Since the 80's, I've been winding balls of yarn by flipping over a chair (so its legs are in the air), throwing the skein over the chair legs, and winding a center-pull ball around my thumb. Lately, I've gotten lazy and placed the skein around my knees, but that invariably ends in tangles that take a half-hour to straighten out.
But today, those days are over, because thanks to my hubby, I now have a swift and a ball winder.
Long live the yarncake! Hurrah!
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Mangy Decrepit (but beloved) 1950's Santa says Merry Christmas!
When I was a kid, he could walk and shake his bell, but now he just kind of lurches from side to side like a drunk, so I don't ask him to walk anymore. As I recall, I used a bit of White-Out on his eyebrows and 'stache a couple of years ago, which is why they look so bright. It's just not Christmas without Mangy Decrepit Santa.
(I do realize that he should probably be thrown out and would likely frighten children if we had any, but he was my favorite decoration growing up and I'm quite attached to him. And a civilized nation doesn't toss their elderly just because they can't walk and shake a bell anymore).
As you can see, Santa's gotten a bit of a head start at our house. As I understand it, he likes to knock the adults off a bit early so he can concentrate on the children Christmas Eve.
Our tree came from the woods this year, and it's my favorite ever. I don't mean a tree farm, I mean the woods. The company I work for had some tree harvesting to do for a client, so they chopped down some Christmass-y trees. Luckily the boss had a spare that I could take home. I like the fact that it looks like a real tree, not a perfect pyramidal "Christmas" tree. It even came pre-decorated with little pinecones. Now I am spoiled and want my tree to come from the woods every year.
The amaryllis and Star of Bethlehem are in bloom, and beside the Santa, the tree, and one creche, they are our sole indoor decorations. Oh, plus one fake poinsettia that I bought at Michael's. (You can't tell unless you look closely, and the real ones are poisonous to pets, so I figured fake could be excused). All the gifts are wrapped (well, mine at least; hubby's still shopping). I even finished the mittens in time (but forgot to photograph them, and they've already been gifted).
Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope you are enjoying the holiday season and having a wonderful time with those you love!
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The Knitting WPA would like to announce two new projects: the Nantucket Sweater from the cover of Interweave Knits and a pair of mittens.
I started on Sleeve Island for the Nantucket Sweater. It's being knit from Berroco Ultra Alpaca, which is a soft cushy yarn and SUCH a bargain. Big skeins, small price. The stitch definition could be better for this sweater, though. It does all right on the cables, but the thinner "twists" aren't that well-defined.
The color is more accurate in the top photo-kind of an acid/apple green. If you click on the Berrocco link above, it's the color on their website.
I should be on the mainland with this sweater by early next week, depending on how hard I work on the mittens.
One day last week, my boss's wife S was in the office and she spied my Estonian mittens. She couldn't believe I knit them, and once the boss found out, he wanted a pair, too, for when he's duck hunting. I had a fabulous pair picked out from the book and camouflage colors purchased
but after talking to him about precisely what he liked about my mittens (warmth without bulk), I realized the mittens I had chosen would be too bulky. And he wants his initials on the back, so I'll incorporate those into the design somehow.
The bummer is that I really fell in love with that pattern and now I can't use it. I thought about using it on the back of the mitten, leaving the palm thin and flexible, but the boss nixed that idea too. (I was going to start new strands on each row--I like the pattern so much I was willing to do that). What I'm thinking now is a row of the pattern at the cuff, then a diagonal line of three individual squares across the back of his hand with his initials next to them. The goal is stylin' but still flexible. Although I have to admit, part of me is thinking, "you're getting nice handknit mittens, you'll take what you get and like it, dammit.*"
But now I really have to finish the hubby's ultra-boring sweater or he'll get jealous. That pattern's going to have to change--there is no way I am ever finishing a k2p2 ribbing sweater. In black. It does look bad that I ditched his sweater for the boss's mittens, but that's just because the mittens aren't stultifyingly dull. Knitting that sweater is like being hit on the head with a baseball bat.
*Speaking of "dammit," we learned this past weekend that the 4-year-old for whom I knit Beary can cuss. She and I were playing a highly competitive game of air hockey (telling you, kid's got the moves) and when I scored a goal on her she quietly said, "Oh, damn." The first two times we were laughing too hard to correct her but by the third time it became evident she had to be stopped. Next up: belching the alphabet!
Posted by Martita at 1:52 PM
Friday, December 08, 2006
Sorry if you all have a Steve Miller earworm for the rest of the day. I know I do!
Norma mentioned the Soaring Eagles project a few days ago, and I knit this hat for them:
If you have some acrylic, cotton or superwash hanging around your house and enough time to whip up a hat or headband, please think of them. Rachel needs about 150 more hats by Dec. 18th in order to be able to give every student at her school one. It won't work unless every student gets a hat, so please help her out if you can! I'm working on a second hat now, a pink cotton one from a pattern on the Soaring Eagles Project website. I know a lot of you might be charity-knitted-out, but if there's anyone left out there with an ounce of energy, Rachel could really use the help.
Additionally, there's been some spinning. I finished two bobbins of the blue/green Grafton Fibers batts I bought at Spa last year and later decided I hated. Not the batts (l*o*v*e Grafton Fibers batts), but the colors. I had toyed with the idea of giving the completed yarn away. Others had suggested that life was too short to spin colors you dislike and thought I should sell the unspun batts. But ultimately I thought I would donate the yarn to Claudia's MS ride.
Except then I plied it up, and realized that yarn this crappy cannot be given in exchange for money, not even a donation to a good cause. It's my first attempt at Navajo plying, but that's not the only problem. The singles were underspun and fell apart on me while plying--so there are all these lumps and loops where I tried to patch the plies together. And the plying is too tight, resulting in a ridiculously kinky yarn. A lumpy, loopy, kinky, craptacular yarn.
And to make matters worse, I may have decided I like it. I'm really on the fence about this. I think it's pretty, I'm just not sure I want an entire sweater of it. Now that it's plied up, I can see how the muted batt mellowed out the bright batt, so the bright batt yarn looks jewel-like instead of screaming 80's neon. When I bought the batts, I said to myself, gee, I haven't had a teal sweater since 1985. But this experience has taught me that the reason I haven't had a teal sweater is because I don't like teal. So we'll see. I may still give the yarn away (with a major disclaimer), if anyone is willing to deal with deeply wretched yarn. However, I'm not sure I can even give this yarn away with a clear conscience, partly because I'm not sure words can convey how very bad it is, and the camera lies.
In happier spinning news, I couldn't resist spinning up a bobbin of the new fleece.I'm afraid this might be underspun, too, since I used barely any twist. It spins up crazy quickly--this bobbin took at most 2 hours--and is a fun spin. Let's all hope it sticks together when I go to ply!
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I'm done! Done, do you hear me? Done! Donedonedonedonedone! Does my yippee of joy ring throughout the land?
I've finished knitting/sewing my holiday gifts. I still have gifts for the hubby to buy, so I'm not ALL done, but at least the crafty stuff is done. When you're done cursing, please keep in mind that I started in JULY. And I left the worst (shopping) for last (two weeks before Christmas).
After Beary was sewn up, stuffed and dressed, I needed to knit three more hats and sew one. For my boss and his son, I knit two matching circular brioche hats out of homespun:
If you have wanted to knit a brioche hat, but hate seaming, I recommend this pattern. It was easy and I think the hats came out well. I did have to tink with it on one of the hats, but that was because I changed the sizing.
Then, remember the pink Odessa hat I made for the boss's wife, my friend S? I made a matching one for their daughter. Only on that hat, I used gold beads 'cause little girls love their bling.
And then lastly (because the sewing machine could only come out after all the easy stuff was done), I sewed a dino hat for my friends' little dino-obsessed son. It'll be too big for him, but he might be able to stretch it over his ski helmet now and grow into it later.
The truly sad thing about this insanely easy pattern (pretty sure it's Buttericks but can't find it on their website) is that it took me two tries to get it right. However, it's not entirely my fault. It is my fault that I plunged the seam-ripper through the fleece so many times it looked like lace. But it's their fault the diagram told me to sew the hat together backwards. So just in case any of you bought this pattern, just be aware: don't follow the diagram.
(And if anyone is interested in sewing a woman's hat, Buttericks has some sharp-looking hat patterns. They have some goofy ones, too.)
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Friday, December 01, 2006
Catherine bear from Sandra Polley's The Knitted Teddy Bear
Homespun worsted-bulky weight Wensleydale, spun on Melanie's Odette last winter
Pinafore from scrap living room summer valance material