Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

It occured to me the other day that I don't really talk about the process of starting a project.  Most of my yarn comes in skein form:

This is the best kind because it means I can pull from the center of the ball, find the end, and begin my project.  Some people prefer to wind their yarn in a ball, but I'm really against doing extra work.  Sometimes, the yarn comes twisted together, like this:

Mmm, Madeline Tosh sock yarn - the BMW of sock yarns

I see this most often with hand-dyed and hand-painted yarns.  The downside of this is that sometimes while storing it, you end up with this:

Sock yarn purchased in 2011 in Watkins Glen, NY - beautiful, but oh, what a mess
I love hand-dyed and hand-painted yarns, but in order to use it properly, you must wind it into a ball.  I've accomplished this at home by asking my beloved husband to hold his arms up like football uprights while I drape the yarn around both arms, find the end, and begin rolling the ball.  This is tedious for everyone involved.  Particularly him, who often gets stuck figuring out where the jam is on the yarn and wiggling his arms around to help straighten out the jam.  He does this out of a deep & abiding sense of love, since it is so boring.  (Even I hate it, and I love yarn.)

So for Christmas, I decided to give us both a gift and ask for a yarn swift:

Instead of Himself being trapped on the couch for half an hour (or more), I can set this one to fit whatever skein of yarn I want to roll into a ball and leave him out of it completely.  Plus, it's a new knitting toy so it hasn't lost its attractiveness to me yet so I now find winding yarn fun.  Go figure.

He also bought me Vogue Knitting, a book on techniques, terminology & all things knitting.  It's ten years old but is considered The Bible of knitting by serious knitters.  Also, it's the only thing with "Vogue" in the title that will be found in our house, ever.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Birthday Socks

January & February are big birthday months on my calendar - almost every day for both months I know someone who is having a birthday.  Sometimes I know more than one person on a particular day.  Very few people get birthday socks, however.  That's because I am so fried from Christmas and because Facebook makes it easy for me to zip off a quick post and call it done.  I had three pairs go out in the first 34 days of 2013 - a pair of socks for my mother (Jan. 2), my toddler cousin M (Jan. 4) and M's big sister A (Feb 3.)  That's a lot of socks in a short time span.  Of course, I only remembered to photograph my mother's:

Accurate color of the socks, but no visible pattern

Hello, Vorticity!

This is the Vorticity pattern that I have used on my own socks & the pair I did for my MIL for her birthday back in November.  The original book pattern uses a darker colorway for the socks than I had previously used, and is very simliar to the yarn I chose for this (Regia Blitz Color - gray) so I was happy to see that the pattern still shows well.  Of course the Sock Mon....I mean, Mom, loves the socks.  She keeps raving about how warm they are.  Which they are, but that's the yarn, not the pattern.  My pair is made out of a bamboo/rayon blend, and they are as cool and breezy as a fan blowing on your feet.  Not really, but that paints a nice picture, doesn't it?

Currently on the needles are socks for Goddaughter E's birthday, March 21.  I picked a Lorna's Laces hand-dyed yarn in Girly Stripe, which I though would make thicker bands of color, but instead does alternating pink and purple stripes by row:

I am using Classic Socks for the Family as the pattern, which is what I use for all the childrens' socks I make.  I like variegated yarns (as do the kids - "Look ma, wild socks!") so I don't put the effort in of following a chart for a sock pattern because they are going to outgrow whatever I make them anyway.  I do hope the socks are being saved somewhere, or handed down to another family, because it would kill me to think they were just being tossed when they didn't fit.  (If anyone is doing that, stop it.  You're killing me.)

Can I just tell you how much my wrists ache these days?  And how sick I am of socks?  And yet there are more to come.  I am going to switch everyone over to woven throws.  Bet that will be real popular with the kids.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Holiday 2013 Roundup

Apparently I've been doing more crafting than blogging for the last couple of months.  I finished a slew of projects in the days leading up to Christmas.  A couple of children's hats:

Mmm, cupcakes

This hat looks better on a small person. 

These hats were for two of my favorite children, Super G and Marvelous M. Sadly, the designated hats did not fit their intended recipients, but their mother is not rigid in her observation of colors for genders, so she put the cupcake hat on her son and the Viking hat on her daughter.  Both children immediately yanked them off.  But in their defense, we were inside at the time.  And they're toddlers.

I also wove a scarf for my mother for Christmas:

My mother has been referring to it as a "neck warmer" because it is apparently shorter than she would like.  She also mentioned that she'd like a throw for the couch made from the same yarn next year.  I don't have the heart to tell her what the yarn for the "neck warmer" cost, but suffice to say I'll be using a base color purchased in 1 pound bulk from Michael's or Joann Fabrics for that throw.

Dad got a hat:

I feel guilty because my father's never gotten anything hand-knit from me - by the time his birthday rolls around in May I'm burned out from the holidays & late winter birthdays and all I want to do is knit stuff for myself.  Plus, he's not a scarf or sweater guy (just like my husband) and who wants a knit item for a May birthday?  (Besides my mother, the Sock Monster.)  I had started this hat last year but never finished it.  He was very pleased with the hat - he apparently needed a new one.  I figured he would wear it out around the yard, shoveling the driveway, etc., but he's been wearing it out everywhere, according to mom.  And now my guilt is lessened.  J has the same hat style, in gray.  He got his last year.

Goddaughter E got some socks:

I love the colors, but I am sad I had to adjust the sizing from child's large to a modified ladies' small when I knit this pair.  Stop growing up, damn it!  Only 8 more years until college.  Her mother shrieks when I mention that.

And once again, J got the shaft on the handknit gifts and received....nothing.  Which is worse than last year, when he got one sock for his birthday.  I intended to knit him a new pair of socks - I even special ordered two yarns I felt would match nicely to the 12,432 pairs of khakis in shades of green-grey that currently populate his section of the closet.  He's been muttering that he would like socks that coordinated better than tan or black and he's still muttering.  The road to hell, good intentions and all that.  Ah well, our anniversary is coming up in April.