickr account, my pictures are now actually searchable. My account was in some weird status -- apparently they thought I was trying to use my account to sell stuff. What? All seems well now.

Is there a corollary to the "if you water the lawn it will rain" law? Something along the lines of "if you knit stuff in wool it will get hot outside?" It's in the 80s today. Yuck.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Mini Mittens

I totally stole this idea from my friend Janelle. I had some leftover sock yarn from the first Baltic Sea Sock, and just started noodling around with it.

Otherwise, I haven't done much knitting this week. The chorus we sing in has a big concert this weekend, so most of our evenings have been taken up with extra rehearsals.

I found the pattern online here . Instead of size 4 DPNs, I used size 1 circulars, since they were available -- and I wanted these to be tiny.

I finished this pair on Tuesday, but haven't been home during daylight hours in order to take a non-flash picture until today. For scale, one of these just fits over my index finger. Just think of the number of mini mittens I could have for the tree next year if I just made a pair of these after every pair of socks I knit...

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bride of Baltic Sea Sock

I cast on for the second sock yesterday. I found myself getting a little glum having finished the sweater -- post-project blues, I suppose! So I got right to this. I did the bulk of the work on the first sock while the in-laws were here during Thanksgiving.

The finished sock looks a little "thick" to me. Probably got stretched out when I tried it on.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Irish Moss Finished!

At long last, after three months and a few days, it's finished! And just in time for the chilly weather. I finished the collar last night and wove in all the ends this morning. My goal was to get this done for Jeff by his birthday and I got it done two weeks early!

Most importantly, Jeff likes it. I was worried he would think it was too scratchy. Over a t-shirt, it is, but over a regular shirt, it works just fine. And, if I do say so, I think he looks quite handsome in it! See the Irish Moss Sweater link on the right for more pictures at Flickr.

Looking back, this is one of those projects that I got into delusionally. I had no idea what I was in for. I started with gauge problems that had to be undone -- I actually knit this sweater 1.5 times! I think I had various copies of Aran Knitting checked out from the public library almost constantly since late August.

But I learned as I went along. I learned to read the pattern rather than memorize it, and I learned to cable without a cable needle. If I was still addicted to the needle, I wouldn't have finished this for another six months. I also came to love the simple moss stitch panels on the outsides of all the pieces. I think I'd like a sweater of just moss stitch some day.

Let me know what you think! Meanwhile, I have a second sock to cast on for...