Posts Tagged ‘household’


1. V-Junkie socks for G.  The same spiral pooling that was annoying me in the Mince Pie Mayhem pattern is working amazingly with the slipped stitches in V-Junkie.  There’s no way I’ll get these done by Christmas, though – just finishing the toe on #1 right now, though, so I’ll wrap that to put under the tree.


2. More Christmas decor!  Bundle-up Bears from Mochimochi Land and the beginnings of a jingling garland of bells.  As always, the Mochimochi Land pattern is unbelievably adorable, and of course well written; I’ve knit 4 so far and hope to do a couple more before winter’s end, including one in the specified yarn weight (as usual, I saw a cute thing and had to make it smaller, using sock yarn instead of worsted weight).  Two of the bears (centre & right) were knit while visiting family, and they stayed with G’s twin cousins (age 8); the white bear has now joined my MIL’s collection of festive Barrista Bears!



I have knit 2 jingle bells so far – it’s a long-term project, knitting a few every year out of my recent sock yarn scraps.  My eventual plan is to make a vertical hanging strand, along the lines of a rain chain.


3. Train Toque for The Nannee.  I knit this while away from home as well, so I’m not sure if the pattern is actually really large or if my gauge was off.  Either way, I ended up decreasing the number of stitches I cast on by about 15% and I still think the toque will be quite roomy for this particular little man.   Instead of repeating the 3 cars in the pattern (engine, car, and caboose), I made a longer train (engine, 3 cars, and caboose).  I also added earflaps ’cause his folks are from the Prairies and they are concerned about cold extremities.  Hope they are well-positioned – I decided to wing it, but they look approximately right.



4. Carol Service Cowl.  Left over beads!  Left over yarn (from my Angelus shawl)!  An awesome cowl pattern that’s been sitting in my library for a little while!  Do you think I can get it done in time to wear it before Christmas?  I don’t know!  But I’m sure going to try!


Okay, enough blogging, back to knitting!

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I met (most of) my goals!  And I didn’t even have to stay up all night, not even once in 17 days!

Check out The Brightest Socks – they are awesome!  We have had a few comments that they will be perfect for Christmas…which seems a bit odd to me since I don’t usually think of nuclear pink and orange (WHY does the pink insist on photographing so red?) as Decembery colours, but I totally dig the idea of a pic of us resting matching mismatched stocking feet on the coffee table with a lit tree in the background, don’t you?


I think this is the fastest I’ve ever knit a pair of socks.  I cast on at knit night, and finished at knit night two weeks later.  Well, we got kicked out due to the coffee shop closing, and I had to bind off sock #2 at home, but it was pretty much knit night to knit night!  Contrast this with the last pair (about 6 weeks), and the pair before that (more than 2 months) and you can see why I am so proud.

After abandoning my WIP goal, I settled on a different second project: to knit something from handspun, specifically my super-extra rustic linen from the Tour de Fleece.  Here’s the thing: in my summer job, I’m obliged to carry a phone at all times, which is a problem since women’s fashion seems not to believe in pockets.  So last year I knit myself a cute little shoulder bag just big enough for a phone and a keycard…only problem is, since it’s mauve, it clashes terribly when I have to wear my bright red staff t-shirt!  Enter the rustic purselet, complete with bonus kitty:


I went all the way to the last inch of yarn and the strap is still a tiny bit short.  But hey, it works!  And it’s basically seamless (if you consider picking up stitches to not be a seam…), using sock heel-style short rows to knit the bottom continuously from the front and sides.  It was a cool design challenge.  And the button matches that red staff shirt perfectly.

Now I’m ready to get back to the summer sweater KAL I started pretty much forever ago.  Never not knitting-along!

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Well, maybe there’s a little, but the first project I have to report on is a sewing project!


That right there is a duvet cover!  We received a couple of sheet sets for Christmas, and since we don’t use a top sheet, I thought it would be great to use them to make a coordinating cover.  I sewed it all by hand and it was an epic undertaking!  So much so that I didn’t have the heart to iron it (hence the close-up and no shot of it on the bed – actually, I don’t believe in ironing bedding unless it’s on display in a shop window!  But the sheets are so pretty I think it would almost be worth it…in a few weeks…).  I am starting to enjoy sewing more and more, and it’s great to be able to make things for the household.  As soon as I finish my monthly spinning goals, I have designs on sewing another dress from my Gracefaery pattern set!

Edit: I’ve noticed a number of folks arriving here after searching for how to make a duvet cover from sheets.  How did I do it?  I pinned 2 double flat sheets with wrong sides together, sewed a straight seam around 3 sides and a little ways around the bottom corners, and turned it right side out.  It fits my queen duvet pretty well, although it’s slightly narrower than a storebought queen duvet cover.  Yes, it was that simple! 

Speaking of the monthly spinning goals, here’s where “My Preciousss” stood as of yesterday.


It’s looking gorgeous, just taking a bit longer than I hoped.  I’ve spun up all 2.5 oz for this month, but I still have a lot of plying to do and only 4 days to do it in…!

I’ve also finished J’s wedding socks, and I think they look fantastic!  I’m anxious to find out if they fit, though – it’s my first time knitting socks for someone I couldn’t try them on as I went, and he & my sister have been busy honeymooning and then loving on their new kitten…ah, wedded bliss!



Incidentally, I wore a second pair of socks to take this photo – it just seemed wrong to put bare feet in someone else’s socks, but I hate how socks look without feet in them!

And finally, I took on a big project yesterday – tidying up my knitting basket that lives in the living room!  Check it out!


Current WIP, project bag, design notebook, I even went through all my notions canisters and organized them.  My favourite is this little box which contains my fancy stitch markers:


I had help, though – while I was going through my knitting basket, winding up little ends of yarn and piling up ball bands and scraps of paper to be recycled, Killira was leaning out of the cat tree trying to play with the yarn…or, since it was out of reach, my hair!



Yeah, she looks innocent, doesn’t she?  But we know better!


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Usually new things come easily to me.

Not so much colourwork.  I present for your amusement some extremely amateurishly tight stranded knitting, featured in my adaptation-for-45cm-BJD of Everything Old spinner, dyer, and designer Emma Galati’s Pevensie (which incidentally is a super sweet pattern that I foresee knitting in the intended size range some time down the road):


But let’s not dwell on the fact that I was so obviously, completely wrong when I thought it was just a bit too tight and would probably block out.  Let’s not think about the fact that I’m about to frog the whole thing back.  No, instead, let’s talk about how awesome the tonal variation in the two sock yarns I used for CCs looks.  Let’s focus on how the subtle shading works with the already awesome motif to enhance the illusion of three-dimensionality!  Because this combo of yarn and pattern is so awesome I’m not even going to try and pretend that a seed stitch ruffle was some kind of intentional finish to the garment.  No, I’m going to rip it back and make this coat perfect because it deserves that kind of attention!  See?


Incidentally, the red is leftover Everything Old Hopscotch from Mr. Salamander’s socks.  I think I’m pretty cool, using a designer’s yarn to execute her pattern.  The grey is my beloved Shibuiknits sock, and the white is Kroy and I still dislike it pretty much the most of any sock yarn I’ve knit with (thankfully this is my last ball of the stuff, and I think this pattern will pretty much use it up).

I’ve hidden my other project under a jump for those of you who don’t like to be thinking ahead to Decembery decoration yet.  I mean, sure, wait ’til after Thanksgiving, right?  But here in Canada that was already over a month ago, so NYAH!


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It’s been all wool all the time here recently, which feels right since the sky has turned permanently grey and it’s chilly and rainy most of the time.  Cuddling up on the couch, knitting with wool on bamboo needles as I sip spiced black tea is pretty much the only way to get through November in Victoria.  Winter does wonders for my productivity, though…first up, Mr. Salamander’s socks are finished!


Actually, as best I can remember, I finished them sometime about ten days ago, but I haven’t had an opportunity to photograph them properly.  What with the time change and winter coming on, there’s a pretty slim margin of photograph-ready time between Mr. Salamander coming home from work and the sun going down, and I’ve been very busy with music stuff as well.  So finally yesterday we he took a break from playing Skyrim and I got some natural-light photos.  I really enjoyed this pattern (Paper Moon from the recent Knitty).  It was easy to memorize but I never found it boring, and of course it looks fantastic in this yarn.  Speaking of which, I envy Mr. Salamander so hard right now, because not only was Everything Old’s Hopscotch sock yarn a treat to knit up, it feels fantastic on the feet, soft and smooth, but springy enough that I’m sure the socks will wear well.  It’s a good thing his feet are bigger than mine, or I’d probably steal these right off his feet!

I’ve also started some Christmas knitting.  Every year, sometime in the summer, someone mentions that they’re knitting/crocheting/designing something for Christmas and I think “Hmm, that’s a good idea, avoiding the last minute rush.  But I gave X and Y such-and-such last year and I probably don’t need to do any holiday knitting this year.”  Invariably, sometime in October or November some brilliant idea occurs to me and I just have to make this gift which will totally be perfect for someone on my list.  So here I am, in mid-November, having just finished one such gift, and about to start a second.  I won’t post details until after the holidays, but here’s a teaser photo of the finished item.  It’s knit from Noro Kureyon, and although the colourway wasn’t quite what I thought it would be from looking at it in a ball (when is it ever, with Noro?), I like it a lot.


As part of my ongoing self-challenge to become a better knitter, I tried out the fourth method for evening out ribbing presented at TECHknitting, “Slipping.”  It’s definitely more work than just working normally, although as she writes, my fingers did learn to do it pretty quickly.  There are lots of times when I don’t imagine I’d bother with this technique, but for anything with all-over ribbing, or for gift projects like this one, it does really make a difference on that last, messy knit stitch.  I wish I’d known about it when I did my last doll sweater commission!

Finally, I continue to add to the hope chest.  Sheepy Soakers are my current go-to simple transportable project.  I picked up several colours of Cascade 220 wool and I figure I’ll knit 1-2 soakers out of each, then put the remnants together into a Sheepy Sack or two.  I’ve also started embellishing them (colourwork is another technique I’m challenging myself to become more comfortable with)…with sayings from Supernatural, of course.  Remember at the end of Season Five when Castiel is trying to get someone’s attention?  If you don’t, you should go watch it, right now.  It’s an amazing episode in a fantastic season.  Anyway, it was too perfect not to put on a soaker:


I actually charted out the full sentence (“Hey, ass-butt!”) but apparently when I cast on for this sucker (in the dark while watching an orchestral concert) I mistakenly cast on something in between newborn and small size, instead of the actual number for small as I’d intended, which meant I didn’t have as many rows as I thought I would and I had to cut something.  Not that I’d, you know, calculated out the correct number ahead of time or anything.  I think I’ll try the full sentence again, maybe on a medium size soaker, and I’m thinking of charting the protection-from-demon-possession sigil as well, because goodness knows babies are tough enough to look after without being possessed by evil beings as well!

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Somehow in almost five years of living together, G and I have never managed to own a normal number of hot mats or trivets.  I think we had two – one is glass and gets brought out for special occasions; the other is wood and was regularly used for the teapot up until its recent demise, when the glue holding the laminated pieces together finally dissolved after washing it for the umpty-ninth time.  So now we have two useless half-trivets and one I-can-hardly-stand-the-clanking glass one.  Not a sustainable situation!

Fortunately, G had an idea!  We were talking about this video of Rachel John knitting with 1000 strands of yarn and he said, “Could you make a hot mat like that?  Holding, like, 20 strands of dishcloth cotton together?  You could use dowel from my wood shop for needles!”  Well, dowel sounded a lot less comfortable than the smooth plastic 12mm needles in my stash, but the idea was a great one, as you can see!



In the end, I used 12 strands for the square mat and 8 for the round one, working from both ends of several balls of dishcloth cotton.  For the square one, I cast on 9 stitches and worked in seed stitch until it was square-ish.  The round one is worked flat, in garter stitch, then sewed up.  I cast on 5 stitches and increased 5 across every right-side row until it was “large enough.”  Either bind off on a wrong side row or, as I did, increase 5 while binding off.  These mats only took about 1/3 of each of the balls of yarn I had, so it would be a great project if you’ve been knitting dishcloths and have leftovers in several colours!  I think you could go as few as 4 strands and still have a decent hot mat.

Yes, it was a bit unwieldy…two mats was about as much as I could manage in a day before my wrists started hurting from wrestling with such a thick “yarn.” But they’re so cheerful!  I will definitely be making more, and you should too!

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