The Christmas Knitting, Part One

Ahhhh … the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I love this week. Everything’s quiet, the insanity of Christmas is over, and the frantic beginning-of-year activity is still a few days away. It’s a great time to reflect on the year that’s passed and make goals for the year to come.

One of the things I’ve been reflecting on is what I accomplished knitting-wise in 2010 and what I’d like to make in 2011. I’ve noted before that I’m a pretty selfish knitter, so the vast majority of what I made over the past year was for me. But, as usual, I knit Christmas gifts for several people this year, and now that they have them, I can post pictures. Today’s episode of The Christmas Knitting features the presents I made for my parents.

My mom got two pairs of socks. One was just a standard plain pair, made in the very pretty (or, as the Mister put it, “pleasing”) Sailor’s Delight sock yarn by Hazel Knits.

The other pair was “Angee” by Cookie A, from her book Sock Innovation. If you’re into sock knitting and are looking for some fabulous, well-charted patterns, you need this book. (And also her new book Knit. Sock. Love., but that’s another entry.) These socks were right up my alley–simple but engaging, fun, and quick to knit. I really looked forward to coming home and sitting down with these after work.

Lace socks look pretty uninspiring when they’re just hanging around. Let’s see them on feet! The cat needed to be in the first photo. She frequently competes with my knitting for attention.

Cat action shot!

The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy in Spring Tickle. I LOVE SMOOSHY.

For my dad, I made a pair of mittens. But not just any mittens, oh no. THRUMMED mittens.

You may notice that these mittens look rather puffy. That is because of the thrums, which are the little multicolored bits you see. They’re snippets of unspun wool (or “roving”) that are knit into the fabric every so often. They form a crazy, fluffy, wooly layer, which looks something like this.

This layer creates an insanely warm pair of mittens. Or so I’m told. You’d have to ask my dad to confirm.

My dad has half a thumb on his right hand. So I adjusted one of the mitten thumbs accordingly.

There’s no real pattern for these mittens. I basically combined this thrum FAQ with a generic mitten pattern and voila … thrummed mittens. Yarn and roving are from Knit Picks. And if I never thrum anything again, it’ll be too soon. It was frickin’ fiddly.

Being extremely clever and efficient, I failed to take pictures of the scarves I made for Jette and my sister. So I’ll have to wait for the recipients to take their own pictures. I did manage to take a picture of my sister’s hat, though.

Yarn is Malabrigo worsted in Polar Morn (that’s the blue color) and Natural.

The instant I finished the Christmas knitting, I went right back to knitting things for myself. I finished up my Pi Shawl and blocked it today, so photos should be forthcoming fairly shortly. I also have Baudelaire sock #2 on the needles, and I started another pair of Twinkleberries and a plain pair of socks for my mom. Plus a brick-red triangular scarf that I’m making up as I go along, plus a fairly obnoxious pink scarf that should be perfect for spring, which is about when I anticipate it will be done, given all the other crap I keep casting on.

In other, non-yarn-related news, because my mother and I have outstanding taste in Christmas gifts for me, I own 12 more eyeshadows than I did on December 24th. Eight are Urban Decay and four are MAC. I’m sure you’ll be seeing A LOT of them in future posts. I may also have taken advantage of Sephora’s “Sale on Sale” deal yesterday, because the thing to do the day after Christmas is BUY MORE PRESENTS FOR YOURSELF, am I right? Fair warning: I’m leaning very heavily toward neutrals, purples, and taupes/browns/grays in terms of eye makeup these days, so if you find that boring … well, I guess you’re gonna be bored.

Published in: on December 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm  Comments (7)  
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Slow Progress

So. I started the Lissajous socks over the weekend.

Are you wildly impressed? No? How about if I told you that that little bit of sock represents about an hour and a half of knitting? And that the chart looks like this?

Yeah. Gonna be a while before these are done. At least the yarn is really nice.

Published in: on December 13, 2010 at 7:24 am  Comments (4)  
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Welcome To My Bawdy Lair

BAD PUN! BAD PUN!

Since I finished all my Christmas knitting, I’ve started a few new projects. Including Cookie A’s Baudelaire socks.

Check out how the gusset and heel flap stitches flow into the cable. Fancy! That’s why Cookie A is a sock designer and I’m not.

These are toe-up socks. I usually prefer top-down, but these have been pretty fun. I do like the idea that you can make them as tall as possible until you run out of yarn.

With flash:

The yarn I’m using is Louet Gems fingering weight in French Blue. From, of course, the Loopy Ewe. It’s been really fun to work with–very spongy and bouncy and squishy. Love it. Need more.

Check out the blurry cat in this one.

I cannot recommend Cookie A’s sock patterns highly enough. I have her book “Sock Innovations,” and I just got “Knit. Sock. Love.” in the mail this past week too. It’s going to keep me very busy for a very long time. Once I’m done with the Baudelaires, I’m going to embark on a truly complicated pattern: Lissajous (the shorter sock version, not the taller stocking version–although, how incredible are those?). They’re for my mom; I told her to expect them in, oh, June or so. If she’s lucky.

Published in: on December 11, 2010 at 11:40 am  Comments (4)  
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Fully Clothed And Partially Socked

Is there a word for “with socks on”? You know, like clothed, shod … socked? Bestockinged?

Part two of my outfit of the day series! Once again, this ensemble is not too freaking exciting, but it’s a fairly typical workday outfit for me. I wear a lot of REALLY long skirts and t-shirts (nice ones! Not like the giant Sisters of Mercy t-shirts I wore in high school). I’d love to have some nice button-down shirts for work, but cursory research indicates that there is no such thing as a woven shirt that fits both my boobs and my waist. If it fits around the chestal region, it sags at the waist, and if it fits at the waist, there’s no way in hell I’m getting the top buttons done up. So t-shirts it is. (The skirt doesn’t seem quite so long when I’m walking around, I promise.)

Mister Principessa and I are still fiddling with my camera, so these photos are a little experimental. In the one above, he stood way back and zoomed in on me. In the next one, he stood closer and didn’t zoom at all.

Help! Help! I’m sinking into the ground!

T-shirt and tank top are from Old Navy. The skirt is from Shukr, a site I HIGHLY recommend if you’re into floor-length skirts like I am. It’s actually an Islamic clothing site, so you can find hijabs and things there too. Their clothing is very high quality, and their skirts fit me really well (aside from the length issue–but then, everything is long on me).

I’m not wearing shoes in this picture, but you couldn’t see them even if I were, now, could you? I am going to go ahead and admit here that I wore flip-flops with this outfit. Hey, it’s southern California, we’re a casual office, and it was 92 goddamn degrees today.

That takes care of the clothes. On to the socks! You’ll be ever so excited to hear that I’ve been knitting like a fiend lately. Unfortunately, I can’t show you any of the many projects I’ve finished because they’re all going to be Christmas presents for people who read this blog on a semi-regular basis.  So you can expect a BIG knitting post around 26 December. In the meantime, here’s a single partly finished sock to tide you over!

Flash

No flash

The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in Rock the Olive. Oooooh, this yarn is nice. So soft. In fact, I think it might be a little too soft for socks. This is a personal preference; I like my socks to be fairly sturdy, and this yarn is a bit on the shiny, slippery side for me. I have another skein of it, which I think might end up as a scarf instead of socks.

Oh, and I did cast on that pair of Twinkleberry socks in the Black Bunny yarn, but they have since been frogged. The yarn was just wrong for the pattern; it needs to be knit using smaller needles than I usually use for socks, which is all fine and good but means I’d need to increase the stitch count to make the socks a wearable size. So, back to the drawing board!

Published in: on November 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm  Comments (12)  
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Sock Yarn Is Awesome

Hallelujah, I done finished another one!

I’d been working on these off and on for the past couple of months, so I had one sock finished and about a quarter of the second one done when I decided to buckle down and finish them up this past week. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they turned out almost perfectly identical.

I didn’t do that on purpose. I love self-striping sock yarn, but I almost never make an effort to get the socks to come out the same. In fact, one of my favorite things about self-striping yarn is the way that you frequently end up with socks that are clearly related, but not identical.

Now that I’ve finished my socks, surely I’ll move on to something else, right?

Hmmm. Nope. More socks. To be honest, I sort of don’t consider socks “real knitting.” Or rather, I don’t consider them “real projects”–that is, unless they’re going to be a gift for someone else. I almost always have at least one pair of socks on the go, and frequently more than one. And who could blame me, really, with colors like this beckoning from my yarn basket (let’s keep up the charade that I only have one, shall we?)?

This particular yarn (Black Bunny Fibers Superwash Merino Classic in “Chuck”) is destined to become these socks. I’ve knit this pattern before and can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s fun, it’s fast, and the socks come out looking much more complicated than they actually are. If you’re getting bored with plain stockinette socks and are looking for a sock pattern that’s a bit interesting but not, say, Cookie A-level complex, I highly recommend checking this one out.

Speaking of the yarn basket, there’s a project lurking in there that I forgot to mention in my project roundup the other day.

I’m making a blanket (inspired by this) out of all my leftover bits and bobs of sock yarn. And believe me, there are a LOT of them. I haven’t worked on this for a while, but it’s completely addictive, and as the evenings turn chillier, I’m thinking more and more about picking it up again. Might have to haul it out this evening.

Published in: on October 9, 2010 at 3:43 pm  Comments (9)  
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