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Posts Tagged ‘presents’

MUST KNIT, NO TIME TO BLOG!

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Okay, enough blogging, back to knitting!

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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!

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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.

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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:

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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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Yay!  I got Friday’s mystery bobble-involving project finished in time!  I may have still been working on it in the car on the way over, but what matters is that it was finished before I walked in the door.  Yes, that right there is a Dalek-shaped bodum cozy, a housewarming present for my fabulous sister, who got me into Doctor Who by showing me the first episode of Torchwood and then saying, “but it makes a lot more sense if you’ve seen Doctor Who.”  So I had to check out the 2005 reboot, one thing led to another, and before I knew it G and I were watching all of the extant episodes (I think John Pertwee is my favourite of the original doctors, although Tennant is “my” Doctor).

I worked from Caffeinate, a free pattern by Coryna Blasko.  I think her combination of ribbing and bobbles really captures the Daleks’ paneled look.  The only thing the pattern misses is their weapon and suction cup manipulator.  Like a few others on Ravelry, I worked a little i-cord to make up for the omission (to make the suction cup I increased as for a hat every second row until I reached my desired circumference, then decreased similarly and folded the resulting bulb in on itself to form a suction cup with no bumpy purl side), and shoved the plastic sticks from a couple of cotton swabs in so they’d stand up (it’s hard to fear a Dalek with a droopy suction cup arm).

There was a lot going on at the Hallo-warming party where my Dalek made his debut, so I didn’t get the kind of detailed, natural-light photos I might have hoped for, but I did get this snap of the bodum cozy boogie-ing down with a glow stick.  Who knew Daleks liked to dance?

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backwards day

A while ago, I read Knitty’s tutorial on how (and when/why!) to knit and purl backwards.  I figured it would be a good skill to develop if for no other reason than that I had just finished knitting La Plage for Vasilisa and you know what gets really tiresome?  Turning your cobweb-weight-on-1.75mm-needles knitting around every 3 stitches, yuck!  I can wholeheartedly recommend the technique to any knitter, though, as it comes in handy in a lot of projects.  Short rows!  Colourwork!  Bobbles!

I’m currently knitting away (frantically as usual) at a super secret project that involves bobbles.  It’s meant to be knit on a circular needle, but unfortunately I only have DPNs in the necessary size.  And not only that, it’s an old set of DPNs and I’m missing one (or maybe it only had 4 to begin with?  I guess some silly sets are like that).  The yarn I’m using is quite nice and grippy, which is a huge blessing because I swear to FSM I drop an average of 4 stitches every goddamn row since there is just not enough needle to hold all the stitches.  Anyway, I just want to thank Knitty for providing me with the tools to work my bobbles without turning my work since I’m pretty sure if I had to flip my project that many times the whole thing would disintegrate.  Here’s a teaser photo; more when it’s finished (hopefully by tomorrow afternoon, but we’ll see).

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This week at least I’m doing pretty well on my aim of knitting from stash – this yarn is some vintage Eaton’s Lady Fair Shetland Style acrylic/wool that a friend’s mom passed on from stash she wasn’t using any more.  So it’s like double stashbusting, right?  Totally balances out the sock yarn from earlier in the month!

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You may be wondering what I’ve been doing since my last post.  The answer?

Knitting & sewing together pansies.

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I made this epic tea cozy for my mother-in-law, a sweet lady who loves loves loves pansies.  It’s based on Loani Prior’s Rosie Posie Tea Cozy.  When I saw it in Wild Tea Cozies, I immediately thought of H, but it was my husband’s idea to do pansies instead of roses.  Of course, it turned out this was easier said than done…!  I searched Ravelry for pansy patterns, and the only one I found that looked “right” to me, I realised after printing it out that it was for knitting loom and not for knitting!  Now, I’m not afraid of trying new things, but in general I am more likely to try a new thing with a craft I know than to try a new craft altogether, so my response was to reverse engineer a knitted pansy from the explanation, photos, and to a limited extent the instructions on this other pattern.  I mean, I don’t even own a knitting loom…and I was on a deadline…

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The pansies turned out really well, and I plan to make the pattern available shortly – it just needs to have photos added and get .pdf-ed.  (EDIT: pattern is now available as a free download from Ravelry!)  They were quite satisfying to knit, but let me tell you, they were labour intensive!  I think in the end I sewed on only seven pansies, but including my first prototype and the pansy half of which got lost under a couch cushion and discovered around New Year’s, I knit a dozen of the darn things.  Five petals each, plus piecing together and “embroidery.”  The result was great, though, and the colours are perfect for her gorgeous kitchen!

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