On The Needles: An Update

A shift has occurred in my knitting this week.  I went from unsure about what to knit next to over-concerned about completing a few Christmas gifts.  This is why I didn’t want to knit for anyone this year!  I will admit that it feels very nice to have my knits requested by people, it also puts a certain amount of pressure on me to deliver.

So I have tried to set myself up for success by choosing projects that are achievable in the mere 20 days before Christmas.

Project #1

ankle-socks1

I am knitting these ankle socks with some Knit Picks Felici in Atmosphere from my stash.  You may remember that about this time last year I was attempting to knit the same yarn into a pair of Jaywalkers.  You can see how that ended up.

So far the pattern is clear and simple, with instant gratification from the beginning when you turn the heel.  It felt like I was halfway finished when in fact I was just starting!

Project #2

We will call this “Project V” for my sister Veronica.  She reads this blog and so I cannot post any pictures of her mysterious and wonderful gift.  I was told to not even post a picture of the yarn because she wants to be completely surprised!  But between you and me: if you want to see what it is, you can check out my Ravelry projects.

Project #3

bramble-neckwarmer

  • Pattern: Bramble by me.  Free pattern coming soon!

  • Yarn: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Bobby Blue, 110 yards

  • Needles: US size 8

This was a leftover neckwarmer from October’s craft fair.  When my sister in law requested something handknit, this immediately popped into my head.  It is super soft, a little bit funky, and a beautiful shade of tealy blue that should match the Fetching wrist-warmers I gave her last Christmas.

fetching-2

Project #4

This probably won’t be finished in time for Christmas, but it is a gift so I thought I would include it.  If all goes well with the aforementioned projects, these could have a chance.  Fingers crossed!

undulating-rib-sock-progress

  • Pattern: Undulating Rib socks in STR lightweight, Pebble Beach

These socks have been resting comfortably in my knitting bag for a couple of weeks while I worked on my sweater.  I’m not happy with the stitch pattern, so with my mom’s permission I am going to rip back to the cuff and try something a little more flattering to the yarn.  You don’t mind, do you mom?

Project #5

garter-washcloth

Pattern: Improvised garter stitch border with stockinette stitch.

Simple, comforting, and satisfying, this has been my “knit in the dark at a musical performance when you think you;ll fall asleep otherwise” project.  I’m not proud of it.  But something happens to me when I hear some music performed live.  Broadway tunes, specifically.  I get indefensibly sleepy and yawn incessantly while trying to stay awake.

I know Sweetie will never forgive me for the time she took me to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and I fell asleep.  You may not either.  But let me tell you this: if I knew how to knit back then, and was permitted to bring a small, discreet project to occupy my hands and brain during interminable musical numbers, I may have stayed more alert.  Just saying.

Anyway, this isn’t intended as a gift, but it’s officially on the needles and this post is all about airing out what’s in my knitting bag.  So there you have it.

With any luck things will start flying off the needles.  Maybe I could catch a performance of Phantom this weekend and secure some additional knitting time.

P.S. I just scrolled through the post to change the font and noticed that all of these projects have blue in them.  I appear to be in a blue phase, and I suddenly want to cast on another project in hot pink just to combat the blues.  Who knows: after this weekend I may have another project to add to the list!

Have a good one.

Knitting for Sweetie

I reserve the bulk of my knitting time to create handknits that someone will appreciate and use.  Most often, the recipient of my knitting gifts is Me.  But there is one other person who ranks high in the Use and Appreciation of Handknits department: my Sweetie.

Not only does she show interest in what I am knitting, she agrees to model things for me.  What started as me asking her to go into yarn shops with me on vacation has turned into her seeking them out.  She willingly went to Rhinebeck with me and was genuinely interested in the spectacle of it all.  She knows how much time and thought I put into my knitting, and encourages me to do it as much as possible.  Even if it means I don’t get around to cleaning as much as I used to, P.K. (pre-knitting).

So when she asks me to knit her something, I take it very seriously.  She has an especial fondness for socks.  As someone who loves buying and knitting sock yarn, this is a near perfect arrangement for me.  Sweetie is the perfect scapegoat for buying additional unnecessary sock yarn: “Oh, this is a color Sweetie would like”.  I typically alternate between knitting a pair of socks for myself and one for her.  The Spring Forward socks I knit during the Ravelympics were supposed to be for her.  As some of you may remember, I had gauge issues, and ended up making socks to fit about a size 6 foot.  Sweetie is a 10.

She was due for a new pair.  Last month I led her to the yarn cabinet, opened the door with reverence, and said “Pick One.”  And thus my journey with the Show-Off Stranded Socks began.

show-off-stranded4

  • Pattern: Show-Off Stranded Socks *Free*

  • Yarn: Artyarns Ultramerino 4 in color 136, 2 skeins

  • Needles: US Size 1 1/2 (2.5 mm) double points

  • Modifications: I started out with a 1×1 twisted rib at the cuff, simply because I prefer how it looks. There are 3 different options for the gusset and I chose to do stockinette stitch. Then I followed the pattern as written until the toe.  Here I opted to do paired decreases and a grafted toe for that wedge toe look.

LOVE this pattern and yarn combination!  I think this may be one of those perfect patterns for that wild skein of sock yarn you might have lying around.  It’s just as easy as stockinette stitch, but gives the sock so much more texture and depth.

show-off-stranded-3

***

Last fall I knit her a pair of Knucks.  While they were interesting, I found the fingers way too fiddly.  So when she started asking for another pair, I stalled.  This past Sunday was our 6 year wedding anniversary, and I decided I could take time away from knitting these socks and fantasizing about my future sweaters to knit her some much-needed handwarmers as a gift.

black-heart3

I used my newly acquired skills at knitting in the round on 2 circulars to work these up.  It felt a little bit faster than DPNs, I have to admit.  And I really liked not having to worry about dropping a needle.

black-heart2

  • Pattern: Fetching *Free*

  • Yarn: Cascade Lana d’Oro, less than one skein in black

  • Needles: Two US size 5 circulars : )

  • Mods: I used the pattern for Fetching as inspiration.  I only cast on 35 stitches and omitted the cables for a simpler look.  They fit snugly which is great for working and walking the dog.

As usual, Sweetie was excited by these surprise mitts and has been wearing them regularly.  It’s a good thing I have some yarn leftover; I can see needing to make another pair when she wears these out in 10 minutes!

Two Finished Objects this week!  It felt so good to finish things that I also went on a frogging spree.  I ripped out every project that has been languishing on my needles for any length of time.  What a great feeling!  Now I can focus on my sweater (which is coming along nicely, thank you very much!) and start thinking about knitting another pair of socks for a worthy recipient.

Tying up Loose Ends

I thought I’d make a quick pair of fingerless gloves for my mother-in-law (okay, it wasn’t entirely my idea, but I’m in a generous mood). There was an unassigned ball of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran and a couple of free patters in my stash that I thought would be perfect. I have knit 2 pairs of Fetching with the same yarn, and love the feel of it. It’s also very nice to wear, even though it does get a bit of a fuzzy halo.* Interesting side note: my pair of mitts accidentally got thrown into the dryer (as so many of my hand knits do) and survived just fine.

They knit up incredibly fast in a 2×2 cable rib pattern on size 6 needles using about 3/4 of the skein.

cable-wristwarmers.jpg

A Little Twist Wristwarmers

This was my first time doing a Make 1 (m1), however, and I wasn’t entirely satisfied with how the thumb gusset looked after knitting the first mitt. So, after some coaching from a friend at Stitch ‘n Bitch, I ripped out the entire thing. This is something I rarely, if ever, do. I look at knitting as something to be relaxed about, and if the mistake won’t affect the usability or the aesthetic of the end product, I leave it. But I was interested in perfecting a new technique, I suppose, and wanted to get it right.

cable-wristwarmers-3.jpg

I still need to sew in the ends, and there are a couple of gaps that I’d like to go back and seam up. I was just so excited to finish and take a photo! I get extremely motivated to finish a project just so I can write a post and change the status on Ravelry to Finished! Hey, whatever works, right?

*This yarn also turned my bamboo needles blue. Has this ever happened to you?

blue-needles.jpg