Christmas Knitting Part 2 (the sort of a let-down post)

So — I had a huge post planned. It was going to have some riff on the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” thing, because … gift knitting is like getting married? In hindsight, I’m not sure what I was thinking.

But then I went and forgot to take pictures of three of the four gifts that I knit for gifts this past holiday season. Two pieces were from Jared Flood designs, and I had an inkling of a post titled, “A Very Brooklyn Christmas,” until it was eminently clear that I would not have my dad’s hat finished by Christmas. As it was, it’s remarkable that my mum’s mittens got finished by the morning in question.

Then there were the two extended family gifts — namely, a hershey kiss (registered trademark?) hat for my cousin’s baby, and a pair of ad hoc fingerless mitts for my grandma, in, you guessed it, maybe, the color blue.

Here is some photographic evidence of the mittens, at least:

And a slightly larger view:

I really like mittens

They are Jared Flood’s Grove Mittens, and I knit them in Classic Elite’s Renaissance yarn, which is a cushy cushy worsted weight, that I hope will wear like iron. I used size 4 needles, and these muthas are dense.

The color is called Fruit Compote, and it makes me happy in a way that only girly colors can.

Please to pardon the rather blurry picture. WordPress is acting ornery right now, and I don’t want it to harsh on my mitten-induced mellow. They’re super warm, and I think everyone should knit themselves a pair.

Hope that your new years were splendid — mine involved watching 30 Rock episodes on DVD with loved ones, and it was kind of perfect.

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A little Christmas something something (part 1 of 2)

Well hello there –it’s been a while, right? Hopefully my recently found (long lost) camera battery charger will stay visible, and I’ll be more regular about posting pictures of my finished objects. Because let me tell you, I’ve got a number of them to share.

There are two parts to Christmas knitting for me:

Let me amend that — there are two parts to holiday knitting for me:

1. Knitting gifts for people — specifically, for birthdays that happen during the season, or as various non-specific holiday gifts, or “oh goodness, this is finished and would be perfect for ___ and it happens to be December at the same time” type knitting.

2. Knitting things for me. Ahem. In my defense, my birthday is in December, and who doesn’t want to do stuff for themselves when deadlines for other things are looming large?

So this post will part one of at least two — stuff I’ve knit for me with an eye to the Christmas season, and stuff that I’ve knit for others.

Let’s start with a little context. I’m way into Christmas decorations and colors. Sarah Vowell has a piece on This American Life about being a secular Christian, and I relate. Once I’m ready for the Christmas season, oh, gosh, all the lights, and the red and the green, and trees, and the gold and the silver, and the fake snow (or real snow — you can take the girl out of Maryland but you can’t take Maryland out of the girl, or something like that) … it all makes me real excited and happy-like.

I wear my christmas sweaters on my feet

Two years ago, I found out that Lorna’s Laces has a yarn colorway called “Country Christmas.” OMFG.

Two summers ago, I was struck by a sudden craving for some Monkey Socks in said colorway. I was in New Mexico at the time, and it was the summer. I have no explanation for how my mind works. I make almost no excuses for it, either.

Ow

Never mind that it took me a year and a half to actually put the pattern and the yarn together to actually make the oh so desired socks — I, no joke, started to knit these socks at least three times. First without the pattern, then with a “just not the same” pattern (2×2 rib does not a Monkey make), then I stopped liking Lorna’s Laces sock yarn for no good reason (read: pooling and flashing, and jeez this yarn is thin and my criminally loose gauge makes socks that resemble tissue weight tees from J. Crew, not sexy and springy enough, etc), and then I finally assed myself to knit the damn pattern out and knit the damn socks.

And oh, do I love them:

or at least as long as the holiday season

In my first sock of the pair, I did it all knit, no purl, and I didn’t like it. Rather than rip the sock out for the fifth (non-consecutive) time, I took my lumps, and kept the first pooly-flashy repeat of the pattern, remembered that I don’t dislike purling, and continued true to pattern.

And because I’m willing to suffer for my art, you see them posed in the mother-freaking snow which is now gone. It was cold, but it’s a tribute to wool, Lorna’s Laces, and hand-knit socks everywhere that fifteen minutes later, I was running around my yard in clogs and the same socks and taking more pictures.

D'awww

Psst. Lorna. Call me?

The long-winded point of this post is that I’m re-appropriating Christmas colors, my way. Typical Christmas reds and greens wash me out, and in the name of superficialness and self-centered-ness, I want some red and green swag for the holiday season that won’t, uh, wash me out.

Here are reds and greens that I like, together:

I was finished more than a year ago

Last year, I realized that I love a particular shade of red with a particular shade of green — namely, orangey bright red with acidic yellowy green. But Hallmark and Target don’t agree with me, so I’m stuck without a kitschy hat and mitten set. Right?

Make my day, Target

The mittens are not done yet, and the details are ravelled here.

Merry Belated Christmas, all — I hope that yours were as pleasant as mine!

or other non-denominational holiday

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A-hem

I have roughly one day before I get to go home to see tiny cats, hang out with my parents, watch movies, and knit, knit, and knit some more. (Also, find data. And crunch numbers. But leaving that aside…)

However, I can’t stop:

1. Starting new projects.

2. Investigating my stash for inspiration.

2.a — Reacquainting myself with projects that pissed me off, bored me, or did a wallflower routine and falling in love with them.

2.b — Reacquainting myself with projects that pissed me off, bored me, or did a wallflower routine that I still can’t stand and ripping them out.

(That there are many more of the 2.a variety gives me some hope for myself, and redeems a lot of the knitting I did in my first year of grad school.)

3. Printing out a squillion patterns that I have stored on Ravelry and making big plans to complete each and every one of them by Christmas Eve for me and my loved ones.

I’m trying to hold out.

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Every cloud has a grey tabby

Oh hai — I’m back with a gin-you-wine sweater —

Sweater as subject

I started this beast back in April (while visiting old college roommates!!), maybe, and posted some in progress shots way back when. My clever Ravelry name for it was my “April Lady Sweater,” since it is based on that ingenious pattern, Pamela Wynne‘s February Lady Sweater.

White Wall Backdrop on Sunny Day

Pardon my grim expression. I love it.

I modified the pattern a bit — first, fewer increases below the bust line make for a less dramatic A-line, and less swinginess. Second, I used a different lace pattern — instead of the gull stitch (which look like tiny inverted V’s of eyelets) I went with a plain vanilla ribbon eyelet effect — knit one, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit one, yarn over, ssk, knit one — which was easy enough for me to remember, and added just enough interest, though I could totally do a gigantic field of stockinette stitch with this yarn, Dream in Color Classy in Grey Tabby and be in heaven most of the time.

Button Button Who's Got the Button?

And OMG did you see the buttons? The pattern suggests using bigass buttons, and I don’t think that these disappoint. This was my first time:

a) Making button holes

b) Sewing in cardigan buttons

This might explain the drunken alignment of the, uh, holes in the buttons? I could make a big deal about their disorder, and go back to fix them, but they don’t bother me yet.

Why did it take me so long to finish this? After I’d finished the body of the sweater and gone back to knit the first sleeve, I way overestimated how much ease I needed for sleeves, and cast on enough stitches for two extra repeats of stitches. Eventually I realized that I was going through yarn like it was going out of style, and that the sleeve was gigantic.

Never one to ignore inertia or to jump to it to fix a problem, I continued knitting for a while and hoped that the problem would go away. Then I got a little queasy every time I looked it at. Finally, I punished the sweater by shoving it into a bag, and tried not to think about it each time I bought yarn for different projects.

All that stopped when I got the death flu (perhaps H1N1) three weeks ago, and had a lot of free time in which to rip back most of a sleeve, and then begin to reknit. And once I started, oh, it was so hard to stop… It’s been like finding knitting Jesus around here, since now I see the light about finishing old, nearly done projects.

A Dramatic Shot

This will be seeing a lot of wear.

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Buh-Reef Update

Yikes, the summer goes by quickly —

I have been knitting, as well as working and loafing (quite a bit of loafing), and I even have some finished objects to show for it. They are coming soon!

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Unexpectedly sentimental

Apple cores and cherry pies
Strange the things that come to bind

Gard’ning tips or long dog walks
Those with whom we choose to talk

What we say and what we share
Reasons how or why or where

Fade away as we now pause
Caring needs no clear-cut cause

[Close family friend and neighbor is in the hospital right now. I don’t often feel the urge to write or share poetry, but it happens, sometimes.]

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Something New and Different:

More stocker-nette,

stockinette

stockinette

and a pause, to learn a new technique (knitting a turned hem).

Turning a hem.

Turning a hem.

To execute it properly (read: in a way that will not look like crap), I’m forcing myself to take a break. This is the sort of thing I hate to do.

Another thing to learn? How to save the new orientation so that stupid wordpress will not import it in a vertical orientation rather than a horizontal one. (Particularly frustrating since I’ve already done it successfully with the first picture in the dang post.) I hate forming new synapses!

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