ok, you talked me into it

Posted on 30 CommentsPosted in projects, Uncategorized

i’m succumbing to peer pressure (and quite gladly, i might add).
i had a lot of emails after yesterday’s post telling me that it was ok to take a break, so i figured—it’s ok. i’ll do what you tell me (evil grin).

i took a break from clogs to knit on the lace mitts i started and have only been thinking about all week. now first off, i know i can make several pair of these pretty quickly and just have lots of variations, but of course, i was trying to be efficient and have all the perfect parts in ONE project for once.

however i’ve hit a tough spot. a fork in the knitted road, if you will. i need to decide. here we have the finished first mitt in it’s originally conceived form (don’t you love how my new camera takes pictures—i mean, that is BLACK yarn, as in, very black. and just look at the details . . . sigh).

i like it fine, but then as i started the second mitt, i considered what it might look like if the lace ribbing went all the way down to the cuff. so on the second mitt, i tried that variation. (yes—i know—trying variations on christmas gifts??). i hear you. believe me, i do.
anyway, her is a partially finished one with lace all the way down.

i like it too, but i really don’t know which i like better.
the lace one doesn’t seem to define and sculpt the hand as nicely, but then, it’s LACE—who’s looking at the hand inside? and, it’s only half-done, so that could be a factor . . .

the one with the ribbed cuff seems to cut the lace part a bit short though . . . hmmm. on the other hand, there will be a third pair, which will be a LOT more lacy, so maybe this pair should have the more temperate ribbed cuff?

and, if i decide to use the lace all the way down, should i use the lace rib all the way ’round the cuff, or make that rib plain? (you don’t have to answer, that question is just me blogging to myself . . .)

(do you see what i go through?)

this is what makes knitting fun for me—helping a design evolve and coaxing it from the ball of yarn just so. thinking and shaping the idea til the light bulb goes off. knitting clogs is good, too, but this is it for me.
of course, there is bound to be a sacrificial mitt or two in the process, and that sorts sucks when one is on a deadline, but it makes me knit faster.

and hopefully, it’s not too pathetic, spending one’s time fretting over which rib goes where, and whether it should be one-quarter inch shorter or longer, and have yarnovers or not.
(i try to compensate for that by living very simply most of the time, and giving LOTS to good causesthroughout the year. hopefully i actually am striking a balance there . . .)

so, tell me—which mitt??

clogging towards bethlehem

Posted on 18 CommentsPosted in projects, Uncategorized

phew, i have been gone too long—i know it.
but i have been doing some MAD knitting. i feel as if i’ve been eating too much chocolate. i feel like i’m waking up after a drinking binge. i have a knitting hangover.
BUT, i have a lot of knitting done, too.

many clogs have been knit (although not felted, so technically not done). several pair of ragamuffin mitts done and in the mail.

everything i wanted to get done for christmas day is done. YAY!

i still have to finish all the gifts for my brother’s family—this box will go out between holidays. i will have to keep up a strict knitting schedule to accomplish even that, but the executive decision to get it done by new year’s instead of christmas will ease the stress a little.
they got a gift card , too, so i can’t feel bad about it.

i just want the knitting to feel fun. between the gray weather and being wa-a-ay too focused on deadline knitting, i was starting to feel glum. throw in the fact that my house looks like a firestorm ran through a yarn shop, and, well, i’m sure you get the picture.

i’m a little bit sick of knitting, in fact. there, i said it.
just a little, really, but the reality finally hit me yesterday morning.

i miss designing.
i miss blogging, cooking, decorating, too, but i miss designing a LOT.

i’m not satisfied any more with knitting from existing patterns for any extended period of time, unless it’s to try out something i haven’t seen before. i need to be making stuff up.

when i am working on something completely new, i really, REALLY dig it.
i just constantly need to be transforming my ideas into objects, and when i go without, i have withdrawal symptoms.
this realization thrilled me—knowing that the joy has not gone out of knitting, but just changed to a new level of knitting has given me a completely new outlook on things.

to celebrate, i went back and picked up the lace mitts i was working on for my niece, which i was thinking would be a great companion to the fine cabled mitts i made earlier in the month.

i know this photo doesn’t do it justice, but it’s pretty! i found that errant ball of taj mahal that has eluded me on previous searches (of course, it was in the very LAST box i checked for the third time). i love this yarn—it’s a merino, silk, and cashmere blend. it comes in two weights and this one is the fingering weight. i think these might be wonderful—i can’t wait to get them a little further along.

i still have 3 more clogs to make—one car and two dinosaurs (still don’t really know how i’m gonna make those!). then i have a hat and a few more mitts, and THEN, i’m done. for this year, anyway.

i can’t wait to dig right in after christmas on one or two new shawls that have been positively nagging at me. and i have a couple of sweaters on the needles that i desperately want to finish too. my heart is dancing just thinking about it.

done and done, but more to do

Posted on 27 CommentsPosted in projects, Uncategorized

all the christmas socks are done

and, moving on, a few new things have been started. i think my niece will love these mitts. i don’t really relish working with novelties, but these mitts get a little edging in marrakech, because she likes embellishment, and i want to make something she’ll enjoy.

i’ll probably make her two or three pair—one with the leftovers from the rococo socks that are lacy, and, of course, the mandatory black pair. she is, after all, on the brink of her teenage years. i want to be sure to recognize that fact in my gift making . . .that is, if i can find that perfect ball of black yarn i have, the one that is eluding me at the moment.

every year this happnes. i decide to make black gloves for someone, and finally use that one ball of black taj mahal fingering yarn that has been in my stash seemingly forever. i got it at an oddball sale at patternworks when it was still in poughkeepsie, and i still lived in NYC.
anyway, every year i decide i will use it, but when i go to look for it, i can’t find it anywhere. then later, like maybe in february or march, i find it again, while searching for sock yarn or some other sundry item. every time i re-find it, i think “ha!this time i will remember where i saw it, so that next year, i’ll be able to get my hands right on it.” right, and here i am again, scratching my head over where it could be.

have you ever been a little bit sorry you introduced someone to a particular hand knit item?

my family and friends are addicted to felted clogs now, and it’s all my own fault. each year i knit a number of these—just to give you an idea, for the past two years, the total has been around 25 pair each year. this year i am getting off light; about 10 pair only, i think.

i need to replace my own, and then make a bunch for the nieces and nephews (they will probably not be done for christmas, but their feet will still be wanting them for new year’s i imagine. i mean hey, i just got the size chart last week!).

i enjoy these to a certain extent, but then i overdid it. i started embellishing them for the kids. i added fur and toes to make monster feet. i started fashioning animal faces onto the felt. i got committed to more work that was needed, by trying to make it more interesting for myself.

so now, i am obligated to making ever-more-funny-and-clever slippers.

the other night i went to gather the supplies and see what i could possibly use from the stash. because i am adament about that point this year—no more yarn for felting til the 10 pounds or so that i already have is gone.

i found enough yellow and black to make the littlest one a pair of bumblebee clogs. aaron likes cars, so i’m going to attempt a pair of VW beetles for him

i just realized that i should make his from two different colors, and then he could play “parking lot” with them. or drive thru, even.
andrew likes red AND he likes dinosaurs. i don’t know how i’m going to make that work together yet. maybe some lizards.

daniel likes blue, and he will get a pair of inside out clogs—those are the ones where i use all sorts of scraps in stripes and put the knots on the outside.

and, since daniel doesn’t do anything without paul (who like green), i’ll be making two pairs of those.

these will all be pretty fun, and since they are fairly small, they’ll go fast. it’s the bigger ones that are tough. and i know my brother wants some. and i love my brother greatly, but i hate knitting his clogs—the neverending ones. his will have to come last—i can give him socks and send the clogs for his birthday in january.

i was thinking about doing a bait-n-switch on the big kids’ gifts. make them something different. thus the mitts and hats. i wonder if they’ll mind . . .

i’m making a mess!

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i bet you’re really surprised, huh? (ok, don’t tell me if you are; just let me go on thinking that only some of you might be . . .)

thank you everyone for all the sweet compliments on the rococo socks. wow, you really DO like your special sock patterns! and i enjoyed knitting these quite a bit.
i’m sure there will be more soon—i have lots of sock ideas, and apparently, i need the motivation of a fun pattern to wile away the cuff-and-foot hours (more on that later).

the pre-holiday season gives me a chance to explore small projects with relish, to try new stitches and configurations in limited and structured ways, and apply them to intended gifts to make individual creations that i hope reflect to each person how i feel about them, or reveal something i see in them.


exploring small projects with enthusiasm usually means that all sorts of little piles form all over the place. little bit of this and that trail across nearly every surface. single items that will eventually be part of a pair abound, but at this point, are strewn will-nilly and piled together into incoherent “families”

my coffee table looks like a bomb went off on top of it

seriously, it has looked this way for the last two weeks, even when someone is stopping by. i don’t even see it. i have no idea what that lime-green cashmere yarn is doing out, even; i’m sure i thought i’d get to make myself some mitts with it at some point last week.

the gift pile is growing, but where to store it?

under the tree seems safe enough, but i know i’ll have to move it at some point if, indeed, the place is to be vacuumed before christmas.

bags of supplies have piled up near my knitting chair in one spot, and stitch books are piled near another knitting chair upstairs. it’s a good thing i live with someone else, or this situation might go completely unnoticed.

because truthfully, if it didn’t collect dust, and get embarrassingly messy, i think i could be the type of person to sink into the kind of knitting clutter that is claustrophobic, disorganized, and signals a downward spiral into some mental state that only be bad.

i’m also discovering why i am not a Sock Knitter, with capitals. i mean, sure i make socks—lots of them, it’s true. but i do not make a quest of it. it cannot be the only thing i do, or even the most important thing i do for very long. why?

because i see that, as an exclusive path, i find it somewhat boring once i hit the hard times (sorry Sock Knitters—believe me, i bow to your journey; i’m just saying, it isn’t my main gig). i need entertainment for sock knitting to be interesting, and really, that is the thing that disqualifies me from membership.

as soon as i finished the rococo socks, and found myself with just the last two plain pairs to complete, a kind of boredom with them has settled in. not the kind to make me stop working on them; after all, they are gifts and need to be completed.

no, i mean the kind of boredom in which i find that focusing on the sock too much while i’m working on it will put me to sleep. i need to think about something else while i work—i need to think about the horizon. the after christmas horizon.

after christmas i will work on a shawl—i have several great schemes for shawls which have been cooking away since the fall. i can’t wait to get to them. plus, i have the starlight evening wrap which is about one-third done and ready for the first splashy end panel.

and then there are the sweaters. my little red ball of briar rose yarn sits among the mess patiently while i work. i gaze at it every so often, and iin lieu of swatching with it (no time for that right now), i try to mentally conjure a cable combination from it which will bring my little red cardigan to life. my cabled pullover sits half-finished and wails loudly for my attentions, but i am being good.

i am knitting gift socks, but really, i am putting plenty of thought into all the suggestions the wonderful Sock Knitters sent me about making myself better-fitting socks. (this was another clue that i really am a Sock Knitting poséur—i would have just kept knitting the same dumb socks, and cursing them forever, if so many people had not sent me such great suggestions, most of them simple. and from sheer laziness too—i just can’t be bothered to get up in the middle of knitting to look up in a book what my problem might be.) fortunately, i gleaned lots of good advice from reading everyone’s input that i think will improve my own fit greatly.

i even snuck the first finished sock for the mail carrier onto my foot for a tryout of the slip-stitch heel. it feels great, as does the shaping and the tighter fabric (not a tighter sock, but a tighter fabric). i think i will definitely make a few pair with this heel and see how it works. and the heel flap will be deeper, too. i wonder what my beef WAS with this heel (i have a sneaking suspicion that i was just bored with it)?

and we found a great new name for the austermann step socks! leigh wrote in that they reminded her of neapolitan ice cream, and i agreed, but then i thought, no! not neapolitan

they look just like it, and we used to eat spumoni on christmas most years when i was a kid. my grandparents would buy it as a treat for us, but i think they liked it even more than we did. so, spumoni socks they are!

well, i better get back to it; i REALLY need to finish those two pair of socks tonight, so i can start the kid’s gifts. i did some ferreting about in the stash and came up with several bagfuls of yarn and ideas. show you tomorrow.