Sunday, July 19, 2009

Monkeying Around

I saw a book in Crafter's Choice recently that made me laugh. It was about repurposing old pillowcases. Ya, wha-a-at? So I ordered Craft Challenge: Dozens of Ways to Repurpose a Pillowcase from the library and much to my surprise and chagrin, it is actually a really fun book.

So much so, that Friday night, I dug out some funny monkey fabric I'd picked up for some long forgotten project and made a groovy little project bag in about 45 minutes. It was fast, fun and now I have a nice sized, summery monkeyshines bag to haul around my latest WIP.

Which as it turns out, fits my latest project in the "Wrestling WIPs" challenge, My Lacy Stole. The yarn is Sundara's Basil over Buttercup, which I think is currently part of her July month of color. The hues and sparkle to this yarn is wonderful and it is lovely to knit with. And best of all, I have only 11 more pattern repeats and then I am done.

The pattern is free from Lion Brand and easy to do, if you cheat like I do--using stitch markers to remind me where every repeat is, and an excel chart of the stitch pattern that I check off on each row, so it is never an issue which row I am on.

Oddly enough, I haven't had the least urge to cast on any new projects--there has been a real delight in picking up these old, nagging WIPs and just getting them done. I think that is because I know that next month I am going to dive head first into Christmas knitting. I have three projects I want to cast on and finish over the month, and then I will be well ahead in my usual Fall panic over "what the heck to knit for Christmas???!!"

Am I jumping the gun? Are you knitting for Christmas yet?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Wrestling Socks

I joined the WIPs Wrestlemanis 2009 group on Ravelry, (Team: Burning Down the Stash) with the much needed goal of spending the month of July cleaning out the old works in progress that need to be, well, finished. And I dug out a few:

  • Six pairs of socks
  • 1 Lace Stole
  • 1 Lace scarf
  • 1 cardigan

So I attacked the socks first, going after all my cast-on craziness that I'd done during May and June while I was stuck at home. I've been devouring Cat Bordhi's book New Pathways for Sock Knitters, and pulling from the stash to make her wonderful examples.

These are the socks I started at Madrona last February in Cat's class on Sock Architecture. Knit on 0 dpns, and using the Riverbed architecture, they were a great learning sock. I even finished them with this cuff, which I find I like better than your usual K2P2.

I also had these socks on the needles, but I didn't like the plain heel that I had done on the first one:

So I frogged it back and did a reinforced heel. Then I noticed that there isn't a single heel in Cat's book that isn't done with anything other than a reinforced heel. Now I know why, especially when you see the difference:

I've one more pair of socks off the needles and just in need of few finishing touches then it is onto my Lacy Stole which has languished for far too long.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Goodness, Time Flies

When you have pneumonia. Sorry for the long absence, but shortly after the last post, I got pneumonia and my Spring disappeared from me and now here it is Summer. At least I could see my peonies from the window and enjoy their splendor this year. We really had an awful winter, but the payback was a glorious load of peonies.

As for the pneumonia, it hit fast, hard and kept me down. You know you are really, truly, see-the-light-sick when you don't even feel like knitting for several weeks. Yeah, that sick.

But once I got to the point where I could knit, my Dad had come to stay with us and help take care of me. I was knitting this pair of socks at the time:

And he would take the kids to school or run out to get groceries and all that other stuff I couldn't do, and when he got back, he would check for progress to make sure I had stayed on the couch and wasn't getting up and doing stuff. Like I really I wanted to. He made me laugh as he counted rows and nagged at me to take care of myself. Yes, Dad! He was so good to come up from Southern Oregon to spend a week with us. We really didn't want him to go.

BTW, the socks are from Cat Bordhi's book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters, using the Riverbed architecture. Which, come to look at them, I did wrong. But here is the joy and beauty of Cat's sock philosophy--they still worked out just fine.

Being housebound, I've been forced to knit from the stash, but I've found a real joy in using what I have. Odd as it might sound, getting this sick has turned out to be a blessing in many ways. It brought a lot of things into focus, including giving me back a real joy in using what I have.

My mom had been with us the week earlier when I couldn't knit, and she brought with her some knitting (she likes to make premie hats to go with the quilts she makes and donates) and I accused her of taunting me with knitting. She laughed and kept on knitting. But huge props go out to both my folks for jumping in with both feet without even having to be asked. That's why Terry and I love them so much. That and they both are great cooks and good company. What more would you want when you are sick? Or well, for that matter!

Not to be outdone by Mom's charitable endeavors, I worked on my Warm for Winter hats. I felt the need to give thanks for feeling better, and what better way is there than some charity knitting. I like to knit at least 12 hats each year for this wonderful endeavor, and so I knit these two:

This is Elizabeth Zimmerman's A Very Warm Hat. I love it because it is fun to knit, a great way to use up leftover stash and makes, just as the title implies, a very warm hat for someone who has to be outside all day. I also make sure to always do these in wool, since wool stays warm even when it is wet, and in Seattle in the winter, it is hard to stay dry, let alone warm.

This hat, the Swirled Ski Cap, from Knitting for Peace, is also from leftovers and was intended to go with a baby present, but the hat is more large toddler sized, so it is going into the Warm for Winter pile, since sadly, kids end up out there as well.

Seems funny to talk about knitting for winter in the middle of summer, but I find I like knitting these sort of smaller projects this time of year.