It was inevitable, wasn’t it? My toe nails are long and my yarn was split…or a stitch wasn’t knit perfectly…and I’m not gentle with anything…It takes a great deal of energy for me to be gentle with things…I usually aim for durable. But a few socks have formed holes in them. Some are due to inexperience with the patterns, but some are due to simple wear and tear…and perhaps the way I hold my feet/walk. But two of my favorite pair of socks had holes in them. Since I was busy preparing for the quilt retreat, I have not had much time for sewing or knitting. However, this morning, I had an extra half hour…I found one of my eggs on  or near my bunny shelf…I’ll get you a pic of the shelf perhaps next week…and I decided to darn that sock.

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Back side of the Terpander socks…I made some progress this week, but I won’t feel like I’m almost done until I’m in the last repeat or I’m learning to love the rib stitch again….

Instead of mimicking my ex-husband who would stand there and point meaningfully at the the sock, and firmly state, “Darn sock,” (sometimes with a playful grumble); I stuffed the bigger of the eggs in the sock, and proceeded to pick up some stitches beneath the area to be patched. I then chose seven stitches to pick-up and knit and set to knitting.

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Terpander socks…they’re coming along, slow but sure…(excuse the photography please…)

I admit, there were two weird parts of knitting this sock…(knitting around an egg was the least of them…it really did make it easier to pick up the stitches….the weird things were 1) knitting flat on a sock…I think I had to remember how to purl, seriously; and 2) picking up knitting two together to seal the sides of the patch without stitching.

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You almost can’t tell…but it could be the photography…up close and personal, it’s noticeable…however, my feet haven’t noticed, and they were warm and cozy today;-).

The patch took me a little over a half hour, I blame inexperience and picking and k2t for this…as well as the grafting kitchener stitch at bind-off, in which the unexpected happened. However, I got the socks done in time to wear them to class today…even if they are not perfect. My feet have not noticed…I suspect that’s the important part.

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Completed Owl hat with violet eyes…

As for the rest of the knitting…It’s done! It’s done…eyes sewn on and all….See! Sorry I forgot to get a pic of the friend I knit it for wearing it. I’ll steal a facebook photo of hers later(with permission, mostly) and share it when you least expect it and need a pick me up.

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Knot Socks…row 6 of 20…11 rows and counting until heel section…

In the meantime, here’s the slow progress on the other socks I’m working on…and now to find the green yarn for the vanilla latte socks and get some darning done as well as quilting this weekend. May your weekend be as fun as mine, half as fun if you are not attending a retreat…(there may be another–tips were good this week;-)).

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In Defense of DPNs…

March 10, 2017

I feel I have a need to defend my dpns this week. They are my favorite “in the round” needle. They are used for most of my projects. I can say I have used two circulars and one long circular to knit socks. I have not yet used a 9” circular to knit a sock. I’m not sure if I cherish the idea of learning a new heel, but I will, when the opportunity presents itself. I see the 9” circular needle used and it looks simple enough.

However, this week, I received the yarn to knit the Owl Hat by Julie Measures could not find my size 8 dpns. They are likely attached to a UFO, I think I even know which one, but they won’t show their hiding place until I’m nearly finished with this hat. I can almost promise this….I have to wonder if Scamp made off with the project…she has absconded with the yarn and stashed it  in the basement in the past. It’s possible. I may venture down there this week to check.

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See, I know how to use circular needles….

In the meantime, my dear James volunteered to get up early and go to the local yarn store to pick me up a pricey pair of size 8 dpns. I sent him in with exact instructions and the color of yarn I was knitting with. They were out of all of the size 8s in dpns…except a black pair with silver tips, he told me when he called me at his house from the store. I didn’t think about it then, but my friend picked brown yarn. Counting stitches on black needles was going to be difficult. I asked for anything else. I did not look up the needles until after the phone call.

The problem was only one part the store was out of needles, except for the likelihood that she still had Karbonz in stock. I’ve heard very good things about Karbonz…However, they still had a black shaft which would make counting brown stitches difficult, they also cost money. I wanted a ten dollar pair of needles, as these were a replacement.

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This one, the problem is not the needles so much, as the complicated pattern….It’s on both sides now…(more about repeating things four times at once next week…).

The second part of the problem was that the proprietor did not simply tell dear James when the other dpns would be in(likely next week), it was that she tried to sell him circulars for me to knit the hat on. I’ve read patterns for one circular, and in the last rows, you have to switch to dpns anyways, if you are using one circular. I don’t want to switch needles…if I need to use dpns, I may as well use dpns.

In her ingenious suggestion, she offered up two circulars, which don’t require the switch. I have two problems with using two circulars….perhaps three. 1) Cost-these are a replacement pair of needles. I don’t want to drop the money for two sets of needles when one will do. 2) Cats. Most of you know we have cats. The cats love two circulars, therefore, Mom doesn’t. I have knit socks on two circulars and the cats have been more willing to help than ever. 3) I get confused which needle I’m knitting on and pull one entirely out of the socks…usually while knitting all of them onto one needle. The cats love this game. Mom, not so much.

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I haven’t mentioned this yet…my Little, Mariah and I made this for an auction to support Big Brothers, Big Sisters Wednesday night at 7 at the Doherty Hotel in Clare, MI….Come bid on it;-).

So, I defend my position that I want dpns. They’re familiar and comfortable and the only hanging strings for the cats to “help” with are yarn. They’ve almost grown up enough not to eat the yarn. They may never be grown up enough to not eat the plastic and nickel needles(that let stitches slide off like no one’s business). I like my dpns.

In defense of circulars, they have their place. Some people swear by them….likely those without cats, or those who learned on them (and perhaps don’t know better). You are less likely to drop a stitch (unless your yarn loves to drop stitches), but when you drop one stitch, you might drop the entire project. As a result of dropping fewer stitches overall, they might travel a little better. However, you can use point protectors or rubber bands(the small ones for dental work or hair) to keep stitches on your needles when you travel. In the end, I prefer dpns and am not ashamed to admit it.

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My beloved dpns….not perfect, just preferred by this knitter…. You are free to make your own knitting choices! (yes, I wish the color showed better…perhaps next week).

Someone once told me you could work two different patterns on the front and back of the sock with circulars….I do that well with dpns and only occasionally need place markers for this. I used more place markers to knit the heel of my toe-up on circular Terpander pattern than I have for any other socks I’ve knit lately.

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Progress on the Murder Mystery Quilt 2017. I was behind so I didn’t get my February clue and now I need more of the middle fabric for March’s block…Did someone say more “Shopping!” ?

In the meantime, there was progress, and the dpns are still easier for me. Yes, I learned/taught myself on dpns using silver’s sock knitting tutorial and an adventurous spirit. I did order the Caspian dpns from Knitpicks.com, as well as more yarn. I’ll tell you all about it next week. It’s supposed to be here by Saturday. Also, please note that I prefer to fully support my local yarn store, and will for future purchases of yarn. For needles, I think I will seek other options at this time. It would be different if I were entirely a novice…perhaps, but I’m not.

Too Many Knots…

January 27, 2017

Or…the dawning of the age of …homework and study…

Sorry, unless you really play with homework and study, it doesn’t match the correct term, but it is my life right now, mostly.

Amidst however many projects I listed last week, and likely one or two more added this week, as well as a consideration for one to be frogged, as there is likely a halfway point in the yarn….I started some legwarmers. I should keep them on the down low, but I’m hoping the recipient isn’t following….I’ll be watching closely to see if she likes this on facebook. Mom thought she;d love them when she saw the yarn and beginning pattern work. I hope we’re right. I almost asked her outright, but decided to remain covert for now. Her birthday comes sooner than I like. Okay, okay, back to the projects. Let me show you what I’m about to frog…

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I’ll show you the full thing before I frog it….but it needs to be a scarf or mitts…that work with the colorway of the yarn….this is almost halfway and the yarn reverses.

I’ve come to a realization, that frogging is a part of knitting…and since I taught my eleven year old little that seam-ripping has to happen in sewing, fit thrown throughout and all; I’ve decided I’ve done enough frogging to accept it as part of knitting. If I don’t love it, or it isn’t gifted, I’m frogging it.

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Shh…don’t tell…though it’s hard to see the pattern, isn’t it?

On the quilt side…I’ve checked my mailbox everyday, and now pink thread has arrived. So, the applique quilt I forgot to mention last week is not getting done. I could sew green, but I’m not in the mood for green. It’s January, for a couple more days, I need pink on purple or blue….or whatever color that bird will be.

 

However, I received the rest of the instructions for the mystery quilt, and decided what will become of it…It involves a chair and to an extent, my nieces…that story belongs in a quilt blog I’m kicking around, as soon as I finish studying Abnormal Psychology….which isn’t happening until May 4th or 5th, I believe. Yes, yes, I know…I asked for this…but at least I’m not giving speeches about blind dates…though it sounded fun.

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Can’t be compared to a blind date much, except they’re a bit tough to navigate and require concentration…

Ah, blind dates, allow me to explain; My dear nephew, David is taking college courses in high school-the lucky duck. So, I bought his mom a gift card to a famous coffee shop, well, dear James did on Thanksgiving, and Momma Michelle thanked me for it today, as she’d used it almost exactly as I hoped. I hoped she would take one of her kids out for coffee and use it for connection. She had the best time taking David out for coffee and hearing about how he described a blind date. Since he’d never been on a blind date, he took blind literally. I’ll let you use your imagination here. (I’m not even sure he knew how good he was, as he also told us the best one was the first one, who pulled teddy bear.)

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The cat’s idea that I should be petting her, instead of studying….Abnormal Psych terms, here I come…

So, I’m guilty…I had an exam today and got nothing knit, except the gift part, which needs to get done quick, but it a relatively simple pattern…if only the yarn would quit knotting. You heard me, this darned yarn is still knotting. I knit fourteen rows, perhaps I’ve gotten a little further, but not more than twenty…likely not more than sixteen, and I have a knot to sort out, after it’s been wound. It was an easy knot to sort out, but I’m not happy with this yarn at all. I will not knit with it again, even if the recipient falls in love with these darned things. May these skeins be used up soon;-).

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The offending project…May the 4th be with me, either way…

P.S. One should not watch the World Poker Tour while studying Abnormal Psychology, especially when they’re down to three players. (That’s almost when it gets good;-)).

Too Many Rules…

January 19, 2017

…or too many patterns. Nah, there’s no such thing as too many patterns.

I may have broken my own rule. After all, rules were made to be broken, right? Fortunately, I haven’t broken the rule irreparably…or have I? I have two supposed “adult” rules, and I’ve broken both of them in the past few weeks. I blame James for one. I only have myself and clever marketing for the second…I believe. Besides, blame doesn’t un-break the rules, or get things done. Please allow me to explain.

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Cabled Headband…which is the inspiration for only half of these weeks works in progress…

Rule #1: Do not begin three more projects before finishing the first project. This usually translates to one project on the needles and one project on the sewing table at a time…usually. Lately, the socks I’ve been knitting have been complicated. I only knit them on Sunday mornings when I have spare time. I’m making good progress, but I decided to knit some mittens as a travel project and a gift. They didn’t work out so well, so I ended up frogging them. Then dear James bought me a “project” for Christmas. Once I replaced the hat/mitten/scarf yarn with yarn I could and would knit with, I went in search of patterns.

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(The finished cabled headband…really, I meant to smile, but I hate taking selfies…;-).)

Yes, you heard me right, I spent a few hours on ravelry.com…who doesnt’. I finally found a cabled headband http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cabled-headband-26 pattern I liked and was hoping to find a matching cowl. I didn’t. I found similar ones, but I found none that work with me, so I’m left to making it up as I go along.

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The current cowl I’m currently working on…I’m hoping it will work with me…but only two more repeats.)

I was scared of the making of it. I really was, but it can’t be that hard, right? You heard me…and yes, we all know I should know better. Thankfully(so far), I do not know better. Instead, I came across that knitting journal I bought sometime last year and told you I’d tell you what I thought of it. What did I think? I didn’t think much of it until I started trying to work out this beast. This cowl shall remain nick-named the beast until it is finished. This week, I have two attempts and almost a graph/chart or pattern worked out. I want to leave options semi-open to make it your own. I like making something my own when possible.

Not near as easy as I thought it would be to write the pattern, I hope it’s more fun to knit…it shouldn’t be as hard as it looks. It was harder figuring out how to set it up…I think.

So, what did I do? It’s pretty simple, in theory, and hopefully in knitting. Explaining it visually or on paper is another matter. Part of me wants to say just do it, and you may have to, if you wish to make this cowl. I don’t think I’m doing the impossible, but we all know knitting can become mind-boggling at times. *If you do try to knit up this pattern as shown here, please give me credit for it…If you find any mistakes you cannot work through, or we cannot work through together, please message me. We’ll work something out. (It is knit in the round, please take that into consideration as you knit the cowl).

So, how does creating a new cowl break my rules….I already have another cowl on the needles, with a pair of socks and one sock beginning to think it’s suffering from second sock syndrome. Something needs to get knit, but I wish to test this pattern. In addition, I’m thinking about a shawl and I can’t find my size 8 dpns to knit the cowl up with, so I may end up doing this pattern on size 7s. Choices, choices…. Patterns, patterns….(And don’t ask me about the quilts).

Waiting on instructions on the quilt on the right, and may need to scale back projects some soon…or at least make a rule to do my homework first….

Yes, that is plural. I have Jessica’s No-longer Secret fantasy quilt to finish tweaking, I have just subscribed to a murder mystery quilt… a charity quilt waiting for Sunday afternoon(my morning), and  I have begun a mystery quilt for my quilt guild that will become a chair warmer/quilt for my nieces to sleep under at my home, it may be time for a second blog. In the meantime, I have to go clarify questions about the fabric and get the photos of my current works…since I have broken my own rules about the number of projects I can juggle.

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Squib, helping me with my homework…so much for planning;-)

As for rule #2…I no longer feel like discussing it. Actually, it’s “Nothing comes into my home that doesn’t have a home, but that requires some more shelves. I’m not sure how the projects fit…but the sewing table feels crowded right now. Can I have some more wine, please?

Mitten Continuance

December 16, 2016

What can I say….the big gifting day is ten days away…I’m almost half done with the first mitten. Hear me out….classes are done, grades are in–they’re respectable, but not my best work…well, except for the developmental psychology class. That was good work, or a 4.0. The rest, I received an A- in, or 3.7. I was surprised by one of the A-’s as I expected a B at highest, but our last quiz replaced a bad grade on a damned literary map (that likely doesn’t belong in a college classroom), so I consider that A- almost a bonus. But I got used to the 4.0 average I was working my butt off for in school, so forgive me if this feels a bit deflated. Alas, I must respect that it is still decent progress.

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Squib, cuddling while I knit…at least he doesn’t grade my knitting….just the yarn quality, sometimes

Moving on, I’m busting my butt on the semi-secret fantasy quilt. I’ve sewn in most of my free time and have over half of the border done as well as the cornerstones. I’m making progress…but I feel like it’s never enough. I’m hoping to get this top done before the 25th. I did catch a break today as my sister-in-law and I had gingerbread house-making planned, but she wasn’t ready as I headed off to learn my final grade in my frustrating class(see above, I hope that rant is over).dscn1630

Side 1 of the mitten…I think this is the bottom side, since it’s for the right hand…

I came home and sewed some clouds and worked out where the fabrics need to go to make more clouds. Then I considered the flowers….I need more flowers….I always need more of one or the other, but I made good progress and just have to keep working. I also snuck in a row or two on the mittens while I got some laundry done this evening. However, I also have to cook this week(projects or not….if I wanna eat, I gotta cook-drat).

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Side 2 of the mitten….It’s coming along, but I better return to knitting. I’m hoping it turns out better than it looks on the needles, but I think it will be fun in the end.

Then, as I watched the first half of the season finale of Project Runway, I finished dinner and knit the next row…which got me close to half way done with the chart. Since I have the cuff knit, I might be over halfway done, but I also have to knit a thumb in there…That could get interesting.

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Maeve, snuggling on mom while I knit… right on the yarn and covering the pattern…she’s a pro at interrupting the knitting process….

Now, allow me to tell you about my “Oh, crap!” moment. I’m not sure if it was yesterday as I snuck in some evening knitting time, but it must have been, because I barely arrived at class on time this morning(class was meeting early due to the final exam schedule). I started the left mitten, I’ve knit everything for the left mitten…do you catch my drift…then I looked at the chart pattern and realized I was knitting the chart for the right mitten! “You’ve got to be kidding me,” is likely the nice version of what I was thinking.

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Squibby doesn’t get the ‘What was I thinking?’ thing….he just tests it and sees what happens….I need to be more like Squibby…

Instead of continuing to swear about my luck, I calmly turned the pattern over, saw where I should be. Then I looked at the first page, and saw my salvation: Right mitten: Work same as left mitten. Thank goodness! I may have done a little jig in my chair…minding the knitting needles (and any other pins and needles) of course. I hesitate to celebrate further this week as I hope to make much more progress before I feel comfortable with the gifting.

I’m making good progress on the purple socks. The professor I met over the summer that asked if my yarn was some German or Austrian name I couldn’t understand saw my sock again and asked if it was the second sock. As class was beginning soon, I didn’t go into the full story and simply replied, “Yes.” I have two more rows and one more repeat-so, twenty two rows before I begin the toe. I’m getting so excited for the toes. (I also only had to rip out half of a row this week!)

dscn1464Sock progress…I need a better photo.

So, why am I disappointed, you ask, if the socks are going so well…Well, remember the other pair of socks I’ve been making slow progress on over the weeks…I knit two rows on them on Sunday with no problems. Then I was knitting in some of my downtime last night with no one around to distract me, and as I knit the middle of the cable row on sock B, The knitting needle snapped. How rude.

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I couldn’t believe it. I was just knitting! Cabling, yes, but still just knitting.

So, I have to think quickly, but the size two metal needle is still in the knitting bag, and I pull it out to finish the row and frantically scramble to try to pick up all the lost stitches. I finish knitting the cable row on the metal needles and decide to knit the next row on them to finish picking up the stitches that were already knit when the KnitPicks Majestic needle broke. I wasn’t happy and I’m exchanging them, hoping this is a fluke. *However,  KnitPicks.com customer service is all about phone calls, and it’s email service(for knitters who are knitting later at night), leaves much to be desired–as in I couldn’t find it. I found an exchange, but they haven’t told me my next needle shipped yet. I want to get back to my knitting on this pair.

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Let’s hope this yarn is forgiving of the frequent needle changes…but I’m getting so close…

They could be some wonky socks, with all the needle changes. In the meantime, I’ve decided to focus on the purple socks and maybe the quilting. I can’t wait to see the end product of either one.

*I will post next week about how long it takes KnitPicks.com to send out the new pair and fix this issue. I’m sure it’s been less than 60 days, and I’ve heard good things about their customer service.

 

Early Halloween Activities

October 21, 2016

This week, I actually accomplished a good amount of knitting, but I also worked in some Halloween activity with my little as well. We went to a haunted house that is not at scary…Not at all. I’m not scared, repeated the 8-11 year old boy who just isn’t scared by the haunted house. (I didn’t get his name).  That is, until the guide sneaks behind a panel as you’re going on about not being scared, and jumps out at you unexpectedly. The effect: “I almost peed my pants.” Made my Tuesday night, especially since I’m a helper, and I’ve taught, and I realize what it takes to keep a big group of kids happy for more than five minutes, even when they’re all supposed to be working on something (but you have limited supplies)…like inflatable ghost balloons and decorating pumpkins, abstractly.

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My second favorite part of the socks…the periscope look. My favorite part is sewing up the toe (Nevermind, it’s wearing them–but these are for a gift.)

I don’t think I got a single photo of the ghost balloon, but you’re welcome to click the link above. If you’d rather jump in both feet first, don’t say I didn’t warn ya;-). You take a water bottle, cap off and pour in one-half cup of vinegar. Then you take a funnel, cap the bottom with the white balloon, and fill the balloon with one tablespoon of baking soda….Oh, oh, oh…you draw a ghost face on the balloon first…with a sharpie of some sort (preferably not the smelly one we used). So, now that you have a ghost face balloon with baking soda added, and a water bottle of vinegar, you are almost there….Most of you can likely see where this is going, right? Oh, you didn’t do this as a kid? Drat…well, stick with me, it gets more fun. Now, you take your parts, and slowly put them together…first you put just the band of the balloon(the end you tie), on the water bottle lip/edge/mouth(whatever you wish to call it today). Then you pinch the area you will tie off. Next, you slowly let the baking soda fall into the vinegar and watch your balloon inflate.

Where was this idea when we were huffing our lungs out blowing up balloons for birthday parties? My mother refused to pay for helium, even when it became semi-affordable. Alas, there was knitting, I promise. However, I have to make an extra trip to get photos…drat. There was also applique, and I might be able to get photos here…pending the camera….

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See, it looks like a cross between a periscope and an alien face!

In the meantime, I need to check dinner–chicken parmigiana, made lighter (I think–though its mostly the way I’ve always made it…perhaps I just bake more), and get some progress shots of the socks…

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My latest applique Quilt…It will pop soon, I promise…Not that I want it to literally pop…but…

The socks are coming along well…I’m starting to get excited (at least for the purple ones)…for the pink ones, I’m not quite ambivalent, but I’m cautiously excited, so perhaps I am. I’m ambivalent in that I love seeing and quantifying progress…but as I get closer to the heel, I realize I’m going to have to do four cable row repeats instead of two with two knit repeats….Have I lost ya, yet?

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The toe-up Terpander socks….the other side is simply knit right now…though I get to start bringing the cables in Sunday(I’m not likely touching these before Sunday).

Allow me to explain. I’m working from the toe up, and the foot is generally easier to knit as the bottom is knit only. This pattern, when it gets to the ankle and leg is a cable all the way around creating an eight stitch rib on each side. The rib is the easiest part of this pattern. There may come a time when these socks become solely holiday socks, so I can focus entirely on the cable patterns. They get a little intense. But in the meantime, I shall enjoy the knitting of the feet.

 

Knitting a Cactuar!

April 18, 2013

Some days, you search for the patterns. Some days, the patterns find you. Some days, its a little of both. It becomes even more of both when a friend presents you with something interesting you’ve never knit before, but is close to the Sock Monkeys, you are known for. It’s even more interesting when that friend is full-grown man who plays video games and has a collector’s personality.

I received a facebook message from a friend asking if I could knit him one of these: http://www.sheezyart.com/art/view/2413993/ with a photo of the image included.

I looked at it and asked for a knitting pattern, since this version is crocheted. The person making this one made it smaller than mine, but I began the search and found a pattern with said friend’s help. We settled on one pattern, and I began knitting mini socks, that were almost like baby booties. The pattern said to knit the body first, but the “socks/booties” were tougher and there were four of them. If I could get them done, finishing the body should be easier and like a long home stretch.

The four “sock” legs knit up easier than I thought, but still provided some challenge as they were tiny, but too long for baby booties. Though, they were almost as cute. I have to mention the yarn color here, as cactuars are almost pea-green in appearance. I had an asparagus green yarn that has been deemed ugly. It was passed on to me from someone from the generation of avocado green kitchen appliances. I also had a really cool two tone green novelty ribbon yarn by ice, but it refused to knit up in a reasonable size which I could make this pattern from. So, off to the stores to search the correct skein of yarn.

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(The ugly asparagus yarn is nestled in the pretty bowl my boyfriend’s sister Denise and niece Katelyn picked out for me for Christmas)

While my friend offered to pay for the yarn or provide it, I knew about what I wanted to work with. I searched for something like Caron Simply Soft for this, or a cotton based green yarn, but neither had a good enough green that would look like a cactus. I looked at more specialty yarn, but did not find the right green, nor a good texture. I also wished to keep it affordable. So, after searching, and searching, the only green I liked was made by Red Heart.

Confession time: I am a yarn snob. While I will use acrylic and find it splits if I’m not careful in my knitting, I draw the line at Red Heart yarn as it has a scratchy feel I do not like. However, this was different version, called Red Heart with Love, and was apparently washed before it was sent to market. It didn’t have the scratchiness I’ve associated and found with every skein of Red Heart since I’ve begun knitting. I picked a pound of a color called ‘lettuce’ and took it home to finish the ;Gotta Love Me’ Monster in last week’s post.

Then I started knitting the Cactuar using the Red Heart with Love yarn and was surprised at its softness.  I knit the four sock booties, then began the body with a few knit stitches and a couple of purl stitches. The true fun of knitting this body,  since it was a lot of the same thing for 10 inches of knitting in the round, was taking it into work.

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(Cactuar on burgundy panel before assembly)

I work as a substitute teacher and find myself in different classrooms often. A repeat classroom, though increasingly common, is still rare. When I have downtime in class, or on breaks, I often knit. When I need time fillers at the end of the day, I pull out my knitting and demonstrate or explain the project. Each time, the sock monkeys, the monster, and the cactuar has engaged the imagination of many children, but the Cactuar perhaps most of all. Perhaps, I simply had more opportunity to present the Cactuar to the children I worked with.

But, just yesterday(Wednesday), I returned for an hour to a class where I was knitting the Cactuar previously. Before the teacher could show me where he’d left instructions for me and head out, one of the kids came up to me to ask if I’d finished what I was knitting last time. “The Cactuar?” I asked. “Yes, he’s all done. But the photos are in the mail, and I didn’t think to bring him with me. I’m working on socks now.”

I was touched. At the end of the day, as we put away the Winn-Dixie dioramas they were creating, and once we got cleaned up, we found we had a few extra minutes to fill. I pulled out my sock and demonstrated my knitting for this project to some interested fourth graders while a few volunteers made sure the floor was clean. While I was presenting, one of the students raised his hand to tell me, “I’m going to my grandma’s tonight, and I will be knitting with her.”

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(Cactuar on burgundy panel after assembly)

I was pretty impressed. At the end of my presentation, once the teacher had returned, he politely raised his hand to thank me for showing him my knitting. I wish all of my classes were as good as this fourth grade class. I really enjoyed them, as well as knitting the Cactuar. I hope you enjoy knitting your projects.

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(Cactuar on Briannag with puppy pillow. Briannag approves all my knitting, but would prefer to test it for durability)

I had conquered socks on double pointed needles. Since I was not going out to buy two circular needles in a size one or two, and I did not have any yarn I wished to make more socks with, I was in need of a new sort of project. I went wandering and looking; considering…a scarf; a sweater? I wasn’t sure I was ready to learn to knit cables yet. I’m told its not difficult, but I didn’t have as much desire. However, I’d heard about doll making from acquaintances in the Clare County Arts Council but found the classes too expensive and the dolls were not child friendly. I have two nieces who were turning 8 and 10 at this time, and I wanted to make them something special.

After searching the local library, I found a great book called McCall’s Big Book of Soft Toys and Dolls. This book is also available on http://www.amazon.com for about $6.00, give or take a few coins and shipping. Within, were a number of knit or crocheted dolls(as well as fun toys), some of which were crocheted into their clothes. I decided I didn’t want clothes knit/crocheted on and found a pattern with human looking dolls. The right shades of yarn had been gifted to me after my boyfriend’s grandmother passed on earlier that year. This pattern was even on straight needles.
I set to work making the Island sisters, though they didn’t look so Island/Hawaiian when I was done. I made two of them, which was interesting as I was knitting front sides and back sides. Now, I wish I had taken photos of these dolls before I shipped them off to my dear nieces in Florida for Christmas. This often happens at the last possible moment, unless I’m focusing on only gift and become ruthlessly organized the month before. I rarely become ruthlessly organized.

This photo is close, but mine were knit without the bathing suit and cap and more of a waistline (which I found kind of impressive). I hope to update this post with real photos soon.

(That said, If my brother is kind and loving, and hopefully entertained by my signature, “Your loving, teaching, know-it-all sister,” then I may be able to get photos for this blog. Note to self…must take more photos. Somehow, no one ever thought they’d hear me say those words.)

Back to the dolls…which I knit them one at a time. Then I used the extra yarn tied to my knot to sew the dolls together. Having grafted with my toe on the sock, I did attempt grafting the seams of these dolls together. I think it looked better in the end.

All went well, until I realized I made mistakes at the shin/leg of the dolls. Some of them I knit shorter than others…but knit patterns can be forgiving, as well as nieces who can’t read knitting patterns yet (and likely wouldn’t, if they could). I also bought the nieces off with some stash yarn for their crochet practice. After I sewed/grafted the knit dolls together, I stuffed them. Then I began to sew in eyes and a smile/smirk. The smirks suited my nieces, just a tad. Then I got to the challenge of adding hair. I’m not the best at adding hair, and decided to sew it on. Once I got the sections of hair sewn on, as uneven as they turned out(Hey, I’m not perfect here, I just try to be), I gave them another hair cut and tried to sew dresses for them. That’s another adventure. At this point, I’m hoping my sister-in-law with her mathematical eye for detail, fixed the hair shortly after their arrival. If she didn’t, she has my permission to re-set the hair now;-).

All in all, they enjoyed the dolls which went with a story I’d been writing for them. Perhaps I’ll return to the storyline soon. After all, Beach season will be returning…and these dolls can at least be washed.

Above: My inspiration for much of my knitting: My beautiful nieces, Jessica and Elizabeth in sunny Florida. I did create the dolls to look like them in that Jessica’s had dark blond/almost brown hair, and Lizzie’s had sunny yellow blond hair as she describes it. I do wish I had had time to sew them dresses…perhaps I will finish that this weekend, and debate about making them swimsuits for the beach season.

Now you’ve seen it in print…I’ve admitted I’m not perfect. I will have friends and relatives framing this quote for years to come…providing they come read this too…next…we’ll see how the yarn knits up…