the stars that give you vertigo

A very simple post: socks! This is yarn that I dyed as a demo during one of my sock-dyeing classes...I believe it was years ago, when I was still in Minnesota. This yarn traveled around with me, and I just never quite got around to doing anything with it. I finally started these months and months ago, just before the great knitting block of 2011. These are simple socks, with the 1x1 ribbing continued down the foot for a better fit.

Though I never thought I'd get them done in time for fall...sometimes I surprise myself. Now I'm project-less, but have some new yarn that I'm pretty anxious to dig into. The cool weather certainly helps!


gonna tell them all just what i want

Walter was born to be a model, and to prove to the world and the interwebs that CATS LOVE SWEATERS.

Maybe love is a strong word...but he didn't hate it, and kindly allowed me to pose him. He's absolutely adorable and somewhat not bothered by the fact that he's wearing a sweater.

There's a reason a cat is in this sweater instead of a dog. Our sad tale begins innocently- the sweater began its life as an adorable garment intended for Emmylou the dog. However, I threw it in the wash one day on what I thought was the cold-cold cycle...but it was set on warm, and when I pulled the sweater out it had felted and shrunk. :( I'm pretty ashamed to admit that this is the truth...

Now that Walter is through with it, the sweater will be given to a little Jack Russell who's a more appropriate size to wear it. I can't believe I shrank this, especially since I really really really know better, but I guess this happens to everyone at some point. Besides, who doesn't love a cat in a sweater?! We'll call it his Halloween costume.


and you're just there to kick it

Last night, at about 11pm, I wove in the last end of my Caylix blanket. And then I cried with joy, invented a few new combinations of curses to hurl at it, and fell asleep with it wrapped cozily around me. That pretty much sums up making this afghan.

This was the first real crocheted thing I had ever attempted to make. Now I'm pretty good at it, but it still isn't as natural/addictive/soothing as knitting.

There's not a ton for me to say about this that isn't super technical. I think it's really pretty, but a little smaller than I had hoped...mine turned out to be about 40 x 49" at its widest points (my original gauge = accurate, hexagons are 4.5" across). It's also not super-warm because it's full of (intentional) holes. I guess this is a summer-y afghan?

Notes, changes, corrections (Ravelry project page, for comparison):

1. You actually need 98 hexagons. :( This was kind of a bummer for me to find out, since I had previously celebrated finishing all the &$%*# things. 24 each of hexagons A and B, and 25 each of hexagons C and D.

2. I decided that I didn't really like the star motif that was in the original pattern. (You can see a picture of it on the Ravelry page above, there isn't a detail picture in the published pattern book. :( ) Since I hadn't been able to anticipate this, I tried a few of them (chalking the oddness up to my crochet inexperience). I still hated them, so I opted to use the center section of the hexagon instead. To do this, follow the instructions for rounds 1 and 2 of the hexagons, using Barley/your substitution for Barley. After the first TR in the petal, slip a stitch on one side of the seam (on picots) between hexagons. Work the next two TRs, then slip a stitch on the other side of your seam. Repeat, and fasten off with a slip stitch. The purpose is twofold...it keeps the flower motif nice and flat, plus it reinforces the seam joining the picot edges. Each petal should attach on either side of each joined picot, a total of four times...which is a perfect fit!

2a. I did the same thing for the edge motif, you just won't join two of your TRs because there won't be anything to attach them to (yet).

3. Finally, I did two rounds of single crochet to edge the sucker. The one row looked a little feeble, and I wanted an extra reinforcement for the gap-filling. The second time around I worked three SCs in each picot point to preserve the wavy edginess.

3a. When you get to the space where your flowers are partially unattached, you're going to chain two, SC in the TR where you would normally slip a stitch, chain two, SC in the TR where you'd normally slip a stitch, chain 2, continue SC-ing until you get to another space. Repeat.

There! It's done. I will never make another one again, but if you want to I wish you all kinds of luck. Too many ends, too many pieces! It's really gorgeous though.

Finally, detail of my modified center motif. Enjoy your weekend, and happy summer!!


but you're such a fast walker

After a long hiatus and a significant change in season, Kniterary Club returns! (Even though it's just me, I'm still calling it a club. It makes me sound more legit, right?)

Above are my second pair of picot socks. The first pair were not only adorable but useful- on cold winter nights, I wore them to bed! I had about half a skein of yarn leftover from a multifiber scarf (post forthcoming), and the yarn was too nice to leave languishing in my stash. Picot socks! What a great solution! I finished the first one on a roadtrip a few weeks ago, but then I moved and sort of forgot that I could knit and remembered how to pack instead. It happens. Now I'm happily the crazy person on the bus who furiously knits socks on her way to work. (It's totally worth the loss of face to have hand-knitted socks.)

Next up, my father's birthday present! I just re-read my Ravelry comments, and I had been so self-congratulating when I started these socks in December. I had been knitting birthday presents 6 months in advance, and before Christmas to boot! I had been SUCH A GOOD PLANNER! Well, I finished one sock and forgot about the pair until a week before his birthday. Frantic knitting (see above comment about buses) ensued.

The colors really are perfect- go blue!- but I can only imagine the trouble ArtYarns went to to produce this yarn. You can see the single green stitch in between blue and gold sections...I should try reproducing the colorway at home sometime just to see how spectacularly I fail.

The final sock pair I present is the infamous (to me and my knitting cohorts) Flying Circus socks. These were the magic wound-on-a-flying-saucer-we-promise-they'll-match socks. I can agree that they match, at least for the most part. The tie-dye pattern broke down in the foot each time...kind of disappointing, but it was a fun experiment. Silliness.

The best part about the spring/summer? Succulents. Best part about a new house? Enough sun for them to grow. Happy weekend, everyone!


through the frostbitten dawn

I had a little bit of Rowan Big Wool to use up, and since I really wanted to be economical and use every last bit...I set myself a challenge. Plus I never wear hats, and I needed one for a skiing trip. This hat was actually started twice. The first time I used needles that were too small, so I had no hope of getting a hat out of the little bit of yarn I had left. The second time, I used size 11 double point needles and tried to keep the knitting really loose. It ended up being perfect! I had just enough yarn leftover to improvise a pom pom....with a cracker box as my form.

Notice the perfection in this picture: silly improvised tools, blueberry beer, and a game of Risk. (I lost the game, but at least I'm better at knitting than I am at world domination.)

And finally, my mittens!!! I knit these first, since I needed them more urgently. I think I knit these on size 8 needles so they'd be really dense and warm...which they are, the only problem being when you wash them. It seriously took them 3 days to dry out all the way. :(

Off for one last weekend of cross country skiing before (hopefully) spring arrives. And of course, I'll be wearing my fancy new striped mittens and hat!!


anything to make you smile

Now that it won't spoil any surprises, I can blog about Christmas presents! This scarf, above, and mittens, below, were gifts for my mother. Like me, she's often cold...so mittens are a must when it's chilly outside, and more often than not, scarves serve as indoor AND outdoor wear.

It all started with a trip to Virginia in October. I knew Mom needed new mittens (the thumb on the old ones was wearing thin), and I was visiting my fabulous knitting teacher in Charlottesville...we couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit The Needle Lady yarn shop! I promptly bought extravagant yarn for mittens: a skein of Classic Elite Alpaca Sox, a skein of Be Sweet Boucle Mohair, and a skein of Stacy Charles Luna (sparkly mohair). The three strands together look like the mitten above! They are incredibly soft and warm, and the colors combined perfectly into a nice, soft purple with just a hint of sparkle.

I had a whole bunch of yarn left over, so I tried to brainstorm a creative way to use it up (to avoid adding to my frighteningly large- and multiplying- stash). I had made myself a scarf similar to this over the summer, and because it was so light and warm (mohair and alpaca = win) I decided it would be the best use of the remaining mitten yarn.

The scarf turned out really well, too. Because I alternated rows of different yarns, the color blending didn't work out exactly the same as the mittens...but I think that's a good thing. They match, without being exactly the same. Hopefully Mom liked them! We certainly need things like this to keep us warm over the last few weeks of winter. I just lost my mittens, so I have to knit a new pair. :(


when you wake in the morning you'll be satisfied


That's how many crochet octagon flowers there are in that pile. It's actually a disappointingly small pile, considering how long it took to make 96 of them...and how big that number seemed in my head. Oh well.

Here's the beginning of assembly, when the pile is arranged into neat, orderly rows. There are four different color schemes (B, D, C, A above, from L to R), and the schematic to assemble the whole thing is a bit daunting. You have to sew them all together, then fill in the open spaces with a new crochet pattern (I dread this a bit, considering how long it took me to get the octagons right), and finally you finish the whole thing off with a nice crochet edging. This is ridiculous.

I'm still hoping the final result is as amazing as I've built it up to be in my mind...