Thursday, February 26, 2009

FOs with pictures...

Okay, so TECHNICALLY these aren't, you know, knitting, but they are things that I did make, so why not share them?

We're at that point where the winter stuff is pretty much all gone from the stores, but we've got at least another month, probably more like 6 weeks, of hat weather. Somehow all of my older son's hats have disappeared. I think I might have left one in VT, I'm not sure. So, sure, I could go buy him yet another hat, but instead I decided to make them! I didn't have a pattern, I pretty much just winged it, and there's definitely changes I would make. So, we're at the stage where it's hard to get a good picture of the boys, but here they are.

Both hats were done the same way, and both have things that make them not perfect, but they're wearable. I did the littler guy's hat first. It's hard to tell, but this was the splurge fleece, it's John Deere. He likes tractors, that kid. Since I am from VT, that seems most appropriate to me. I measured his head at about 19" (I had to use a piece of string, because all of my measuring tapes have disappeared. I used Malabrigo at first but it's too stretchy to get an accurate length). I used about 1.5" of ease, but in retrospect, I should have used more like 3". It fits him, but it's snug. And this was after I cut a piece that was too small! Third time's the charm? I made a rectangle of 14" x 20.5". I put the right sides together and sewed a tube and closed off one end. First I just rolled the brim, but I didn't like having the raw seam showing, so I turned under a deep hem (for that one, maybe about 3.5" or so, I think a bit deeper is better), and then folded that back. Done. I think it's really quite cute, actually! You could also do pom-poms on the points, but honestly, I just don't have that kind of energy right now.

I did the same thing for my older son's hat - this fleece is super-cute, it's dogs and fire hydrants (I'd say he's just on the borderline of being too old for it, it's probably more appropriate for a toddler than a kid his age but he liked it). I made this one a bit taller, 15", I think, and used about 3" of ease for his head. On this one, I did a much deeper hem (5"), which makes the hat a tad shorter. In fact, I think it's almost too short. If you pull the brim down more, you can see the seam where I sewed it. I'm sure there's a more clever way to do the brim than this, but I couldn't think of it.

For the last hat, I really wanted to do more of a stocking hat. I folded the fleece in half and cut down the whole yard of fabric, I think I did a width of about 12.5" (so the whole piece would be 25" wide). This did result in a hat that's a bit loose on him. It's sort of hard to describe how I did the cut. I cut the fabric on the diagonal, but not corner to corner. I hit about 4" up on the long side on each side, and cut diagonally that way. I screwed up the top = I wanted to leave two short pieces hanging to tie fringe with, but I sewed them on the wrong side. Ooops. Oh well. Then I just seamed up the side, and did the same hem thing. Right now this cap ends flat, rather than to a point, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. DS says he likes it the way it is, but I think it looks a bit...well, different from my vision.

Overall, though, I'm really pleased. These are quick and easy projects, and now they have hats! DS2 wants a bug stocking cap too, so I think I'll try to put fringe on his (and make it a bit smaller too).

The top hats are so easy, literally it's two seams and you're done. These would be fantastic and easy hats to make for donation, and you could get about 6 hats out of 1 yard of fleece.

Drive By Post

Just a quick one since I've got to get the kids out the door...

It's a sad sad day here at KWAP. One of my first pairs of socks has developed holes in the heels. So sad! I love the Yarn Harlot's idea that sock knitters are the ultimate optimists because they spend a long time (and, comparatively speaking, a lot of money) on something that you KNOW isn't going to last! I actually have some ideas about how this makes the product all the more dear, and yet, the pressure isn't so great, but like I said, I don't actually have time this morning.

I need to finish some things and then I was pondering setting myself a personal sock challenge. Say...a sock a week, for 10 weeks? Something like that. Details when I actually get there!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A bit of the blahs...

I'm not sure where my awesome knitting mojo went, but it's trickled away. I had the day "off" yesterday - in the morning I went and did some studying and then did a yoga class. The yoga classes offered at my gym aren't really the style of yoga I love, but it was really nice, and it was an actual class I could actually go to, as opposed to those amazing hypothetical classes that don't work in my schedule. I dashed home, nursed DD and shoveled some lunch into myself, and headed off to the movies. YAY! I love going to the movies, and actually love going alone. It was the first matinee of the day, and I think there was one other woman in the theater to me. I chose to go light, I saw He's Just Not That Into You.

Now, I am someone who truly enjoys being entertained and doesn't need everything I watch to be High Art, or even really all that good. So perhaps my expectations were low, but I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by this movie. I laughed, I teared up (yes, I am hormotional, whatever), and I actually found it quite thought provoking. I could relate to the dilemmas of the women, in some way, and wondered why it took me so long to learn in my own life that men who treat you like dirt and play games just aren't worth it. I also thought it was interesting that while these women were all portrayed as being desperate to find THE ONE and get married, most of the actual marriages were portrayed very negatively. Anyway, after that I had the option to go knit, but I realized that I so rarely get to shop for ME without kids in tow, so I went and got some new yoga wear.

All this is a long-winded way of saying that I haven't been knitting much. DH and I watched a movie on Friday night and I did some rounds on one of my socks, but that's about it. I'm at that point where I'm just BORED with everything I'm doing, or it takes more brain power than I have available. All I want to do is cast on tons of new projects, mostly socks, but I'm exercising restraint and not doing it because I really want to finish.

Also, I went through this phase where I was knitting a ton and I wasn't reading much. Now I am a voracious reader, and I always have at least one book going, usually more. I actually, for perhaps the first time, didn't have a book I was reading! While I was away last week, I got rehooked into reading. I read...5 books while I was there (about a book a day), and now all I want to do is curl up and read. Most of what I read was the emotional equivalent of comfort food, but I did read this, and thought it was absolutely FANTASTIC. (I'm not sure why Amazon thinks it hasn't been released sister used to work for a bookstore, maybe she got an advance copy? It wasn't a reader. Oh wait, it's book two that's coming out in April. Squee!). Anyway, if you're a Fantasy Fiction reader (which I am) and if you're a writing snob (err, which I am, a bit - I know, it seems in contrast to my statement above, but honestly, so much that's published is just crappy writing), you will appreciate this book.

What vacation is over, THANK GOD. That's how I know I have truly become an adult. It's not that I don't enjoy my kids, I do. But, I'm lucky enough to be a stay-at-home-mom, which means that I'm with them all the time. School gives us all a bit of a break from each other, which is a good thing. My oldest is...intense, and having some time away from him helps me be more present and available when I am with him. I actually hit a point yesterday where I was trying to get something done in the kitchen and both my sons were coming at me. I was backed up against the cabinets, whimpering, and saying "SPACE! I NEED SPACE!! NOBODY TOUCH ME!!" So yeah, school=good. I'll try and get some knitting done tomorrow...

And now I should post this rambling, non-knitting entry before my internet turns off.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

You Win Some, You Lose Some

I am back from my trip. Overall it was really nice, it was great to spend time with my family, though I did miss my DH. The kids all decided to have massive sleep upheavals which really was not fun, but we got through it. All of them were driving me crazy at different times, but then they all managed to enchant me as well, which is pretty cool, actually. My daughter is just about to learn to crawl up stairs, oh joy.

I have some yarn feedback to report.

1. This, the Mermaid is much more teal/aqua than I expected it would be. I was picturing softer blues, somehow. Softer colors all around. It's nice, I suppose, but I'm not sure it's really *my* colors. Of course, venturing outside of my narrow palette of purple and green might be good for my soul or something. Maybe? You think? Of course, I also bought the Wicked Witch colorway, which is very pretty, though a bit darker than I expected. Still, lovely.

2. The Cadena is just the wrong shade of green. I knew it was a risk - greens are hard to coordinate, but I thought there was a chance. Their picture is pretty good actually, and mine sort of sucks, but it's too much of a blue-green (it's not a blue-green, but it's a green that's a bit more to the blue side), and I need a green that's a bit more to the yellow/olive side. It's very pretty and I'm sure I can find something lovely to do with it, but it won't be the replacement for my Foliage that I had hoped.

That's okay though, because I happened to stop into a yarn store in my home town...*innocent look* and found a lovely yarn that will work with my coat! The green is in the right family of olives. It's obviously not a bulky, but I think it should work for the worsted weight version of Foliage. We'll see. I also gave into the Noro sock yarn. We'll see how it turns out.

And with these purchases, I am now officially putting myself on a YARN DIET. I really need to just start a knitting marathon and get some stuff done!

The amusing part of all this yarn purchasing is that I did start something new...well, not new exactly. FALLING LEAF #2! I did about 2 rows on my other sock and just wasn't into it, so I pulled out the Tofutsies and cast it on. I managed to get the toe and one whole lace repeat done as well. (Apparently I finished the first one in October of 2007.)

So, yarn diet. We'll see how that goes. Knit a whole lot. We'll see how that goes. Do these count as New Year's Resolutions, if it's already more than halfway through February?

Friday, February 13, 2009


It's school vacation week here in MA, and since our little co-op nursery school follows the school calendar, we're off for the week. So I'm doing what any sane woman (with an awesome mom) does, and fleeing the state to go visit my family. DH isn't coming with, he's got work and since things have been tough for him lately, I'm hoping a break will help restore him a bit. At least maybe he'll get some sleep.

It turns out that having a baby who wakes up and screams for an hour to an hour and a half in the middle of the night isn't really all that much fun! I know, I'm shocked too. The brochure made it sound so appealing.

I always have this fantasy that I'm going to get So Much Knitting Done when I'm at my folks. I do often get stuff done, but not as much as I dream about. And yet, the question remains, what do I pack?

Right now I've got two socks in flight, plus a scarf, plus a crochet project plus another big project. And I have all this lovely new sock yarn, and I really need socks. I think the smartest thing to do would be to bring the scarf and the socks that are in process, and *maybe* yarn to cast-on one more pair, just in case I suddenly, you know, become a really speedy knitter. Because g-d forbid I run out of knitting options.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Have I mentioned that I'm helpless in the face of sock yarn?

Yeah. It's true.

I had a gift certificate to KnitPicks for Christmas, so a few things are coming to live with me...

This, in Mermaid Lagoon and Wicked Witch....
This, in Leaf (hopefully to match my coat for another Foliage, as the Malabrigo Chunky in Olive appears to be sold out everywhere, and yes this isn't sock yarn, I know)
This, in Tyrian Purple (I did some socks in an older colorway and I really like the yarn, it's durable and soft)
This, in Ash (I have a couple possible plans for this yarn)
And then this, just because I need it.

And now, a few skeins of this are coming to live with me, in Intense Rainbow and Violet Rainbow. One possible plan for this is to stripe the intense rainbow with the Ash KP Essential, either in socks or a scarf (a la Noro 1x1 ribbed scarf). I'm not sure about my sanity, that I'm considering knitting a scarf out of SOCK YARN. Clearly some sort of intervention is required. :)

I also think I have more than enough sock yarn in purple/green combos, and I need to start actually, you know, knitting the darn socks.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Time Out

I was on such a knitting streak, getting stuff done and posting about it! That's on hold for the moment. My husband's uncle passed away last week, so DH has been out of town. My mom came down to help me but there's not been much downtime and my heart's not really been in it. I'd like to do some knitting today. My mom left this morning and DH gets home later tonight, so we'll see.

The rest of my yarn shipment from Webs arrived, the last of the Noro Silk Garden...My mom really liked the colors of the scarf I'm doing now, so I'd love to get that done this week for her. Noro is so different in real life than what you see on the page, so I'm not sure I'll order it without being able to see it again. I also now have two skeins in a colorway that I don't like as much in person, not sure what to do with it...and the baby unwound one of them so I don't think I can sell it...maybe I'll list it on Ravelry.

Blah. I'm just feeling blah today.

I did get a larger mat for using the rotary cutter (40% off!), so maybe I'll go cut up fleece for blankies!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

FO: Flowers of a Grave

I absolutely love cloche-style hats. I don't have any (until now) but I always try them on and want one! Because my head is a bit smaller than the average bear's, the ones available in stores don't tend to fit me either. It just occurred to me, HEY! I'm a knitter, right? I could make one! I did a bunch of rav-surfing and found this pattern, and decided to try it! I had some Noro Kureyon that happened to come in my latest Webs order, so I cast it on. It's a quick knit, fairly easy. I should have taken pictures of the pre-felted product, it was VERY large.

Since I have a front-loader, I decided to attempt to hand-felt it. This would have been successful if I were willing and able to put the time in, but I just wasn't. (And I started working on my arms at the gym today too.) I ended up running it through the wash 3x before it felted enough and wasn't down around my nose! On the last round, I made sure I was using HOT water and a heavy-duty agitation, and that worked well. I am so pleased with how this came out! I just love the colors, I love how Noro felts, and I am completely amused that it matches the Booga Bag. Sadly, we're getting ANOTHER snow storm today, and this hat doesn't really go, stylistically-speaking, with my heavy winter coat, so I'm going to have to wait until we have slightly warmer weather to wear it with my wool coat, which will work. Fun fun!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Happy February!

Where on earth did the month go? My goodness, time is flying. We had a birthday party for a friend of DS2's today and we're now on vomit-watch 2009, as two kids barfed at the party. GOOD TIMES! DS had a good time. He's a poor second child who has pretty much tended to be friends with his big brother's friends, so having his own school time has been awesome for him this year. One of the moms announced that she was pregnant (her third) and I was so happy for her, and so glad it's not me!

So for knitting...I'm wearing my spiral hat and scarf all the time and loving them. I realized that one of the reasons I'm really focused on knitting for ME right now is that I have so little in my life that really is just for me. I'm too tired (or had too many kids) to have any brain cells left for the big stuff that requires thinking, but knitting is something I can do. Wearing things I've made for myself feels like self-care, which is cool. I've had various helping professionals over the years tell me I needed to learn "self-care" and I never really understood what that meant, but now I'm starting to get it.

So, I finished the knitting of Flowers on a Grave today, and attempted to felt it by hand. After 20 minutes I decided I was tired (and need to lift more weights), so I sent it through the washer. Now, I do have a front-loader which is supposed to be not-as-good for felting, but it felted my Foliage just fine (insert eye roll here), so I thought I'd see what happened. It's a quick knit, so if it fails utterly, well, that's okay. After one trip through, it was still reaching down to my nose. After two trips through, it was reaching down over my eyebrows. We'll see what the third trip does!

I was knitting along, and it was time to go to the above-mentioned birthday party, so I pulled out my Booga Bag (total side note, going out with a kid where I brought NOTHING kid-related with me=awesome!), and realized that I knit the hat in the same colorway as the booga bag, though the stripes are a bit different. I am amused.

My husband was laughing at me because I was saying to him "I seem to be obsessed with hats and scarves right now, but once I'm done with that, I'm going to be obsessed with socks." He said "You're planning your obsessions?" Um, doesn't everyone?

I'm plugging away on my Noro stripe's funny, I know it's not going to be for me, but I don't know who it is going to be for!