Filed under: Family
In case you ever wondered what is taking up all my time, why I rarely post anymore…
In case you ever wondered what is taking up all my time, why I rarely post anymore…
I cannot take a single picture of my knitting if the damn cat is anywhere near me. Case in point – 2 different days, 2 different pairs.
This is an old, beloved pattern – the toe-up socks so aptly named “You’re putting me on” because you try them on as you go to achieve a truly custom fit. I made 2 trivial mods – I used “Judy’s magic cast on” and “Techknitter’s Pretty Good Bind off” (method 2).
I use the generic version of the pattern with fingering-weight sock yarn, Happy Feet by Plymouth. Mine is “Color 2″ – possibly discontinued, since it doesn’t appear on the manufacturer’s color card page? It is 90% superwash Merino and 10% nylon, somewhat softly spun and squishy/sproingy.
This version was knit using a 60-stitch circumference and size US 1 needles. The socks feel slightly flopsy. I thought the next time I knit these, I wanted more body to the fabric.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em
So I knit them again, using a Regia cotton sock yarn (seems to be discontinued) that is actually a combination of cotton, superwash wool, and nylon. Love Regia sock yarns, they are great. In fact, I just threw away a pair of Regia socks that I knit sometime in graduate school – so at the very youngest, they were at least 9 years old! The heels had finally worn through.
The blue socks were knit using size US 0 needles and also 60 stitches around. This made a stiffer sock (yay) but a smaller one, too (boo). They fit quite snugly, but I anticipate that they’ll loosen up and stay loose because of the cotton content.
Ear cocked back because I’m saying, “Scram, kitty!”
My next planned pair will be 64 stitches around on US 0 needles, in wool/nylon. I do enjoy knitting this pattern, again and again.
Charlie and his bedroom eyes
I managed to complete only 1 major project this summer, what with the house selling and not-buying, moving, etc. It was a dress for Meredith, actually finished toward the end of July, just in time for the wedding of a dear friend. Speaking of wedding, here’s the happy couple – I’ve known the groom since my first year of college.
Ben and Sudipta
Meredith and I traveled to Seattle together for the wedding. We took a long weekend, leaving Matt at home with the youngers. My core group of college “besties” were all there for the wedding – one had just started a new job and had moved his family to Seattle only weeks before, the others are related by blood or by marriage to the groom (so convenient when your friends marry each other, LOL), and so we all crammed together into a single house with all our kids and had a crazy awesome time. (Adult conversation!) There is nothing quite like chillaxin’ with friends you’ve known for 20 years, who know how weird and antisocial you are and don’t judge, still think you’re OK.
Anyway, here’s the dress in all its glory. Pattern is Little Vicki, by a company called Izzy and Ivy. The pattern and fabric were purchased at a quilting shop in a neighboring town. They had a sample made up, which was totally adorable and sold me on the dress.
Forgive the odd picture, but this is the only one in which the pleated front shows well.
Altogether, the project probably cost me about $40 in supplies, which was actually a lot to spend on a single dress for a kid, but I like supporting independent shops and designers, and this came out really special. (OK, run-on sentence much?)
I am super-pleased with it, and so is Meredith. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever sew for her again after an incident last winter. In the midst of a tantrum-fit (oh c’mon, your kid never does this?), she’d hurled another dress that I’d sewn, hurled it at my face while screeching, MAMA, I HATE THIS DRESS!!! I mean, I know, 3 years old at the time, but ouch. It took a few months, but I got over myself, sewed her this one, and she totally, totally loves it. Does my hurt heart a lot of good, I confess.
It’s roomy and has plenty of ease for running, jumping, and dancing. She does wear bike shorts underneath for modesty. She calls it her “wedding dress” and tells everyone (day care teachers, random strangers at Sam’s Club, etc) that her mommy made the dress and if they like it, they should ask their mommies to make them one, too.
What else can I say? It’s the only creative thing I got done this summer, but it’s a winner!
If you’re technically inclined, details about the construction are on PatternReview (here).
Today, the movers deliver all of our household goods to a rental townhouse in Rochester.
Our house is sold, although the actual closing hasn’t happened yet (next week!). We had planned to buy a new house in the months between agreeing to sell in May and the closing date, but… long story short, it didn’t happen. We are bummed about that.
I’ve moved several times in my adult life (to college, grad school, postdoc, job), and each time, even though I was saying goodbye to friends, I was happy to move because I believed I was heading for something better. This is the first time I’ve been truly sad about going. I am getting weepy about every damn thing.
My strategy to cope with the melancholy is to throw myself into housecleaning. I’ve got 1.5 days left to whip this place into shape. Wish me luck!
It’s not too late to go to the Shepherd’s Harvest sheep and wool show! We went on Saturday and enjoyed the unbelievably nice weather – sunny and high 60s.
Several animals smiled at me:
We walked through all the vendor barns, had Meredith do some of the kid-friendly demos, and ate hot dogs and fudge.
We met animals, watched a sheep shearing, fingered lots of pretty fibers and yarn, and bought… nothing. Isn’t that so strange, to walk through barn after barn and come away empty-handed? I guess it’s a testament to the size of my stash, or maybe I’m just getting older and less impulsive in my shopping.
I did manage to try a Hansen electric mini-spinner for 2 minutes before the kids got all antsy (“Are you DONE yet, Mama?”). Here’s what I came away with after a short test: it is beautiful to look at, lightweight, fast, and pretty darn quiet. The orifice was wide for the relatively fine-grist spinning I do, but I believe they sell inserts to narrow that down. The demo model that I tried had some weird caulk-covered component on the power cord that I didn’t really understand, but I would bet that would not be on a wheel that they would sell to someone.
One thing that I briefly had trouble with was that I kept forgetting to keep the pedal pressed down – and it doesn’t turn when it’s not pressed. Altogether, it felt quite different from my Butterfly electric wheel, but not in a bad way. If I didn’t already own an excellent electric spinner, and if I were in the market for an electric, this would probably be my top pick. (I believe the Hansen spinner wasn’t around when I bought my electric.) It has a very good reputation and I found it pleasant to use in my quickie trial.
When the sisters were born, Matt’s parents came to stay with us for 3 weeks. During that time, my FIL taught my oldest daughter a song that he learned as a boy. I think the tune will always remind me of that summer.
I had a hat when I came in
I hung it on the rack
And I’ll have a hat when I go out
Or I’ll break somebody’s back!
I’m a peaceful man, I am, I am
And I don’t like to shout
But I had a hat when I came in,
And I’ll have a hat when I go out!
(Sung in true Irish drinking song spirit here.)
I sewed myself a hat last week! I used a Betz White pattern from her “Make New or Make Do” series.
I think maybe I look a little geektastic in it, but truly, I love this hat. I like bucket hats a lot. Grey ones, especially, apparently. (OMG, 2004. I’ve been blogging for a long time.)
It is next to impossible to find a fun sun hat that fits my supersized noggin (srsly, 22.5″), so it was either go bareheaded or make a custom piece! I love how comfy it is. (Mine is a size L.)
The entire project was made, incredibly, from stashed materials. The outside is gray stretch denim, the inside is an Amy Butler quilting cotton. The felt is a wool blend. I had mostly matching thread already, plus the basement life-archive vomited up a glue gun from circa mid 1990s. I even found the pin backing for the flower in my odds-and-ends sewing bin!
Check out my badass edgestitching!
The outside layer was a little Plain Jane, and I wanted to hide a blatantly mismatched seam, LOL. I google-image searched for “felt flower tutorial” (or something like that) and used the tutorial here. The template for the flower pieces is here. These flowers are very quick to make up (10 minutes, if that). I even made a red one for Meredith and glued it to a ponytail holder. She loves it.
I like that it’s a 3-dimensional flower.
The pin backing allows it to be removed before laundering.
I did manage to match up all of the other seams in the hat. The pattern itself is pretty uncomplicated, only 3 pieces, but I was pretty psyched when it was finished.
It’s also completely reversible.
If you sew and want the gory construction details, the review is here.
Last picture is just for fun – I was messing around with my new camera remote, and I found that it would make the camera fire only if I were making faces at it. What’s up with that?
In the past 20 years or so, I’ve noticed that total strangers will make the same observations about me. It happens so consistently, and the comments are worded nearly identically every time I hear them, I’ve come to the conclusion that these attributes must be true:
1) Doctors: You have very large tonsils.
2) Hairstylists: Your hair grows really fast!
3) Various tech support people (wrt cars, computers, appliances, anything): I’ve never seen this happen before.*
4) And most recently, everyone after hearing about my children: You must have your hands full!
Over to you – what comments have you consistently received from strangers over the years?
* ETA: The attribute is that I am incredibly good at breaking things.
Goodbye, Ingenue… I hardly knew ye. I lovingly rewrote you for fingering weight yarn and size US1 needles, but I realized this year that the relationship wasn’t going to work out for us. But honey, it’s not you, it’s me. I’ve changed.
You see, since the time I cast on for you, I’ve lost about 4-5″ bust circumference (hello, weaning and later weight loss). There was no way I would look good wearing you at this size. Better to say good bye, or au revoir…?
I want to express my sincere thanks to everyone who responded to the prior post. I appreciate your candor and encouragement. Most people who comment know that I typically respond via e-mail, and I generally hate doing this “group hug” thing in public, but we put our house back on the market last week (sigh), and I’ve been a little more frantically busy than usual. But please know that your thoughts and advice are highly valued!
As I get older, I think it could be easy for me to fall into the pattern of doing only the things I know I am good at. Took me years to get to this stage, but now I am (she says modestly) a good knitter. A technically competent handspinner. Decent in the kitchen. Have mad housecleaning skillz. Pretty good at editing. I think I could get used to things being easy. And then I might start to dislike doing things that are hard because hey, I’m already good at a lot of things.
But I can’t let myself go on just doing the easy stuff. Isn’t that when the brain starts to go south?
Problem is, I like a challenge but hate to fail. And when I’m feeling petty and small, I find myself avoiding the activities for which I am uncertain of the outcome. I’ve owned an antique circular sock machine for nearly a decade (socks made during that time, 0). I have tried and failed for 7 years to find an organic way to tame the yard (I start strong every spring and give up by July, weeds crowing in victory). I’m still trying to learn to sew (arrgh, working on this one right now). And I take refuge in stockinette knitting. Damn, I am good at that. :b
I’m feeling a little disgusted with myself for regularly, periodically wimping out. How do you stay motivated to do the hard stuff?
Many of my handknit socks are old enough to start junior high this fall. Thus, it is time to make new ones!
On blockers but not actually blocked
Monkey socks! According to Ravelry, more than fifteen thousand knitters have made these socks since the pattern was published in 2006. That’s pretty awesome.
This is Kraemer Sterling Silk and Silver yarn. It feels very nice, not prickly. The yarn is just slightly thick-and-thin, but not in an annoying way.
The dark green and the unblocked “scales” of the sock made me think of dragons. Wouldn’t this toy look so cool made up in green and silver yarn?
What is it about handknit socks that automatically gives one a serious case of the cankles?
Minor mods to the pattern:
1) I knit 5 repeats on the leg instead of 6 because I was starting to run into the daikon calf.
2) I did a slip-stitch reinforced heel because I think it helps withstand rubbing from the back of a shoe.
3) I used Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Cast On (video link). Not only does it stretch like crazy, it also snaps back to shape immediately when the tension is released. Thumbs up for this slightly fiddly but eminently doable cast on!
Admire the sock… But does your keen eye prompt you to ask what’s that lurking in the corner?