Archive for November, 2006

santa’s workshop

The following serves as further proof that I am maybe kinda not right. At one point I declared that I would not be knitting anything for Christmas this year. Obviously, I was full of it. This first thing I did over Thanksgiving break was whip up a pair of fingerless gloves using the Fetching pattern from Knitty. I had purchased a couple balls of Cashmerino Aran on sale a while ago, with this pattern in mind. I finally got around to knitting them this weekend and they went SO quickly. The thumb is not beautiful, but it’s passable. I prefer mitten and glove patterns with a thumb gusset, but using waste yarn to make the thumb opening was pretty easy, and it didn’t seem to affect the fit. These fingerless gloves will soon be deployed to Iraq to serve our country by warming the hands of CPT Jackie, JAG, and lifting her spirits while she does her thing over there.

I had to have something to keep my hands busy after Thanksgiving dinner, so I thought it appropriate to start a new project to take to my grandmother’s house. I ripped out the toe-up socks I started in August, since something about the short row heel was not working for me. I began on the Jaywalker pattern instead, since so many people have seemed to be so successful with it. Why am I knitting these socks? I dunno. Really, I just wanted to have something to work on, post-turkey, and I couldn’t take my dad’s sweater, of course.

(Sigh)…my dad’s sweater. I have harassed him no less than 4 times about his measurements, so any remaining hope of surprising him with a handknit sweater on Christmas morning is definitely out the window at this point. However, for my dad, the surprise will be if the sweater actually fits! (Unfortunately, I have established a Christmas tradition of presenting my dad with dad handknit items that are way too small. Hats that squish his head, specifically.) I am actually pretty close to the measurements he gave me, but the thing looks HUGE. I tried it on and it was a mini-dress on me. Seriously, just gimme a white belt and some leggings and call it 1986. I realize that my dad is a bigger person than I am, but I don’t think he’s THAT much bigger. I have a feeling that the raglan measurement he gave me was off, which would account for everything else being too large. We’ll see. Maybe he can grow into it.

And because I am really, very, not quite right, I also started knitting Christmas ornaments, using the pattern from Handknit Holidays. It’s one of those patterns you look at and think, “They’re cute, but knitting your own Christmas ornaments?! Pfft. Yeah right. I really have better things to do with my time.” Well, either I do NOT actually have better things to do with my time, or perhaps I was mesmerized by the little white lights I hung all over the apartment this weekend, because I suddenly decided that it would be a SUPER idea to knit about 20 of these! (Maybe 25.) I’m having a Christmas party in a few weeks, and I thought it would be just terribly charming to have each guest take one of these home with them. I actually got 8 of them done. And they are pretty cute. But knitting your own Christmas ornaments?? I mean, really.

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last one…i think…

I’ve now finished 7 bead and wire votive candle holders. I made another gold beaded votive sleeve (incorporating some larger beads this time) to go with the first set I made, and I think my sister will be receiving those 3 for Christmas. I completed 3 of the greenish-blue beaded votives, which will probably go to a friend, and made this gold and red one for my Secret Santa at work. Now, back to the yarn!

(I’ve also been distracted by another mini-project that I’ve been meaning to try for a while. I’ll probably finish it up this weekend, then get back down to the business of knitting my dad’s sweater!)

(Actually, I have made some good progress on my dad’s sweater, but it makes for pretty boring blogging.)

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more wire votives

I somehow wound up in the craft store last night and couldn’t resist trying the wire votive candle holders again, with a few changes. I finished one during several intermittent moments of free time while I was at work today. Here is my votive candle holder, enjoying some Power-flavored Vitamin water at my desk.

This time I used 26 gauge wire, which was much better than knitting with 24 gauge. It took less than 24 yards of wire to make 2 votive holders. I used about 150 beads for each votive, and for this set I tried using several different sizes of beads. I like the look better, but stringing them is a little more time consuming for me because I have issues and I had to make sure that the beads would be perfectly random. (That oxymoron makes complete sense to some of you and you KNOW it.) To seam the ends together, I just did some kind of makeshift seam with the tail of the wire. Nothing fancy. It’s not going anywhere, anyway. I thought I might get the willies from knitting the wire on metal needles, but it was fine. And the needles were unaffected by the wire. No scratches or anything.

Knitting with wire is a bit hurty on the hands, but not too, too bad. Although it did mangle my fingernails a little. I can see myself knitting a couple sets of these as Christmas gifts, but only because each votive is so small. You know when you start that the end is in sight! And they only take an hour (for Kelly) or so (for me). As with the first votive sleeves I made, I was skeptical about how it looked until the very end. I think you have to mentally prepare for the thing to be a bit on the unattractive side until all’s said and done. I’m actually starting to like knitting these little guys. I don’t love it, but it’s nice to have a quick and mindless project to pick up every now and then. And they’re cute! Ok, just a couple more votives and then it’s straight back to working on dad’s sweater!

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wire votives

Amidst all the sweater knitting last weekend, I also found time to whip up these little babies! Bead and wire votive candle holders a la Handknit Holidays. To be honest, I only glanced at the pattern to see what size needles they recommended. I was more directly inspired by Kelly at knitting club a few weeks ago. There’s not much pattern to it, really. Just pre-string your beads (approximately “a whole bunch”), cast on how many stitches you think you need (about “meh” or so), and knit in garter stitch until it wraps around your glass votive candle holder, knitting the beads in “ya know, when you feel like it.” To be a bit more specific, for these votives I used 24 gauge wire on size 8 needles, cast on 13 stitches, and knit for about 6.5″. If you use votive candle holders with straight sides, you need not worry about shaping! I used almost 30 yards of wire for the two votives. Knitting with wire wasn’t the most fun ever, but, being my first foray into housewares, it was something different for me—and they do go pretty quickly. I would probably use 26 gauge wire if I tried them again. I think they’re pretty enough to be gifted to someone this Christmas…I just have to decide on a “lucky” recipient!

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wip – dad’s cabled raglan

(Doesn’t a big ‘ol sweater crammed onto circular needles make the most glamorous in-progress shot??) Against my better judgment, holiday knitting is in full swing around here! Oh, I really do like it. I just didn’t know I liked it. I spent all day Sunday working on the cabled raglan sweater for my dad. I really like the yarn I’m using — Elann Peruvian Sierra Aran. It knits into a pretty soft fabric and I love the heathered colors. Although the color I received was not quite the color I expected, so I’d order a shade card if I decided to use this yarn again. I also found a bunch of knots in the last skein I knit. Hm. Maybe I’ll downgrade from “really liking” to simply “liking” this yarn. I’m using the top-down formula for the Incredible, Custom-fit Raglan Sweater. But I found the instructions for the collar to be kinda confusing. Well, maybe not confusing so much as sort of strange. The pattern has you knit back and forth on the collar before you knit in the round, so that the front will lay lower than the back and so that it actually fits over a person’s head. All that make sense. (Especially the part about fitting over someone’s head.) But, unless I’m misunderstanding the pattern, you just wind up with way more ribbing around the back of the neck than in the front, causing the collar to lean a bit toward the Star Trek side of things. So I ripped back and modified the collar (don’t ask me how) so that the neckline would still lay lower in the front, but so that the ribbing would be an even width all the way around. It was a pain in the neck—no pun intended—and I’m hoping that it will look ok in the end. But it has been fairly smooth sailing since the collar fiasco. After several not-so-subtle e-mails to my father about his measurements, and harassing knit bloggers more talented than I about the amount of ease in men’s garments, I think the fit should be pretty accurate. And I’m pretty comfortable with my pace so far, so I’m no longer worried about that impending Christmas deadline.

(I do plan on eating these words in late December.)

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lady eleanor

Allow me to introduce you to Lady Eleanor, from Scarf Style. I used 12 skeins of Noro Silk Garden on size 8 needles. It’s not easy being your own photographer, so the pics don’t really do her justice. I took these inside (…at night…in an antique glass mirror…), so you’ll have to take my word for it, but the colors in this yarn are positively luminous in natural light. At first I was underwhelmed by this colorway, but in the end, I’m really glad I chose #82. The fact that I don’t wear shawls suddenly occurred to me, about 7 or 8 skeins into it, but I think I’ll actually wear this one. I’m glad I purchased the extra skeins so that I can tie it in the front. It’s very cozy and warm and kind of romantic looking. (Lady Eleanor and I couldn’t be more different!) My only complaint is that Silk Garden is full of sticks and bark and twigs and leaves and branches and berries and rocks and probably small animals. Maybe that’s just the “Garden” part of the yarn. But it’s worth it. This is definitely one of my most satisfying knits.

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