Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Start of the Holiday Season

When I was younger, I remember that some retailers would advertise "Christmas in July" sales as July 25 is 6 months from Christmas.  In June, while working my way through the Vorticity sock pattern, I realized that I should probably make myself a list of holiday knitting projects so I could stay on target.  I also had two November birthdays (my friend J and my mother-in-law) that I wanted to put on that list, so I sat down and wrote it all out.  In a time frame from November 3 - January 3, I need to have finished 2 scarves, 1 hat, 4 pairs of adult socks, and 6 pairs of childrens' socks. This is only marginally more than what I knit for last year, but I am determined that this year, the caboose gift receiver (my husband) will not get shorted by getting only one sock.  (I finished the other one about 2 weeks after his birthday.)  Fortunately, I finished my sock project in time to cast on July 25 for the first project, a scarf:

This is the Vine Lace Scarf pattern by Marin Melchior.  She recommends knitting this pattern using Vermont Organic Fiber Company O-Wool Legacy DK sock yarn, but I had this yarn (Berrocco Softwist Bulky) which was given to me by a friend and it's the perfect color for my friend as she has worn this particular color in my presence several times.  It is somewhat slippery yarn, so I've had to be careful when knitting the yarn-overs in the next row.

As compared to the baby blanket I am also currently working on, this scarf is flying off my needles.  I cast on on the 25th but sort of dawdled on the project until the 30th, and then managed to knit 28" (of a 33" piece) in 4 days, just working on it during my morning commute.  (Ah, 31-stitch projects, how I love you.) It is knit in two pieces, and then a Kitchner stitch joins it together. 

At this rate, I could possibly be finished the project by the end of this week.  Perhaps I should consider making everyone a scarf, instead of socks, for Christmas.......

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Moving Right Along

I try very hard not to be working on too many projects at the same time.  Sometimes knitting demands pop up (babies, birthdays, Christmas) that force me to put current projects on the back burner.  The problem with having too many projects going consecutively is it can often tie up the very needles you need to start a project, forcing you to buy more.  So far I've managed to avoid this conflict by maintaining discipline and purchasing a few stitch holders.

Right now I have more projects going at the same time than I've ever done before.  This past spring I started work on a ribbed winter men's hat, with no particular person in mind (Dad?  My friend G, who's been pestering me endlessly for a knit hat for about 2 years?)  I haven't gotten very far on that project:

At the same time, I took a knitting class on sweaters.  The catch was that we knit doll sweaters, to practice the different tips and techniques for sleeves, finishing, etc.  The sweaters are from a booklet called "The Little Book of Little Sweaters," published by Martha Moore, who is based in Sturbridge, MA (contact her at: The Running Rabbit in Sturbridge.)  I finished one, a roll-neck:

And got most of the pieces of another, a raglan-sleeve button up cardigan, done:

I paused the project as I was working on finishing the neck.  I loved this one, because I learned how to knit in a seamless pocket.  I really should finish it, because the sweaters are apparently the right size for American Girl dolls, and several of my young cousins are big American Girl doll fans, so I'd have a few things to add to the Christmas gift stash.

Both those projects got back-burnered due to the impending arrival of a longtime friend's baby girl.  I used to be a huge baby blanket knitter, gifting all my friends and relatives with baby blankets.  And then I hit my mid-30s, along with every other woman in my social circle and my family, and suddenly I couldn't go two weeks without a phone call or email saying, "Guess what!"  Madness.  I was getting carpal tunnel.  Plus, the blankets are too large to take with me in my bag for my commute, so I only have time to knit when I'm home, and with work and volunteer groups, I'm not home all that much.  But I've been friends with this woman for over 20 years, and I knit a blanket for her first baby, so I cast on for the blanket.  It's Jeannette Crews' Ridge Stitch Coverlet pattern, which is super easy - four repeating rows, of which one is knit and one is purl.  I can knit this while watching t.v., holding a conversation and drinking a glass of wine, and the pattern still works without a lot of counting.

FYI, the new baby was born July 6, and I'm only about halfway done with the blanket.  I console myself with the knowledge that it's summer and even with air conditioning, she does not need to be tucked under a blanket this heavy.  But fall is coming fast, so I'm trying to knit quickly.  It's problematic because it's hot and the last thing I want is a blanket over my legs when it's 90 degrees out.

And I've already started my holiday knitting - but that's a subject for another post.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


I was so excited to finish these socks.  When I cast them off the needles, I heard this in my head, I was so happy to be finished:

The pattern is totally amazing, but each sock took eons and for the first time in my life, I developed Second Sock Syndrome.  Possibly because I had to restart the first sock three times, and then on the second I had to rip back 25 rows to the heel, due to a mistake I made in the gusset.  After all my years of knitting, this was the first time I had ever tried to follow a chart.  I need more practice, clearly.

I persevered, though, and they're ready to go:

It's a shame that it's now over 90 degrees with 70% humidity in New England.  I have them sitting on a chair in my bedroom rather than in a drawer so I can admire them daily.  My husband leaves his store-bought socks out on top of his dresser all the time, so what's one pair on the chair?  I like them even more now that they've been cast off the needles.  And now, onto the next  project!