Archive for Gift Knitting

Back on Track

Chaosresolved

Life is looking considerably brighter here at Casa de Golightly, as you can see from my glouriously organized stash. The yarn corner is 110% improved since yesterday, some languishing projects have finally made it to cast off, and exciting new projects are in the works. (And those new projects are totally Rotation legal- sweet!)

Last week, after the emotional upheaval of aran disaster, I decided that what I really, really needed was a break from anything involving charts, seed stitch, or thought. Serendipitously, that very day I saw a post on Crazy Aunt Purl about her Kitty Pi. It was love at first sight. I had to buy needles for it the second I left work. Can you believe after two years of knitting I didn’t have a single set of size 11 DPNs? What is the world coming to? 

Also serendipitiously, Tara recently gifted me with more black felting wool than you can shake a stick at (thanks again!), so I had plenty of raw material. I cast on for the Pi Tuesday night, and today I cast off! A super fast, totally brainless project was what I needed and Kitty Pi delivered.

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Kittypi2Kittypi3

I should be felting it tomorrow when I do laundry. Having something to felt is great motivation to go to the laundromat. Maybe I should make a Kitty Pi every week…

I’m planning to make at least one more, and possibly a third for a cat loving co-worker. If you think your favorite kitty needs a Pi, this is a free pattern from Wendy Knits. If my resounding endorsement doesn’t convince you, check out the finished Kitty Pi gallery. (Warning: Viewing gallery could cause cute cat overload.)

As of last night, I’m officially finished with my 2006 Holiday Knitathon. Behold! Mylea’s Fingerless Mitts:
Orangefingerlessmitts The yarn is Blue Sky Alpaca’s worsted, although you should be warned that this yarn is a very, very heavy worsted. One more ply and I think we could safely call it bulky. I knit it a little too densely on my trust Susan Bates DPNs, sizes 4 and 5. The pattern came from the Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns. I find that this book really lives up to the title, especially when it comes to Xmas knitting. Mylea likes them, and I knit them to match her Grown Up Bonnet Scarf.

I know I’ve said this every year since I started knitting, but this time I mean it: I’m not doing the whole Xmas knitting thing next year. I’m sure some people really enjoy it, but for me it always ends up being stressful and annoying. I love knitting things for my fellow knitters, but from now on I’m sticking to birthdays. At least those are spaced out through the year.

Last but not least, I ripped out the orange aran and it felt great! It felt even better when I cast on for the Central Park Hoodie. No regrets here, not a single one.

So, just for the record, the Rotation projects are as follows: one pink and aqua Ballband Warshrag. One Grown Up Bonnet Scarf. And one Central Park Hoodie. There are a couple other things still on the needles chillin’ out in the frog pond, but since they’re soon to be recycled yarn, they don’t count!! Woohoo!

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Why I Am a Terrible Friend: Exhibit A

Myleamitts
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Inspite of the fact that I am probably the worst friend ever and didn’t even get blogless Mylea’s present done in time for holiday gift giving, she gave me these super fly fingerless mitts tonight! I cannot even tell you how much I love them! The colors are just incredible and they fit just right! The timing could not be better! My old pair of fingerless mitts, which I normally wear at work to stave off frostbite while typing, got into a bad washing machine related accident. I can still wear them, but to do so I have to sacrifice circulation in my fingers.  I know Mylea doesn’t really keep up with the blogs, but in case she is reading this- thank you so much!  I know these will be worn daily! You are a much better friend than I am, really. Between knitters, there is no better way to show love than with fine gauge knitting.

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Cozy7

Tonight was quite eventful for my knitting. I (finally) finished Bob’s Ipod cozy, version 2.0. (Pattern coming soon!) I was so excited about it that I gave it to him, and I’m pretty sure that he really likes it. He also told me that he’d been holding on to the old cozy mostly because it was one of the first things I made for him when I learned how to knit. Awwwwww!! I am so holding on to this one!

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Christmas, Cats and Cozies

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Jet is living proof of the powerful role cuteness plays in natural selection. Since I put up my Christmas tree late last night, he has:

  • climbed to the top of it and come very close to knocking it over twice,
  • chewed on the presents,
  • knocked off every single ornament at least once,
  • and generally wreaked havoc on the tinsel.

If he wasn’t so cute, I undoubtedly would have skewered him on a candy cane by now. We’ll chalk my patience up to an evolutionary miracle.

But holiday cheer isn’t totally lost on me. I have a pretty tree…
Tree

and a singing sheep…

Sheepsong

and a two or three weeks worth of knitting that needs to be finished in the next eight days.

The Ipod cozy is going pretty well, with only a few minor bumps in the design process. I like the way the Wildfoote yarn knits up, but I’ve experience a lot of splitting while casting on, picking up dropped stitches, and putting stitches back on the needle after ripping back. I’m feeling pretty confident that I can finish it in plenty of time.

Cozy5  (This pic is several days old. I’d say I’m about 1/3 of the way done now.)

The prognosis is somewhat more grim for the rest of my holiday projects. I foresee belated presents in several futures, but I’m sure it won’t be the first (or last) time I’ve had to give a knitting I.O.U.

I thought you might be interested to see where I am when I’m not knitting. I spend between 50 and 60 hours in this cubicle every week. There’s definitely some evidence that a big dork (and a knitter) lives here.
Desk1
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Secret Pal Fun!

Tonight’s First Annual Knott Too Tightly Wound Holiday Gift Exchange Extravaganza went very well, if I do say so myself. I think my pal will enjoy her gift, and I will definitely enjoy mine! Thank you Liz! (We drew each drew the other’s name! Who would have thought?)
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Secretpal1

I looooove my new scarf and I can’t wait to knit up some matching accessories. And the sock yarn is so me! I don’t know how I managed to never notice it on the shelf, but I’m in love. I’m feeling quite torn between casting on new socks with the new yarn, or sticking to my plan and doing the Koigu next. Oh, the humanity!

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R.I.P. Halfdome, We Barely Knew Ye (Literally!)

Thanks to Liz for coming to me today concerned about the hat I was knitting at 24 stitches/inch. "What are you using? Sewing thread?"

In case anyone else was worried, this is just a stupid typo. I mean 6 stitches to the inch, which would be 24 stitches in a four inch gauge swatch. See, this hat was making me crazy!

In any case, it’s a non-issue now because I’ve given up Halfdome for the time being. I still think it’s a really cool design, and I’ll probably re-attempt it in the future, when I don’t have to worry about a deadline. (Friendly reminder: 15 days till Xmas.) 

My new plan for Bob’s knitted gift item is an Ipod cozy. Back in my early knitting days, I made the Technicolor Techno Cozy from Stitch n’ Bitch out of cheapo warshrag cotton. This was almost three years ago, and it’s in pretty bad shape now. Not to mention that I made it before I really had a good grip on the principles of gauge, and the cozy could probably fit two Ipods without stretching much. In spite of its problems, Bob likes it and has used it every day since I finished it. That kind of loyalty should earn him a much nicer cozy.
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I googled around a little bit, but couldn’t find a cozy that really appealed to me, so I’m winging it. I actually think it’s going to work out really well, and if it does I’ll be sure to post it. I bought quite a bit of black, red and white Wildfoote sock yarn today, so I have plenty of options to experiment with. I spent quite a bit, but I feel like there’s at least 2 pairs of socks to be knit out of this, plus the Ipod cozy.
Blackredwhiteyarn

Designing and knitting up a pattern from scratch like this is still a pretty big undertaking for me with only two weeks to go until The Day, but I’m feeling good about it. I’m lucky to have a partner who really appreciates my handmade gifts, and I know that he’ll get a lot of use out of this cozy. And honestly, who can resist this face? I know I can’t!
Sillybob

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Discombobulated

Today’s Breaking News:

  • Saturday is great! Not being at work is even better!
  • I am blocking the fronts and back of my Ribby Cardi, and hope to seam it up tomorrow so I can see how far from fitting it actually is. I don’t own an iron, so Jet helped me with the pressing. Bless his heart. Jetblocks
  • I’m very, very tired of my Stripey Socks, but they’re almost done now so I might as well finish them. Plans are in the works for my next pair. I’ve had this beautiful purple Koigu in my stash for almost a year now, just waiting for the perfect pattern to show it off. Koiguyarn_2
    I’m deciding right now between the Mata Hari Socks from Craftoholic or Falling Leaves from Knitty. What do you think?
     
  • Speaking of Knitty…. new Knitty!! I haven’t really gotten a chance to dig in to this issue yet, but at first glance, my top three patterns to knit would have to be Monkey, Emerald, and Eiffel. I’m seriously considering knitting Hexed, not so much because I love the hat, but because it sounds like a fun knit, and I have about a gazillion skeins of Lamb’s Pride Bulky laying around.
  • I’m trying not to think about my Xmas knitting projects. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, the words that come to mind when I think about it are catastrophe, woe and ruin. I’m very close to deciding that Bob’s big ass head can just stay cold for all I care. If he wants a warm head, maybe he should learn how knit. (No, I’m not bitter… why do you ask?)
  • I can’t wait until tomorrow! At least for this week, my Sunday is totally free and I plan on kicking some knitting (and seaming) booty. Woohoo!!

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What was I thinking?

When I started working on Halfdome, I thought I knew what I was getting into. I thought I could manage to crank out a simple hat in time for Xmas, even for a guy with a big  huge gargantuan head. Gauge is 24 stitches/inch, which is pretty dense for aran weight yarn, and the pattern calls for needles in sizes 3 and 5. (The smaller size is used for the rolled brim, to prevent it from being too bulky.) As discussed previously, my gauge is exceptionally loose and my rule of thumb is to go down by two needle sizes to get gauge for most patterns. But occasionally, just every once in a while, a pattern comes along where I get gauge perfectly. And I thought that this was going to be one of those times.

I believe the phrase is, "Fools rush in." Do you see where this is going?

I cast 134 stitches onto a size 3 circular and went to town. When I got ready to change colors, I decided to check my gauge "just in case".  And what do you know? I get 24 stitches to the inch with the size 3’s. Which means, for those of you keeping score at home, that I need to be casting this hat onto a size 1. Cashmerino Aran, a worsted weight wool…. size 1 needles. It just doesn’t seem fair.   

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