December 31, 2005

Fuzzy feats

It has been so very lovely having nothing that really *has* to be done. I finished my little sister's scarf in time to send it back to Seattle with her, and it was just a simple garter stitch scarf on size 11 needles, knit until the skein was gone. I've sent her a list of hat possiblities for her to choose from, but until I hear back from her, the hat can just wait, especially while I do other things just for fun.

I went yarn shopping with a friend on Thursday morning and picked up three skeins of Noro because I decided it was about time I made myself a Booga Bag, just like all the cool kids have. The colors are vibrant jewel tones - turquoise and green, purples and blues and a streak of rust thrown in just for kicks. It includes six feet of i-cord, but I actually like making i-cord because it is so very mindless and because it is only a few stitches per row it just zips by.

The bag is waiting to be felted because I decided I might as well felt everything all together in one load. I've got this leftover heathered grey wool and Richard needs some new slippers, so I am making him his very own pair of fuzzy feet. Normally I might cringe at making another pair of socks for him because he has much larger feet than I, but I'm using size 11 needles so it just flies. I like this ability to make things using large needles. Much less squinting and swearing than with those size 0's I used for that doily. Heh.

Oh. And since it is Richard's birthday today, I can now show pictures of the secret project, which I actually finished after I gave it to him because it turned out I needed to add another foot of length.

What better thing to make for a guy who loves penguins and is also a big Linux geek than a Linux illusion scarf?

I found the pattern months ago, so it was rather convenient I learned how to do illusion knitting at the retreat in November. I bought myself some Plymouth Encore, and cast on for the scarf while at the retreat, the night I learned the technique, and I've been sneaking in knitting time on it ever since. Even on size 6 needles this scarf went fairly quickly, considering the time I had to work on it when Richard wasn't around. And now I am pondering making one for myself - perhaps one with snowflakes.

But for now, I am all about the fuzzy feet and the felting. And also possibly some afghans becausein a small fit of stash reorganization and cleaning yesterday afternoon I found the pile of autumn leaf colored yarn I'd bought for myself last summer and after making all those afghans for everyone else I think it is time I made one just for me.

Posted by Jenipurr at 01:02 PM | Comments (1)

December 28, 2005

Finally getting the hang of it

On Saturday my knitting mom gave me a call. She had to make a baby sweater by Friday and she knew I had the knitting machine - which I still hadn't really learned how to use - and was wondering if we could figure it out together so she could try to whip out the sweater in time. Monday we ran into her and her grandkids at one of the stores while doing the after-Christmas shopping and it turns out she went out and took advantage of a 40% off coupon, so bought her own knitting machine, but she wasn't getting any further than I did. So we made plans to meet today, both of us with our machines, rightly figuring that if the two of us were fighting with them together, maybe we'd be able to make heads or tails of the whole process and also get a baby sweater out of the whole ordeal.

So this morning I packed up all the pieces and parts of my knitting machine and I headed off to her house, and we set both the machines up and got started. There was a lot of grumbling under our breath and not a small amount of swearing, and each of us managed to produce a decent sized swatch. So then we decided that if we could do that much we might as well tackle the sweater because, it being for a baby, it is made of small pieces and maybe we could handle them. She cast on for the back and her machine started giving her a lot of trouble, but I cast on for a sleeve and miracle of miracles, it worked. There was a small kitten zipping around the house while we did all of this, and I think this was actually a good thing because there were a few times when we were very much in need of a kitten's rattley purr and comic relief.

By this time we had been at it a few hours, so we took a break for lunch and I got to try all the traditional Swedish Christmas foods, like pickled herring and creamed herring, and headcheese (which is sort of like a gray lumpy liverwurst kind of thing) and some kind of beans which were surprisingly sweet, and cardamom rolls and pickled beets, and a strangely pale and gray potato sausage that was quite delicious, and then paper thin spice cookies with slivers of almonds in them. And then fresh from lunch and starting to get excited about finally figuring out this darn contraption I whipped out the second sleeve in about fifteen minutes and while her machine still wasn't playing nicely I also did the two front sections. And by the time I was finished with those she had finally wrestled her machine into submission and even though she ran into one more snag, the back piece was pretty close to done by the time we finished with our afternoon. So it was all very exciting, especially in that we were able to crank out all the pieces for a baby sweater in one day. It amused us because a knitting machine is actually hard work and we can see that if one used it a lot one would build up some impressive upper arm muscles. There is still finishing and seaming to do so no matter what, there will always be some work that has to be done by hand. But for the boring long stretches, this machine is marvelous.

Posted by Jenipurr at 08:35 AM

December 26, 2005

Done with Christmas

I did not fall off the face of the earth, unlike it might have appeared. Sorry about that. I'm taking part in Holidailies over at A Cat By Any Other Name, which is my regular, non-knitting journal, and between that and the frantic pre-Christmas knitting - made infinitely worse by all those damn scarves I had to do for the food fight - and also coming down with the death virus of '05 (ear infection and sinus infection because just one wouldn't have been nearly 'fun' enough!), I just ran out of any time or energy to update here.

So, speaking of all those food fight scarves. The 18th marked the last day of the church food drive. It was the last morning to collect food, and I am so very, very glad that we do not have to make more scarves for the final pile of donations because my team donated so much I think I would have had to make possibly up to ten more scarves and I think that would break me. I am so amazingly sick of making scarves.

My knitting mom and I passed out all of the scarves we had so far, which 'equalled' the 2700 pounds of food donated, and got 27 people to come up to the front as a visible indication of just how much the church had accomplished. Even though I would probably cry from having to make the scarves to match it, it would have been even more fun to bring up a crowd of 40 people, since final totals stand at just a bit over 4000 pounds. But considering the aforementioned scarf-knitting-overload issue, I can live with this teeny little disappointment.

Once the scarf knitting was finally done, one might have thought it would have been smooth sailing til Christmas. But that was before the cold from hell attacked me. Plus there was the matter of not having the right size needles and also having a pattern that turned out to be wrong no matter what I or anyone else tried to do to figure it out, and the most complicated project I needed to do did not even get started until Thursday. Ha ha ha! Fun times!

But I actually did get it all finished, and even though I was up at 1:30 am on Christmas morning pinning out the doily for blocking, and even though I was sewing eyes onto five snowmen in the dark on the road up to Napa at 6 in the morning in order to get them done to hand out to little kids, and even though I was webbing the feet on the platypus and adding the eyes on Christmas afternoon, after I'd already gifted him, it still counts as done by Christmas.

Now I am heaving huge sighs of relief, especially since a wonderful doctor gave me magic pills (zithromax) to make the death virus go away and allow me to not only hear with both ears, but to breathe through my own nose again. The only project still on the plate is the secret one, but I have until New Year's Eve to finish that one and there is so little left to do that it wil require no late nights at all. And I am in such a happy place, having finished all my Christmas knitting on time, that I even gleefully encouraged my little sister to pick out some gorgeous fluffy Lion Brand Homespun to whip up a scarf (yes, another scarf!) and a hat for her before she heads back to Seattle. I have all week off from work! I have nothing but time!

So in the meantime, here are pictures.

The platypus, made from random worsted weight acrylic. Pattern is from World of Knitted Toys. Eyes are buttons from my mom's magical can of buttons that has been passed down through generations, and which I will get if I am very lucky some day.

Yes, more snowmen! Are you as sick of snowmen as I am? Ha ha! There are only three here because this picture was taken after I handed them all out and I really did not want to go searching through my older sister's house to try to find the other two. There is one more with sparkly hat and scarf set (those three were for the little kids, naturally) and one more with a red hat and a green and white striped scarf. The non-sparkly ones were for my two sisters. And with that, we are done with the snowmen! Done!

And this - oh, I am pretty damn proud of this. Size 0 needles. #30 crochet cotton. Pattern is here. I liked it so much I am strangely tempted to make more doilies, even though I have no clue what the heck I would do with them. Quick, someone wave sock yarn under my nose until the feeling passes!

Posted by Jenipurr at 05:27 PM | Comments (3)

December 14, 2005


Snowmen are done. Well. Done except for the eyes, but those will only take a little bit of work and at this point I am so tired of snowmen that they can just sit there in their red and green hats and scarves and be blind for a while.

I'm back to working feverishly on scarves. I am also getting very tired of scarves, and am really looking forward to when this food drive is done so I do not have to make any more scarves.

Other projects? Sigh. Somehow I am going to have to make a platypus and a pair of socks in exactly one week, since I suspect I will have no time to work on either of those before Monday. Saturday is choir practice and then we're off to the in-laws for tree trimming festivities, and I suspect I will still be on scarf auto-pilot at that point. Sunday the only knitting time I assume I will get will be at the knitting group, and I am hopeful that that time will be spent finishing the secret project. So the mad finish-it-by-Christmas-dash will just have to wait until Monday.

Assuming, of course, that I am not suddenly required to make any more snowmen. Or scarves.

Posted by Jenipurr at 07:58 AM | Comments (1)

December 06, 2005

Attack of the scarves

I know, after all the whining and yammering on and on I have been doing about those extra snowmen, one might expect that the picture posted in this entry would be of snowmen, wearing cute sparkly red hats with sparkly green pom poms.

Unfortunately, the picture of finished snowmen will have to wait yet another week (and possibly longer).

I'd mentioned earlier that my knitting mom and I are the team leads for the church 'food fight' (food drive). Originally we were going to do one inch per 10 pounds. And I, at least, was sticking to that. But my knitting mom got way ahead of herself, so we finally changed it to one scarf per 100 pounds. This was fine for her, but not so fine for me, since I'd been dutifully only doing one inch per ten pounds, and suddenly I had to go from one nearly finished scarf to seven, all in one week.

Luckily my knitting mom was willing to donate one to the cause, since she realizes I don't have as much knitting time as she does. And also luckily, my team boasts a marvelous crocheter, who volunteered to make a scarf or two to add to the pile. So by the time the Sunday before last rolled around I had the required seven.

Below you see five scarves - last week's and this week's (the lady who crochets made another one for me - phew!). I'm not including the four scarves made and donated by other people (which brings me to the current requirement of 9 scarves total).

The grey one is made from superwash wool, in my favorite broken rib pattern. The pink and white swirled one is a 4x4 basic basket weave stitch, made from some Bernat Berella 4. The brown one and the blue one are basic garter stitches from Lion Brand Homespun, and the one on the right is a 1x1 rib, made from some donated varigated yarn in cream, cranberry, and a dark, dull green.

I have to admit that I have actually been having fun making these. For one thing, every single bit of yarn I'm using for all of these scarves (plus the ones I will likely have to do in the weeks to come) has come directly from my stash, allowing me to use up a rather sizable pile of yarn I didn't really have any other use for anyway. I am quite pleased with this because one of my after-Christmas plans is to drag all my yarn out from all the various places I have stashed it, dump it into a big pile on the floor, and get it all organized again. And the hope is that with all this stash busting I'm doing, all in the name of charity, I'll have cleared out space in my yarn bins - giving me the perfect excuse to buy more!

I should note that I have been steadily plugging away at the snowmen, regardless of the unexpected glut of scarf knitting. I have three additional projects to get done by Christmas (no, make that four - I keep forgetting about the secret project), but I am actually still feeling pretty confident that I will get it all done. Even if it does all have to wait until after the food drive ends because I am too busy making scarves, scarves, and more scarves.

Posted by Jenipurr at 10:02 AM