Friday, December 29, 2006

On this the eve...

Christmas is tomorrow! Christmas is tomorrow! Well, for my family it is anyway. My brother and his wife made it to my parents place earlier this week, my boyfriend is flying in for a series of major surprise appearances this weekend and we will have our family Christmas tomorrow.

The doll clothes are finished, I don't have photos of the last 3 sweaters and hats, I was so excited to be done that I put the case in the gift bag before I could fiddle with it any more. I'll get lots of photos tomorrow as they and the rest of the handknits are gifted.

So, with my knitting pallete essentially clean aside from a couple of socks, I started pulling together what I want to work on next while I was cleaning up a little. I have no less than 8 new projects sitting and waiting for me to pick one and run with it... Colorwork and cables abound too. I think this may mark my unofficial and very quiet participation point in the Knit from your Stash in 2007 club too. I might even use the vigor of the new year to undergo a massive stash organization and figure out just what all I have in there (seriously, it's taking over an entire room in my apartment).

But, for now, here are the projects I'm letting stare me down.
  • Two skeins of lettuce green malabrigo is currently assigned to become a Cabled hat and an Irish Hiking Scarf.
  • A skein of soft pink Calmer is destined for Shedir.
  • I have a bunch of Diakeito Diamusee set aside to become a Short Row Ribbed Scarf. I probably have enough of this yarn to also make a matching hat and/or mittens, but the scarf will come first.
  • My kool-aid colored sock yarn is going to be Jaywalkers.
  • I also have some Knitpicks Andean Treasure in the same colors as shown on the pattern to make Manresa. I plan to reverse the colors though with the embers as the main and fog as the contrast.
  • Some Knitpicks Palette in sky blue and cream for Anemoi.
  • And some Knitpicks Essential in burgundy and brown for the Endpaper Mitts.
I'll let you know what I decided to cast on when I post again next year.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Still plugging away at doll stuff, I finished the koigu sweater, a matching hat and another hat this weekend in between family gatherings, scrapbooking, and meal preparations.

Three of my handknits were gifted this weekend in the mix though. My cousin's bag, my aunts dishclothes, and my grandmother's bag.

Not too surprising, given the age of my cousin, the bag was appreciated but got set aside for other cousin's toys. She did put it on her head like a hat a couple times too. I think it'll still get plenty of use though.

Grandma's bag made her cry. She tried to use the "it's too nice to use" comment and I told her that I didn't make it to sit on a shelf and be looked at, and if she wore it out, I'd just make her another one. So, after that, she starting piling stuff into it from her other purse.

The rest will be gifted next weekend.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Still plugging away

This last week I focussed more on dishclothes than doll clothes, but I made some doll progress too. I know I'm starting to think "resourceful" when I start looking and seeing what other people are making for their handknit Riley clothes on ebay. However, I'm also printing off a zillion patterns a day and planning out all the selfish knitting that I can get back to once we have our family Christmas (not until New Years weekend, so I get an extra week to keep plugging away at the doll stuff).

I somehow got Gromit to sit still and let me drape him with dishclothes. So, this is the fruit basket of clothes for mom. The green is a pear, lavendar is grapes, magenta is cherries, burgundy is an apple, and the varrigated is another garterlac.

And that skein I dyed with kool-aid from my SP9 pal? I wound it up into a gorgeous ball of yarn, and cast on the first small little sock yarn thing I could think of... another doll raglan. I wasn't sure how the blue would work with the oranges and reds in the yarn, but that added overdye with more red gave it a ton of colors I didn't see in the yarn when it was hanging, and I love how it knit up. It actually patterned more evenly than the koigu over the width of the sweater body. Of course the sweater body is about 40 stitches and knit back and forth instead of in the round, so it will likely look different in a sock, but I think it's still spaced enough that it shouldn't pool. I'm thinking the rest of the skein may become jaywalkers in the new year and there will definitely be more dye experiments in my future.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Looking Back

While I continue plugging away at doll clothes and dishclothes and doll clothes and dishclothes... etc... etc.. ad nauseum... ad nauseum... (I will be SOOOO ready for selfish knitting next week) it seems like a good time to look back at what 2006 held.

So, off we go...thanks for the meme Elizabeth.

1) What is your absolute favorite project you've ever knit (one that fulfilled both process and product)?

So far, it's been socks. I enjoy that I took the leap into sock knitting and I've fallen for them hard. I haven't done any particularly involved patterns yet, but I look forward to many socks in my future and love wearing the pairs that I've finished.

Which of your handknits do you wear the most often?

My two pair of socks get worn frequently, and I carry my sophie bag with me daily.

What was your favorite gift to knit?

I'm really enjoying the doll clothes and I think they will be very well recieved. It's been a great medium to try things out without using up a ton of yarn and a great way to play with sock yarn leftovers.

Which of your handknits are gathering dust your closet?

My ribbon not-x-back. It never really fit quite right and I haven't had the heart to fix it or frog it. It just hangs on the back of the bathroom door and has just become a wall decoration.

Which of your handknits have you gotten rid of?

I've had a handful of projects that got some false starts or have been abandoned, but I haven't disposed of anything finished.

If you've knit socks, what is your favorite pattern?

I haven't done anything more complicated than ribbing yet, I did really enjoy the picot hem on mom's socks and I'm eyeing some other patterns for '07 that will challenge me and should be a fun adventure.

What would you like to make in 2007?

Cables, Colorwork, Lace. I'm eyeing several projects that incorporate these features and it's all I can do right now to keep myself from diving right into something new.
Also, I hope to move past the zillion false starts on my first sweater and actually take the plunge.

What have you learned about your craft in 2006?

Everything. I only learned how to knit in February. I've at least tried a lot of different things even if some of them didn't make it to a finished state. I'm hoping to step beyong dabbling and actually finish some projects that are more than just the relatively plain items I've finished so far.
Probably the biggest development that I'm still working on is that I've learned how to read my stitches. I just realized last month that I was purling "upside down" and that was causing my stitches to twist. It didn't take much work to correct that one. I do knit backwards primarilly though as I am very much a leftie, and I'd like to become a little more ambidexterous and learn to knit forwards too as I'm not sure what the mirrored connotations will mean to garment construction... although it doesn't seem to affect my little mini doll raglans so it may not be a big deal.

What events/sites have you particularly enjoyed in the blogosphere in 2006?

I haven't been the greatest participant, but I do enjoy the swaps that I've participated in. It's much simpler to put together a box for shipment than it is to start and finish a project in a timely manner with a KAL. However, The Amazing Lace was fun even if I didn't really participate, and reading all the Knitting Olympics stuff at the beginning of the year was what ultimately prompted me to start this blog.

2006 was a fun crafty year and I think that kept me sane with the other crazy stuff that was going on in my life. Personally, it was a more complicated and trying year with some big events and adjustments both good and bad, but sometimes it takes some big shakeups to make things better. And I think this year is definitely ending in a much better place than where it started. So, for that, I'm grateful.

But for now it's back to dishclothes and doll clothes for me...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Dying to thank my secret pal!

Thank you Secret Pal!!!

A cool box of surprises arrived today full of all sorts of goodies from my secret pal.
There were all the fixings plus the printed out knitty article to play with kool aid dying yarn. An undyed skein of sock yarn, several packets of kool aid, and a turkey baster.

She also sent two handknit ornaments that she made (the sweater and socks) and a cute little knit sheep ornament that will all go on my tree (maybe the little one at work, not sure if I'll put the big one up at home this year).

And a ton of other goodies. A cute stuffed reindeer, some magnets (she also has been sending postcards instead of emails that I keep forgetting to mention and thank for), A cool handmade card, a pen, some lip gloss, and just enough chocolatey treats.

Of course, with everything else I should be doing, I honed right in on the dye stuff, cleaned up the bathroom sink, laid out a ton of plastic wrap and had to play with kool aid and the microwave. So, that white skein of yarn up there is the one now hanging over my bathtub drying. I used some of the kool aid she sent and some that I had here from forever ago (college) when I still drank the stuff and experimented with it as a hair dye. I did three initial colors - 3 packets of black cherry in one, two packets of blue raspberry with about 1/4 packet of grape mixed in, and the third was one packet orange, one packet lemonade and an old packet of some tangerine that darkened the orange up a bit. When this came out of the micro, the blue and orange seemed too bright, so I let it all cool and then overdyed with two more packets of black cherry to fill in some of the white holes and darken the orange and blue.

This is dangerous. And I can see how it can get addicting. Can't wait to see it dry, re-skein it and knit it up. And I can see myself trying more and digging out some of the henna I have from playing with hair dye earlier in life too... dangerous, dangerous, dangerous. Thanks secret pal!

4 more FOs for Christmas

There's nothing like knitting small projects to give a sense of accomplishment. This week I made another doll-sized raglan sweater in baby blue, a lavender smocked party dress with a picot hem, a Nativity dishcloth and I might have snuck in a selfish knit and made myself a pair of fetching fingerless gloves too.

Not quite as many finished doll clothes this week because I went shopping on Sunday, but I do have half of a peach-colored raglan started and I picked up enough koigu for a pair of socks and maybe a doll item or two while I was out shopping in Lansing. I might have also gotten two skeins of malabrigo in a cool green colorway called "lettuce". Actually, I walked out of Threadbear with exactly what I'd hoped to get there. and didn't spend a small fortune this time.

The trunk in the photo was the result of three of the ladies working at Toy Village scrambling all over the store to find any and all armoire and trunk options in every price range for the size doll I'm fitting. It was a little crazy but they were helpful and we found an affordable option that will work perfectly. Although the clothes are already filling it up.

I decided last week to jump on the fetching bandwagon and ordered two skeins of the recommended yarn (soooo soft) and decided that when it came in, I'd allow myself to drop all other projects and make the fingerless mitts for me before continuing on. So, I picked up the needles while I was shopping and had 1 1/2 of them finished last night, and finished the second one tonight. I had mere scraps left over. I twisted the cables the same way on both, so maybe with the other ball of yarn I'll make two more that twist the other way and have two matching pair. They will be great to have at work where I'm always cold.

And the dishcloth. I may have decided that after making a bazillion dishclothes for my brother and his wife, that my mom is going to want dishclothes too. So, I made the nativity one, and I may also make 4 other fruit clothes (grapes, cherries, pear and apple) and another garterlac to match her kitchen. If I don't finish them, her birthday is always in January.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Knitting Like a Madwoman

I've been busy cranking out the Christmas knits this week and weekend. Booga #3 and Sophie #3 are both off the needles and felted. I sewed the handles onto Sophie and she still needs a flower which I'm debating because of the extra handles.

And the doll clothes are in full swing production. Since Thanksgiving I've finished 4 more sweaters, a hat and a scarf. Each item I make gets progressively better than the one before and I now have a great understanding of the top down raglan construction.

I made the grey sweater first (to match Spammy's and be a little more boyish for the boy doll). The neck is a little wide even with a button on the back to cinch it in some, but it can either be pulled up from the bottom or pulled over the doll's head. This one was constructed in two pieces, seamed together and the neck-line and sleeves knit on after.

The other three sweaters are all top down raglans. The orange/pink/yellow one was the first one. It's out of a handspun hand-dyed yarn I got months ago on ebay, and I'm a little disappointed in it. The person who spun it got a few dark fibers spun into it that didn't take the dye, so there are some dark spots that look like dirt in the top.

Next up I made the striped raglan. This is my favorite of them all so far. It fits the doll great, I was able to line up the colors on the sleeves, and play a little with the different colored buttons. The doll's are supposed to be preschool/kindergarden aged and it seems appropriate for that age group. Not that I wouldn't mind finding the yarns to mimick it in something my size either. It's the leftover sock yarn from mom's socks and I almost think she'll like it better in this application than as the socks.

I love the striped one the best, but I'm proudest of the navy and white cardigan. It's the last one I made this weekend (just cast off the last sleeve less than an hour ago) and it is my first ever forray into the world of stranded colorwork. Was a simple short border pattern I pulled out of a book and about halfway through the technique made sense and sort of clicked. I made a few mistakes, but I'm downright giddy in how well it came out.

The hat and scarf were quick knits last weekend. The hat out of the same yarn as the navy sweater, and the scarf out of a thin-guage rayon chennile that was stranded with a green mohair that I got from KimiK as an extra mini-skein with the yarn I bought from her. I may do something else doll scale with the mohair too.

Also this weekend I finished the second dishcloth for my aunt, this one is a coffee cup pattern in an off-white yarn. No photos, but I'll be sure to get pics of it being gifted.

I've still got grand plans for more doll clothes. Maybe a couple more raglans, another dress or two, and at least one more hat and scarf. I've got appropriately sized hangers arriving soon, and I still need to find a scale size doll armoire or trunk to fill up with everything. With my brother and his wife spending Christmas with her family this year, I'll get an extra week to work on mom's stuff since we'll do our immediate family Christmas at New Years instead, so I've got a great start and will keep churning out the doll knits until the bitter end.

If only it were this easy to knit for humans.