Wednesday, December 26, 2007

You're Not Perfect, But I Love You Anyway

The Very Vanilla Mittens were finished on December 23rd. But with the chaos we call "Christmas", this is the first chance I've had to blog about them.

FO Details:
Very Vanilla Mittens - that's the name I've given them. They're actually called Classic Mittens and you can get the pattern for free at Free Vintage Knitting.
Started: December 09, 2007
December 23, 2007
Made For: Sophia to match her Sugar On Snow hat. And they're also my December project for the Do Something New KAL as they're the first mittens I've ever made.
Yarn: Jaeger Extra Fine Merino Chunky in shade 021 (cream). It only took 1 skein (69 yards) to make these, which I'm very impressed with. =)
Modifications: The pattern called for worsted weight yarn, so I modified it for the chunky.
My Thoughts: Overall I'm happy with these. In hindsight, the one thing I would change is that I'd have made them just a little wider. When Sophie wears them, they stretch a little across the widest part of her hands, making the fabric thinner. I worry they won't be as warm as they could be, or that they won't completely keep the snow away from her skin. There is no snow right now, so I'll have to wait to find out. I really like this pattern though, and I could see myself using it again. It gives a large range of sizes, from 2 years all the way through men's medium. This is a vintage pattern (I'm not sure what year it was published), and I did find the way the instructions were worded to be very strange in some places. I've been knitting for 3 years, but I wondered if it might have caused some confusion had I been a new knitter.

And now there is nothing on my needles. There's a couple reasons for that. The first, I've been busy sewing for my Etsy shop. The second, I've procrastinated massively about adding the finishing touches to the Seed Stitch Dress, Marshmallow Bonnet & Mary Janes. In an effort to give myself a kick across the finishing line, I've imposed a No-New-Knitting rule until those are completed. I tend to be defiant when rules are imposed on me. So, the only thing that's going on right now is me defiantly avoiding finishing them, while I longingly gaze at new stuff. =}

Hope you all had a great Christmas. Here's a favorite pic from ours:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Letter

To whom it may concern,
I'd like to officially opt out of the need to sleep. With 6 to 8 additional hours every day, I could have this, this, this, this, and this, and this, and this, and a pair of these, and a few of these knit up in no time at all. Now, I'm sure your very busy and get a lot of requests like this. And I have made many attempts to forgo sleeping on my own. But I would not call any of them successful. Without exception, they've resulted in things like my daughter walking around muttering, "Where did my Mom go, and who is this cranky crazy lady?" Or embarrassingly frequent incidences of me walking into a room thinking, "I know I came in here to do something if I could just remember what it was........." I thank you ahead of time for your cooperation on this matter.


P.S. If you could kindly point me in the direction of who I need to speak to about no longer needing to shower, it would be much appreciated. Specifically, if I could just take one shower and have it be enough to keep me sufficiently clean for the next 50 to 60 years that I plan to be here. Twenty minutes a day may not sound like a lot, but it really adds up over time. I've attempted to take that matter into my own hands as well, but I really missed having my friends come around.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And Mittens Too

I really like knit hats, but there's one thing I like more. Knit hats with matching mittens. So I searched around for a pattern to make a pair to go with Sophie's Sugar On Snow hat. I looked through my knitting book collection, poked around Ravelry, and did a Google search. I found many, many different patterns, and some were quite beautiful. But none of them were what I had in mind. I was looking specifically for a rounded, classic, simple shape. Then I came across these. While the whole one-is-red,-one-is-green-embroidered-"stop"-and-"go" thing didn't appeal to me, the shape of them was exactly what I was looking for. Plus the pattern is free, which meant I was able to start on them right away. Click on the link on that page to get to the pattern for the very appropriately named "Classic Mittens". I cast on Sunday night, and even only being able to work on them a row here, a row there, I'm nearly done. One mitten is finished and blocked and the other is knit to the point where I increase for the thumb. These are my first mittens by the way. I can say with much certainty, they won't be my last. I'm using Jaeger Extra Fine Merino Chunky, the same yarn I used for Sugar On Snow. So far I've only used 3/4 of a skein. How can you not love a project that knits up so quickly and is likely to use up not much more than 1 skein of yarn?!

I'm naming them the Very Vanilla Mittens, for obvious reasons - both color and simplicity of design. Sophie asked me, "But what if I get them dirty?" I said, "I'll wash them. Don't worry about it. Get them as dirty as they need to get, in order for you to have had fun playing." She smiled. I've just never been one of those "Don't get dirty" moms. I don't divide clothes into "School Clothes" and "Play Clothes". I think material things are there to be enjoyed, not worried about. But the biggest reason I have that attitude, is that I think childhood is a precious and fleetingly passing part of life. Soon enough, Sophie will be initiated into the adult world with it's many responsibilities and endless sources of stress. I say, play in the mud, have a who-can-get-the-dirtiest contest, chase the bugs as they fly through the air, eat grass for no other reason than to see what it's like to be a horse. And love every minute of it, for that time will pass so much faster than you could ever imagine. Or better yet, carry that energy and zest for life with you into adulthood. I leave you with a detail shot of our Christmas Tree.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Aw Suga' Suga'................Honey Honey

My Sugar On Snow FO
Started: November 19, 2007
Finished: November 30, 2007
Knit For: The Do Something New KAL, and given to Sophia. For the month of November my new technique to try was cables. And let me tell you, these were some easy cables. They consisted of "K2tog but do not drop stitches from left needle, k into first of these sts again, drop both stitches from left needle." Prior to doing this project, when I thought of cables, I envisioned things like using cable needles, or learning how to do it w/0 the cable needle, and having to focus to be sure I was crossing in the right direction. I had no idea such simple cables as this existed. Once I realized how simple this pattern was, I was a little disappointed. I had been looking forward to really expanding my knitting techniques. But if anything, it whetted my appetite for cables. Expect to see more adventuress attempts in the future.
The pattern: I thought it was really well written and found no errors. I appreciated the authors thoughtfulness in things like giving gauge in stockinette for the purpose of yarn substitution, and advising that if you choose to substitute a merino wool yarn (which has more spring) in place of the recommended Alpaca/Silk, then you should work an additional repeat to ensure the hat will be long enough.
Yarn: I substituted Jaeger Extra Fine Merino Chunky (in Cream) for the Knit Picks Elegance. Used Tahki Cotton Classic (in Red) for the I-cord.
Modifications: From reading about other peoples experience with this pattern on Ravelry, I saw that a lot of them were disappointed that theirs came out shorter than they had hoped for. So I was careful to try the in-progress hat on Sophia quite a few times. I ended up working two whole extra 4 row repeats beyond what the pattern recommended in order for it to be long enough to comfortably cover her ears. If there's anything that will ruin my opinion of a hat that I otherwise would love, is its being too short. I think it looks dorky.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Convicts, Felt, Christmas, And Squirrels

I happened upon the cutest Christmas crafting book at the library the other day. It's brought to us by none other than Martha Stewart. I'm really not sure what my opinion on her is, other than the fact that I love her crafts. I read one of her many biographies awhile back, and it certainly didn't shine the most flattering light on her. However, I also know that just because some thing's in print, it doesn't make it true.
The book is called Classic Crafts And Recipes Inspired By The Songs Of Christmas. There are quite a few projects I would definitely make. And I had taken more pictures than the ones that are included in this post. Unfortunately, the sun seems to have gone on winter vacation from my area of Pennsylvania, so a lot of the pictures didn't come out. Anyway, it was adoration at first sight when I saw the felt stockings and coasters.

So much so, that I felt inspired to make my own coasters, plus give them a little bag to be tucked into when not in use. These were really fun to make.

My favorites are the acorns with the squirrel bag. And yes, I have been knitting too. I finished Sophie's Sugar On Snow for the Do Something New KAL and I love how it came out. I'll try to post FO pictures of it on Monday or Tuesday.