Sunday, December 30, 2007

Go Back to Sheep

A long time ago, when Kristen was just a wee little thing, I designed and made her a sheep. It's kind of flat and two dimensional, which makes it also a kind of pillow. It's made of fake fleece and felt. We loved it and played with it for many years, but eventually it ended up out in the garage with all the other old toys.

Then when I started felting last year, I remembered the old sheep toy, and imagined it in thrift-store sweaters felted and re-purposed. I dragged old sheepie out of the garage and used him as a pattern and made a new and woolier sheep, named Go Back to Sheep (since the wool was on a sheep, and then in a sweater, and is now gone back to being a sheep.)

Kristen's buddy Ryan liked him so much he wanted one for himself, so I made another one for him for Christmas. He's the one on the right! (Kristen is the shepherdess.)

He's got an unnaturally long neck and is camel-brown and black. The thick wooliness of the felted sweaters make the two new ones very plump and pleasant for tucking behind one's back in a chair. They don't seem to mind. :-)

A few more pictures

I need to catch up on all the projects about which I blogged but never posted any pictures. Or maybe I should just give up and post new things. Well, let's see:

Ok, this is my current wip: a hat for myself using the basic roll brim hat pattern from Knitting for Peace. I have a hat like this that I made last year, but the colors clash with everything else I own, so I decided to make another so that when I go to Chicago, I won't stop traffic with my mis-assorted knits. So this is a fun and totally simple knit (ducks and knocks on wood to avoid angering the goddess of knitting!). The variegation is lining up and making whole sections of the hat the same color, so this might look, uh, unusual. Hopefully not traffic-stopping, however.

And let's see what else:

Kool-aid dying on old (purchased)wooly lace.

Me, happy to have a digital camera at last!

Oh, and my first, and so far only, sweaterish object: a vest I call Celtic Seas vest, done in Kureyon. I'm happy with it in every way except that the pattern itself is short and boxy, and I don't really need short and boxy added to my image. But the colors are so cool and the double moss stitch came out so good that I have to love it anyhow. It was shown in the pattern book on a hanger, and that's how it looks best.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

One more Christmas project

At the last minute, I knit up this headband/earwarmer for Kristen out of alpaca. the pattern is a vintage one from 1961 that I found online. Theirs was done in either mohair or worsted wool (and looked like the ones I used to wear as a child.) This one is done in DK, same number of stitches as the pattern, so it's narrower than the original, but it's also a lot longer. Made with less than one skein (maybe half a skein) of unlabeled alpaca found for half price at Let's Knit. It wants to roll, despite efforts at blocking, but can be convinced to lie flat when in use. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to knit it--start to finish in less than 48 hours, despite my slow speed and size 6 needles. Maybe the alpaca was just so yummy.

It will keep Kristen's ears very warm in Chicago for the rest of the winter!

See the original (and some other really scary 1961 hats) here:

Christmas Pictures

Guess what Santa brought to my house? Yep. A digital camera of my very own! Now I have to learn to take decent pictures and transfer them efficiently. But here's a start: Me in front of the house.

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Our Christmas tree:

And Kristen drinking a soft drink!

Dear Husband, looking sleepy:

Friday, December 21, 2007

California Sunset Handwarmers

I finished the first pair of handwarmers from my kool-aid yarn, and I love them!

They are so simple and the coloring turned out so good. They are knit flat in 2 x 2 rib and then seamed up. Since I had plenty of yarn leftover, I decided to make Kristen a pair too, but I thought it would be easier to do them in the round. I saw a pattern from WWI for men in the trenches that was done that way, and they way they said to make the thumb hole was just to stop knitting in the round and change to back and forth for a while, and then re-join the round up. Sounded very simple. Well, on magic loop, it's not so easy. The piece is already round, so you can't just "knit it flat." And unlike a sock heel, you want to knit the whole thing, not just half of it. I ended up using 2 dpn's plus a third to knit with, and knitting inside and outside of an odd triangle. I'm on the second one now, and still experimenting. I want to make more of these, they're so fun and useful, but I think I'll go back to the knit flat method and stop complaining about the stitching up bit.

Back to knitting!

Monday, December 17, 2007


Last summer I dyed some wool with Kool-Aid, and I am now knitting it into handwarmers. It's coming out so pretty...much prettier than it looked in the ball. It's making about 3/4 inch wide stripes, rather softly, in warm pink and purple. The grape Kool-Aid didn't come out too good, so I over dyed it by just smooshing the whole thing into the strawberry color, and now it looks great! I can't wait to have these finished. They're so much fun to knit.

I also Kool-Aid dyed an old (store-bought) wool scarf today that was a very ratty shade of light pink. I used strawberry kool-aid and gave it a kind of minimal soak, and it's a pretty soft shade of red. I think it's better than the faded pink. And it will match the new handwarmers!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The socks are finished. Long live the socks!

All good things must come to an end, and a mere 3 months to the day after I cast on, I have finished a pair of grey men's socks. Kitchenered them and wove in the ends at Borders this morning. It's a great relief. These have been like an albatross around my neck.

And now...all the Christmas knitting is done! And I have *nothing* on the needles!

This afternoon, I made the long-awaited sheep for Ryan as well. Kristen told him about the sheep I made from a recycled felted thrift-store sweater, and he wanted one too. So I cut up sweaters and machine and hand-stitched all afternoon. All the sheep needs now is buttons for eyes. So even that Christmas gift is done.

I might try making a Seaman's Cap for my Dad for his birthday, which is January 4th, to match the mittens.

Or I might make myself some fingerless Maine Morning Mitts.

Or I could knit a hat for Kristen.

Or I could start one of the two lovely skeins of sock yarn I bought recently. I want to have a pair done for Kristen when I go to visit her January 18th, or at least finish them while I'm there. I plan to spend 5 days there over MLK weekend.

We put up the Christmas tree yesterday. And most of the Christmas cards are written out--though not mailed because, oh irony of ironies, we ordered stamps by mail and they haven't come yet. It's pretty sad when the post office can't even deliver their own stamps on time.

Well, it's nice to be done with school and done with most of the Christmas preparations, and to have a relaxing week ahead.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Endless socks

Oh my aching fingers, these socks for Sam are never going to end! I knit and knit, but I just can't get them done. The fact that the pair made from yarn from the same source have now practically disintegrated on the sole isn't helping, either. Fearless Fiber yarn is very pretty, even the Smoke grey colorway. But the base yarn is just too thin. I mended a hole in each foot of the Irish Forest Socks, and wore them around the house and to bed, and now there's a quarter-size hole in a new location on the ball of the foot. Very discouraging.

Kristen is home and we are knitting together. It is very relaxing to knit and chat with her. She is designing and making a pair of black flip-top mittens in 50% wool 50% alpaca that is so cute. She knits much faster than me (she does everything faster! Processor speed, I think.) She also cast on a bag in the round in bright-colored wools to felt. Meanwhile, I added a half inch to the grey sock....

On a brighter sock note, I ordered a pair of socks from etsy made in wool and knit on an antique sock-knitting machine, and they are magnificent looking! And they cost only $20, which is less than I pay for most sock yarn! In fact, I love them so much, I'm going to try to get another pair, so I can give one to Kristen and also have a pair for myself. Maybe that will take away the pain of the Irish Forest Socks.

I have 40 essays to grade today, and then I can add up grades and turn them in. The end is in sight!

I also mailed off Christmas packages to Grandma and Karen and Joanne yesterday. Since two of the packages contained hand-knits, I insured them for $200!! And even that wouldn't be enough to make me feel any better if they got lost somehow. I think Grandma and Grandpa will like their hat and mittens. It is a very romantic feeling to be able to give people hand-knits for Christmas. This could be Little Women or something!