Actually, I lost: Here’s the take from last week, Friday evening, I think…

The struggle is real…. See, I still have six more rows of forty stitches…. They’re almost done. I want them done on time(they will be), but I may run out of yarn in the meantime. At least on this roll…. I have some left from the other roll, and I will have to decide the best way to attach it(and hope it looks reasonable, but I think it’s gonna be close).

Back to the present…

It was close…so close, I technically lost. Luckily I did have some on the other roll and the blend doesn’t look too bad…I don’t think Lizzie noticed. She was mostly happy with the result and the warming birthday gift–though next time, I’ll have to make them bigger and let her hand them down to a mini-me. In the meantime, she’s got warm legs and a new purse and I’ve cast on the second sock….

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Cast on of new, but familiar purple socks….This is keeping my sanity hanging by a….nah….probably not after this week…

Yes, my purple socks are no longer suffering from second sock syndrome. I almost cast on the cowl I could use some days this February, but it’s been an exhausting week and I wanted something familiar. In addition, it was about time. Besides, I may be moving on to a hat this week for a friend, if she remembers the yarn. I’m half tempted to go pick out yarn for her and just make it. We’ll see what happens.

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Squib, snuggling a favorite sweater that I hope will one day match the Terpander socks I don’t have an updated photo of….

As for the pretty pink Terpander socks, I sought out advice on http://www.knittingparadise.com and was told my ladders(once I got a good enough photo of them) looked just fine. I’ve yet to start the second heel as it’s been a busy and stressful week. I’ve made it through three exams in two days and somehow still found energy to write this blog tonight….

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Current progress on the second sock…

I probably just need sleep, but there was Valentine’s day this week and my dear James treated me to dinner, and(I forgot to get the photo), not one book, but two–he really does know the way to my heart and keeping me up past my bedtime. And yes, it is the signed, hardcover first edition of Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb and it’s just as gripping as the others in the series. I love this series.

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Because if I took J.D. Robb to class, I wouldn’t get any studying done, at least, not until I finished the book. I might not even leave when class was done…

In the meantime, I’d better keep up on next week’s homework, and hope the article I have to choose from some specific type of journal with a specific type of format….but clear as mud to me is finally a correct one and I can get the summary done. Perhaps we should just have to read academic journals and keep a record of summaries of one of their articles as they are published–sounds like a better exercise than finding articles on any topic you want, only to repeatedly hear, “Not that one.” Alas, such are the woes of an undergrad…back to knitting and reading, right after I accomplish some more homework so I don’t have to do it all on Sunday.

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How the fairies hid my place markers from me…they don’t have to work very hard at this, you see….

“And, why did she take photos of the place markers?” Why, yes. Yes I did. The fairies finally returned them.

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For now, they’re safely tucked into the pocket of my knitting bag. I wonder how long that will last….

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There is knitting, too, I promise….

Allow me to pour us a beverage and explain. I’m having wine, what will you have?

After my nap, I sewed and then sewed some more, then I ripped out some stitches of misplaced hexies, and went back to sewing them in the right place…darned hexies. I was also sent home disgustingly early on Christmas Eve which left my bank account weeping a bit more than expected this year. The snow arrived early this year, which is better than late, when you are not driving home in it too early on Friday night as well….Alas, let’s get back to the sewing I went right back to with the extra time I now had on my hands. I still had tweaks to sew, hexies to place and part of a border to attach….as well as a letter to type and print which would be delivered explaining the quilt top.

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Jamie…wondering what he might do with a planetarium (it’s science, he’ll be fine…).

Where’s the super-secret quilt top? What a great question, I’ll get right on that. About 4AM Christmas morning, I put the quilt top in a huge box with some batting choices, the letter and a small, wrapped package of chocolate and popcorn. The child shouldn’t walk away empty handed,after all. As my dear niece, Jessica, worked to undo all my pretty 4AM wrapping, she guessed there was a dress in the box. Unless it was a ball gown replica (one I’d shown her back in October), it wouldn’t have needed such a large box. It was a good guess on her part, and perhaps success on my part. (I have sewn her dresses before, mostly when she was younger). Once she got the box opened and began to lift the quilt out, I had my sister in law step in and assist with the unveiling and handed Jessica my camera. Forgive the photo, I often forget to direct when I’m not behind the camera. Besides, most of my subjects are cats, dogs, and yarn…they have ears only for food, and the yarn, doesn’t listen at all, much like the cats.

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The reveal….there’s more to go….but here’s what I’ve been working on forever….or the last three years…if that isn’t loving someone more, I don’t know what is;-).

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That being said, the quilt top is still a wee bit unfinished and my dear Dad was the first to point out the holes left in the quilt top. (I wanted to shout, “You should have seen them yesterday!” I didn’t, I was good.) He suggested the holes were arm-holes…you see them…clever, but not quite. I’m quite aware I have more work to do. But once it was unveiled, and I returned to work Monday to double my normal hours this week, including an extra Tuesday, I decided it was now okay to take a slight break from the quilt top. Besides, there is still more to update.

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Said quilt top…Spindly legs, and all…spindly term courtesy of Jessica…

I also presented the cable socks to Lizzie(the younger niece), that I’d been working on for much of fall semester. I promised feet photos and forgot them. I’m torn between you have to wait until my pair is done or I’ll have her pose her feet next time…then we have to figure out the best way to photograph someone else’s feet….

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Future footwork…(it’s not as if I have three or more of these irons in the fire;-))…

I also meant to unveil mittens to my dad. They did not get finished, not even the first one. Hence why I was on the naughty bench all week, in addition to the quilt top–’When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better.” –Mae West.

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Where the mitts are this week….(they didn’t fit…). I’m glad I got the “alternate” gift…perhaps one day, I or Lizzie will love them;-)….

Luckily, I’d received a generous surprise gift card and snuck off the the J-store (Jo-Ann Fabrics) to purchase some last minute gifts….(yes, I know better). While dear James’ journal came in before the big day, he still appreciated the simple hard-cover journal of a similar size I procured for him which may travel better.

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The journals….his is much better–the leather one on the right, but mine travels easier….

Then I presented my dad with his “alternative” gift, a simple Star Wars calendar. I proceeded to test his reaction to the wool I was using by thrusting the entire skein into his hand. If it made him itch, I’d have a positive and he could wash the itch off quickly. I showed him the right mitt and had him try it on. Turns out, it’s better suited for my hand than his, which I feared. He was not fully aware of the mittens, so this gift was not an entire bust, thankfully. I might be able to get off the naughty bench for this year. I’ll be sure to join you ladies (and perhaps some gentlemen) right back there next year!

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Bubble gum filled Naughty socks….the Nice sock was hidden in the bottom of the snowman….

Now that the big reveals are done and my nephew enjoyed his bubblegum filled socks… presented naughty one first (because the kids really are a chip off the old aunt block….don’t tell them I admitted to anything near old, but the block is old!), I’ve considered reflecting on the past year, but with all the deaths of legends, whether the returned home as the K theory in Men In Black suggests or they are simply gone, we’re begging for a kindler, gentler 2017, and thinking of sending 2016 off with a big bang…or one heck of a salute. It won’t matter to me, unless the big bang is in the gaming hell where I will hopefully be dealing a Carnival game rather than Black Jack.

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My happy break from work(except when I’m talking knitting with a Georgian(U.S.) knitter working on a Detroit Lions cowl before a tournament she attends once a year;-). (Squee moment from work).

Enough about work…there’s a reason Londoners, or Englishmen, in historical novels call it a gaming hell, and I’m not really done being naughty, and therefore am absolutely not prepared for reflection…February will be cold enough for that…. Plus, I’ve picked up some “shelved” projects and had others thrust upon me or requested.

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The other side of the socks….I still love this color.

Dear James had to fill my stocking after all, and when he got home from his last minute traditional shopping trip to my local yarn store, he reminded me that I’m expensive and told me he got me a new project…well, the yarn for it anyways….

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Dear James told me I didn’t have a matching scarf, hat and mittens…half acrylic…Now I’m left searching for a matching pattern….any suggestions?

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Reveal of the second sock for the kid willing to wear my Naughty or Nice stocking hat…;-)

The boyfriend’s hat

February 14, 2013

Image of Adult's Simple Knit HatAs this is a Valentine’s Day post, or even the day after, I have decided this post fits here better than my second post, because after all, one of the best things to talk about on Valentine’s Day is a gift hand-made for someone they love and wish to keep warm. It’s also one of my favorite days, and a perfect time to keep warm because it is snowing outside. However, this year, my dear, sweet James is not getting a hat for Valentine’s Day. But since he checks these posts once in awhile, I will wait to mention what I did get him, though it wasn’t knitted this year. Now, back to the knitting world…as romantically as possible for my knitting experience, today.

I mentioned in my first post that I’d learned about double-pointed needles and knitting in the round while knitting my first scarf “panel” and my second scarf “panel” as well as a third and a fourth which are each waiting for me to dub them as end table decor or to sew them into a finished project. How did I learn about it? What does knitting on two straight needles have to do with knitting in the round and double-pointed needles?

Keep the questions coming, I’ll answer as many as I can. Feel free to add them to the comments. At that time, I had joined a fun website called www.knittingparadise.com. Knitting Paradise was my second internet home for a while, and some days my first. The photos there are beautiful, and they had a great concept a KP’er set-up and another continues to this day (I believe), its called a Knitting Tea Party that starts around 6PM on Friday and invites knitters, crocheters, seamstresses and anyone else who enjoys tea, coffee, carbonated caffeine or just plain ol’ water to come sit for a spell and have a chat. For a time, I even revolved my weekend computer time to catching up on this weekend long tea party. This is a great forum and worth some time. I finally came away from this forum but still check in from time to time.

I do recommend the knowledge and most of the people on Knitting Paradise. I don’t think anything like it can be found to match it on the internet, we could claim facebook…but that’s where I go to complain about my day, not learn about knitting, usually. Knitting Paradise is where we complain about husbands hiding stashes, or replacing them as you thought you were making progress and where we celebrate the wins–when the gift we just spent 28-32 hours knitting is adored and where we cry when kids or friends say, why don’t you just buy something? Not to mention the pictures…oh, the pictures…some days, when I need a break, I log in just to see the pretty knitted projects photographed so adorably.

So, as I was beginning knitting anew, I was looking for the next project as I often seemed to be, I found and would log into knittingparadise.com and get oodles of ideas. Now, the projects seem to be coming to me without much help…one day, I’ll re-learn the word “No,” with the same gusto of a toddler who’s just learned it’s meaning and is being offered something gross to eat. Okay, maybe not so emphatic, or at least with a “Sorry, but…” attached to it; but it’s easy to get wrapped up in making stuff for others and never knit anything for yourself. I think it comes from being a woman, in some cases.

But what does all this have to do with the second project…It’s how I came about it. I needed a gift for my boyfriend and after looking up ideas, I settled on a hat that he would need and would likely use, if the dog didn’t get to it first. She hasn’t (and lives), yet…though we still can’t find where he stored the darned hat until winter. I searched hat patterns and opted for a circular pattern at the time. I thought it would be easier to work than double-pointed needles. Sometimes, it is, but even in circular needle knitting, one must utilize dpns at the end. I used a size 8 circular needle with a double-strand of black acrylic that was gifted to me. I learned soon after why some people insisted they would not use black yarn again, or navy or anything that dark that didn’t let you see the stitch.

I had chosen a pattern that required two inches of ribbing as I began the hat. The first thing I learned about ribbing is that ribbing takes focus. If you are tired, you will make mistakes. Depending on where the mistake is, you can choose to fix it, or choose to ignore it and call it an angel kiss. I suspect this hat was made with more angel kisses than even I was aware. The second thing I learned about ribbing with black yarn is-its harder to detect mistakes. If you are a perfectionist, I recommend that you carefully choose your yarn color or make sure you have great lighting as well as a good amount of ability to focus as you knit. I was grateful at the time there was only two inches of ribbing as I began the hat.

Then I began knitting in the round, which wasn’t as difficult as one might think. There were, and still are, parts that seem cumbersome at first. But as you knit, they smooth out, or you get used to them and learn to compensate for those cumbersome parts. After a while, you find you are just knitting with two needles and a cable to hold your work so you don’t have to sew it together at the end. However, I did have to change to dpns for the last few rows, as with the decreases, it became easier to knit on the dpns. Later, I learned that dpn knitting wasn’t any harder to me than circular knitting. But that’s another post.

All in all, it was a relatively easy pattern to make. I do wish I had my own photos of this hat, but here is what it is supposed to look like:
http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/L20403.html?noImages=

It very well may have been this Lion Brand Pattern, in which, yes, you do have to register to use Lion Brand, but they have never sent me anything I didn’t ask for. Now, simply imagine this in black, but a little thicker due to using two strands of acrylic yarn in worsted weight or 4 ply thickness. Since I had circular knitting needles, I made any necessary adaptations, which weren’t many and switched to dpns as it became tough to work with. I will go over dpns in more detail when I tell you about knitting my first pair of socks.