Friday, August 31, 2007

Wrappin' Up August

So it's the end of August and it's time to do a little catch-up.

Check out my new button; I'm a FO HO!

KelinCal made this awesome button, and after all the finished objects (FOs) I've been cranking out recently, I nabbed it straightaway! Of course, now she's talking about WIPs (works in progress), and I'm not sure I'm ready to go there.

Speaking of FOs, let's look at August's projects.

1. Knit Knack's back to school shell.

2. Maggie's birthday sweater.

3. Reversible Lace Ladders Scarf. Er, not check? In fact, after some advice from my knitting hero Lisa, this project has been scrapped. I was going to be teaching this pattern as an easy lace scarf class this fall, but after I started it and ripped it at least five times, Lisa volunteered to figure it out and knit it for me. (Three cheers for Lisa!) After working on it for a couple of hours, Lisa agreed with me that this is NOT an easy lace pattern, and therefore it would not be a good idea to present this pattern to brand new beginner lace knitters. The scarf I'll be teaching instead is the
Montego Bay scarf from Interweave Knits Summer 2007. Miracle of miracles, Lisa has already knitted this scarf and has promised we can use hers as a sample in the store. (Three more cheers for Lisa!!!)

4. August socks.

The August socks mark the halfway point of the sock challenge. Who knew actually finishing PAIRS of socks could be so enjoyable? Avoiding buying more sock yarn is definitely the tougher part of the challenge. I'm so afraid I'm going to inadvertently buy some at some point without even thinking about it. It was nice to benefit a little with the gift of Fleece Artist sock yarn from Wendy and Lisa. (Hey,
Tonia, they did get it from Ball and Skein! Good call!)

I definitely have a few sock yarns in mind to pick up as soon as the ban is lifted (
Panda Cotton 0432, Tofutsies 784, Extravayarnza MSU, and some solid Louet Gems for a kickin' Cookie A pattern). Six months is a long time to think about what kind of sock yarn you need when the six months is over. For sure, for sure.

The good news is that I'm certainly not tired of knitting socks! In fact, I keep digging through my bin of sock yarn and flipping through my sock patterns to find something new to cast on! November's still an open book, people!

So let's take a look at the list of up-comers for September.
1. Baby sweater. (sort of started?)
2. Birthday turtle (for someone other than my mom.) (well on the way)
3. 'Nother baby sweater. (still deciding)
4. September Socks (arrrrr, matey!) (one sock more than halfway done)

Looks like I have my work cut out for me. I have to keep resisting the urge to cast on something completely spontaneous. Must.... resist.... stash....

OH! I do have one more button, bestowed upon me by knitting guru

She thinks I'm a rockin' girl blogger! How very kind. I think I'm supposed to nominate more people, so here goes:

KelinCal, fo sho, fo she is a FO HO! And I love your blog. And Ricky! He's wicked cute.

The Boiled Peanut because Chris is a rockin' girl AND a blogger. Put them together and this is the button for her.

The Spotted Elephant is SO rockin', she almost rocks my socks off. How can you go to Disneyland and not be rockin'? Kimmie does NOT have to worry about that.

Kankucho Knits doesn't get updated very often, but that doesn't mean that Brendito Bandito doesn't ROCK! (Besides, anyone who has currently misplaced their appendix needs some blog-button love, no?)

Joy of
Joy in the Journey has four kids, tons of challenges, and keeps rockin' her blog AND knitting. I don't know how she does it, but she definitely deserves more awards than just this one. This is the least I can do, Joyer!

Spread the love, everyone.

(I can't believe what a hippy post this is.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August Socks

I just can't stop!

Look ma, I posted my socks!

Pattern: Small Capitals from Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Trekking XXL 146
Lantern Moon rosewood size US2 Sox Stix, set of 5

This pattern was different because it is a toe-up pattern with a heel flap and gusset. All the other toe-up patterns I've done have had short row heels, so this was a new experience for me. Although I did miss getting to do the kitchener stitch, it was a fun pattern to knit. And these ones are for me!

I finished them on August 26, with five days to spare.


Remember the yarn market? Screaming Wendy? Guilt? Birthday Lisa? I did benefit from it:

Same skein, just flipped over. I love it. It looks just like a rainforest to me. I can't wait to knit it up. I need a good jungle pattern for it.

Monday, August 27, 2007

On Turning Five

Turning five years old is an important milestone.

You are officially one hand full.

(Or a handfull, depending.)

You can choose the yarn and the pattern for your very own birthday sweater.

You can appreciate the fine arts.

You've also learned to appreciate the casual days.

You can recognize and write your letters.

You already know it's going to look so much cuter on YOU than it does on the hanger.

Pattern: Children's Neckdown Pullover by Knitting Pure and Simple
Yarn: Paton's Fresco, Kiss
Needles: Addi Turbo US#9, 24" circular for the body, and 47" to magic loop the sleeves.
Ribbon: Pink Argyle from Pat Catan's
Recipient: My super-fab-five-year-old niece, Maggie.
Birthday: August 25
Modeled pictures hopefully coming soon. Hope you had a great birthday, Maggie!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

UFO = Unexpected Finished Object

A few years ago, someone close to me requested a handknit afghan. He had had a red and black striped afghan as a child, and thought it would be great to have another. I was a relatively new knitter, but I found a pattern online, picked up some acrylic at Wal-Mart, and got started.

If you've read this blog for very long, you know I don't make afghans (or anything square for that matter). So, quite frankly, I didn't get very far.

Last year, the relationship with that person was... over... and I wanted to get rid of the partial afghan and materials, and my friend Tobie was interested in finishing it for her son, so everything went to her. I wrote out the little modified pattern and showed her how to complete it, then bestowed all the materials on her.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. Tobie, Wendy and I all worked at the yarn store together yesterday. In the morning, Tobie brought up the subject of the afghan. She hasn't worked on it at all because she's had too many other pressing projects (I can totally empathize with that), and she realized she didn't need the afghan, and wondered if I wanted it back, or if there was anything we could do with it. Wendy suggested somebody bind it off at whatever length it already was and donate it to Project Linus. We all agreed this was a fabulous idea, and easy to execute, since our shop is one of the biggest collection areas of Project Linus blankets in southwestern Ohio. Tobie would bring the blanket the next time we saw each other, I'd finish it off, and donate it.

Not ten minutes later, a lady walked into the store with a crocheted granny square afghan she'd started in 1970! It was almost double-bed-sized and really pretty... all of the granny squares were black on the outside with different bright colors on the inside. It was really cool. She'd been trying to get it completely finished and was looking for a border to put around the edges to make it a little bit bigger. She also wanted to know what kind of yarn she should use for the border. She wanted to make it black, and we decided she'd do well with some black acrylic yarn from Wal-Mart or somewhere comparable.

A moment later, it struck me. There was a ton of black acrylic yarn with that afghan I'd given to Tobie. I didn't have a use for it anymore. Tobie wasn't going to use it. I offered it to the customer and she waited while Tobie ran home for the blanket and yarn. It couldn't have worked out any better!

After that lady left, while we were slow before lunchtime, I finished the blanket with two rows and a bindoff, wove in the ends, and put it on the pile for Project Linus. Talk about an unexpected finished object. And, I actually finished an afghan! How much does that rock!

The finished afghan measured 40" wide by 44" tall. Not huge, but I was surprised I had actually done that much. If you're interested in making your own, here's the pattern, modified from the original pattern I found online.

Color A, worsted weight yarn, held double throughout. Lots of yardage.
Color B, worsted weight yarn, held double throughout. Lots of yardage.
Size US 10.5, 29" circular needle.

With two strands of color A, cast on a multiple of four stitches plus three. To make one the same size as mine, cast on 139 stitches.

Row 1: slip 1, *knit 1, slip 1, move yarn to front, slip 1, move yarn to back, slip 1* repeat between * and * until 2 stitches from end, knit 2.

Row 2: slip 1, purl 2, *slip 1, purl 3* repeat between * and * to end.

Row 3: slip 1, knit to end

Row 4: slip 1, purl to end

Repeat rows 1-4 twice more, for a total of 12 rows with color A, then switch to color B and knit rows 1-4 three times. Continue stripes as set until blanket measures as long as you like.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I've Gone And Done It

Two of August's projects are done (Maggie's sweater and Knit Knack's back-to-school shell) and I have two projects to go. The lace scarf sample is being a huge, frustrating issue (think: ripped out and restarted about four times already, and this is supposed to be the EASY lace class...), and my second August sock is over halfway done. There are four projects on the docket for September (a turtle, two bebe sweaters and the arrrgyle socks), PLUS I have to finish the big green sweater by the end of September in order to have a photo shoot the last weekend of the month. So what did I start over the weekend? What is getting most of my attention?

October socks.

I'm not typically one to do the same sock pattern more than once, but this pattern is BRILLIANT. I mean, GENIUS. If you like making socks, and you haven't made these yet, you MUST make them. It's totally worth it. I'm making the tiniest alteration to the pattern and I just can't get enough. Beautiful. Oh. Wanna see?

The pattern:
Pomatomus, of course.
The yarn:
Fly Super Sport, which I bought at Great Yarns in Everett, WA, last Christmas. It's merino. The color is the deepest possible teal, with slight variations in the dye that gives the knitted fabric even more depth and interest. Unbelievably soft, and the twist of the yarn along with the twisted rib of the pattern makes for incredible stitch definition. These socks will be the definition of luxury. I can't get enough. (Funnily enough, I knew this yarn was fated for this pattern way back when I bought it.)
The needles: My favorite standby, US2 dpns.

Now if I could just put them down long enough to get some of these more pressing projects finished.


I got a call from screaming Wendy last night. She was at the yarn market... a small show at a retirement community near the yarn store we work for.

"I've got guilt!" she cried when I picked up the phone.

Turns out, she bought sock yarn. She and our friend Lisa both joined me for my pair-a-month
sock challenge, and both of them agreed not to buy sock yarn until December. Poor Wendy, she just couldn't bear the guilt, so she had to call me shortly after the forbidden purchase.

Lisa was at the yarn market, too, and, even though it was her birthday, she had stayed strong and not purchased any sock yarn. Being the kind, generous soul I am, I forgave Wendy her purchase, told her to let Lisa buy sock yarn, too (it was her birthday, after all!), and hung up.

A few minutes later, I called her back, thinking it was hysterical that I had the power to give two grown women permission to buy sock yarn. Oh the power! And, I told her there was one thing she could do to make up for her transgression.

Just buy me some sock yarn, too!

Monday, August 20, 2007


I got Maggie's birthday sweater finished, gussied, wrapped, packed, and shipped off to WA. Since I can't show it to you until after she sees it...

Have a couple more Elliot pictures.

(I'm sure my mom's neighbors don't think I'm strange for taking pictures of a stuffed elephant on her driveway... she took pictures of stuffed turtles playing volleyball in her backyard. I come by it honestly.)


Did I ever tell you about the other elephant I made for my aunt? I don't think I have. It was during the pre-blog era (PBE). The pattern is from Toy Knits by Debbie Bliss. The gray yarn is Rowan Wool Cotton, the white sweater is a baby cotton, the skates are more Wool Cotton and some shiny thread (ooh, shiny!), and I'm not sure what the red scarf and hat are made from.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Small Creatures, Part 3

My last couple posts have received a lot of attention because of the small creatures featured in each one. I have one more small creature to introduce you to, but this time, it's not a knitted small creature.

It's a puppy!

This is Mocha, my mom's new puppy. We were able to pick her up when I was there last weekend, and she charmed us immediately. We had all gone to see her when my brother and his family were in Ohio earlier this summer, but she had been sleepy and lacking in outrageous personality. We were pleased to notice that her personality was definitely not lacking after we picked her up on Saturday.

Favorite pastime? Bellyrubs.

Favorite human body part? Feet.

Favorite place to sleep? Everywhere.

What a cutie.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Turtle School

Summertime is usually a time to avoid using the "s" word around my mom, but I was able to use the phrase "back to school" this past weekend without making her shudder and twitch. In honor of my mom's long-suffering teaching career, I presented her with Knit Knack's back-to-school outfit.

It's a backpack!

At least he's caught up on his summer reading.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I knew y'all were a creative bunch, and I was pretty impressed with your guesses as to what those things in the last post could possibly be. They weren't water pots or Christmas ornaments or even socks for Smurf legs.

The legs part was right, though.

Meet Elliot.

The pattern is
Elefante, by Susan B. Anderson.

The yarn is leftover Cascade 220. Well, it's not really leftover, since the project I was using it for isn't finished, but we can pretend, right? The pattern calls for six colors, and I only used four. I started the body with six colors, hated it, and started over using only the four colors I used for the legs. I love him (and so does my aunt!) (She told me to say that.)

I used US 3 dpns instead of 4s, for a little tighter knit. I also used buttons for eyes instead of embroidering them on.

I started him Tuesday night, and finished him this morning around 2:30am. He's a gift for my aunt, who is visiting my mom this week. Since I am also visiting my mom, it was the perfect chance to give him to her!

Stay tuned for pictures of Knit Knack's latest outfit...

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

You Know How It Is

You have a lot of knitting to do.

You've given yourself an insane amount of projects to complete over the next four months, but you're feeling pretty good about it.

You've made a calendar to define the deadlines for each of the projects, and fortunately, they work out to four projects per month for the next four months.

You're amazingly right on track with your niece's fifth birthday sweater. (That's a lot of birthday sweaters.)

You're less than a week into the month and your first August sock is finished. It fits you, and you're very excited to be this close to having another pair of socks for your very own.

You may be somewhat concerned about the lace scarf sample that has to be completed for the store and the fact that you may only have two rows of said scarf completed at the current time, but you will be so comforted by the amazing progress on all the other August projects that your concern about the lace scarf will be diminished significantly until you're closer to the actual deadline date for said scarf.

If someone asked, you'd tell them you were Right On Track.

Then it happens.

You're innocently browsing knitting blogs as you've been known to do, clicking various blogroll links, trying to find knitting blogs you've not read before, checking out the projects-in-progress of your fellow knit bloggers, and you see it.

The pattern you must knit.

The project you must make now.

So you do.

What other projects?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Fried Green Tomatoes

Another one of Dad's favorites.

Step one: Procure green tomatoes. You can grow your own, buy some from a farmer's market, or convince the very nice lady who works in your office building to bring you some from her garden.

Step two: Wash and slice the green tomatoes. (Monkey plate optional.)

Step three: Cover tomato slices with flour. (Or corn starch, or corn meal, or your favorite combination of the three.)

Step four: Fry. I prefer the electric skillet for more even frying. I used vegetable oil. Mom always used Crisco. Flip and fry on the other side. Apply salt liberally.

Step five: While those are frying, peel and slice a cucumber. Apply flour. Prepare to fry. (Monkey plate still optional.)

Step six: Remove from oil, present and eat. In order to avoid a tummyache, share some with friends.

Step seven: While eating, fry up the cucumbers. Enjoy!

If there were leftovers, my dad would eat them cold. I've never been quite brave enough to try that, but if you think that sounds good... go for it.


I picked up my Interweave Knits magazine at the post office today (the mailbox in my apartment building is broken, and until the management fixes it, the post office is holding our mail, which is nice because no one can steal my mail, but is kind of inconvenient if you think about it), and I really enjoyed flipping through it. There aren't too many patterns I'd actually consider making (there never are), but I still enjoy looking through all the new patterns in the magazine. I've been trying to avoid all of the preview links I've seen online, because that's a complete spoiler for me (kind of like everyone who was trying to avoid Harry Potter spoilers for so long). Part of the joy for me is getting to see the patterns for the first time in print. Anyone else feel that way?


Annabelle asked about the pirate socks. I didn't make up the chart, but it can be found here if you're interested. I had some concerns about there only being 68 stitches in the chart, and I spent a great deal of time trying to alter the chart to make it larger so the socks would fit me. But I ended up making the chart exactly as found (after 20 rows of k2, p2 ribbing and two rows of plain knitting) and it seems it will fit just fine.

I've had a number of people think it very odd that I'm knitting pirate argyle socks. They think it's even stranger that I'm making them for myself. I'm so misunderstood.


I know this post is all over the place, but I want it to be made official: I have not bought sock yarn in over two months. I am one third of the way through the challenge. Oh, buying sock yarn, how I miss thee.