Monday, February 28, 2011

New Socks!

I just finished my toe-up socks that I have been knitting along with the Knit Picks Lovers group on Ravelry (blogged about here earlier this month).  I used the Toe-Up Socks With a Difference pattern by Wendy Johnson with the motif from Pillars by Lisa Stichweh, knit with Knit Picks Stroll tonal yarn in Blue Yonder on 2.5mm needles.  They actually turned out quite nicely, I am rather surprised!  I thought I would have a lot more trouble than I did since I have these ridiculously high arches.  As it turned out I just needed to start the gusset increases a little sooner and do a few more rows to make room for those arches (I started 1/2" sooner than indicated in pattern and did 2 additional rows of increases).  That said, I do think I prefer cuff down, it is just that much easier to adapt the pattern for my feet.

The socks do fit comfortably, but as you can see they are pulling across the arch, the heel flap is being pulled in towards the top/toe of my foot to make room for that arch o' mine.  I maybe should have added in 2 additional increase rounds, but I am not ripping anything out now to do so!  I also might have made them a tad longer, but to be honest I was getting kind of sick of knitting them so crapped out and just finished them off, although I do like socks about this height I am finding so we'll just say I did it on purpose!

 As you can see I even got started on a secondary goal for the year, working on Christmas gifts.  I already got this little stocking ornament done and will be making a mitten and mini sweater ornament from my leftovers as well.  They are really cute little things and do help use up those little leftovers, although since I prefer shorter socks my leftovers are a bit more in yardage I believe than others have.  I wonder if I can make Lil' Miss a pair of socks from just under 200 yards of yarn?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Warm hands, finally!

It's amazing how much can change in a year.  I first saw the Chevalier mittens last January and it was love at first sight, however, I was extraordinarily intimidated by them.  All those cables, and something with that small of a diameter, eek!  I really, really wanted them but wasn't sure if I could ever successfully make them.  That said, I did buy yarn to make them the next month which promptly went into my stash boxes and languished there for a year.  After a few very cold mornings last month, I decided I really needed some mittens and it was time to face my fear of the Chevaliers.

It turns out they weren't nearly as difficult as I imagined they would be.  Seems that my skills have developed quite a bit over the past year and they weren't really that hard at all (they were fiddly though with that dang cable needle!).  I guess that I hadn't realized just how much I have learned about knitting and things that once seemed impossible are well within my ability to do.  I even managed to do them using magic loop and both at the same time, go me!

About my only gripe is that I mis-crossed one of the cables and was already so far past it once I realized it that I decided to just leave it rather than try to rip everything out to fix it.  For you see, I had already done it once already and wasn't in the mood to do it again.  Wasn't it the Kelts who would purposefully make a mistake in their lovely illustrated Bibles to honor God as he was the only one capable of perfection?  Or was that a tradition in Islam?  Whichever, I'll just think of my error as an homage to this tradition, plus no one will likely notice it but me! (oh, and of course anyone who reads this here blog will be sure to point it out to me if they see them!)  I may have kind of brought it on myself though as I decided to mirror the mittens and thus changed up the cross for each mitten, teach me to 'improve' a pattern.

Next up for the hands, fingerless mittens for those not quite as cold mornings, but which pattern to make, hmmm?!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday is for kids

At least in our house it is!  We have allowed Lil' Miss to choose the dinner menu for a few months now, within reason of course.  Her favorite so far has been fish of some variety, usually catfish (a five year old choosing fish, weird I know!) with rice and broccoli, interspersed with the request for my made from scratch mac and cheese.  At some point I will hand over the dinner preparation to her to help her with learning to plan and prepare meals.  Of course she will have to share the choosing with Destructo Boy once he gets a bit older and more verbal.

With the new year we have also added in games after dinner, after everyone is finished eating we all sit down and play games or puzzles together.  Lil' Miss has been loving this new part of our routine and gets so excited when I tell her it's tie to go pick out a game to play.  Mister Vonkysmeed is usually less than enthused with the choices (I'm not exactly doing backflips over them either to tell the truth) but she is only 5, so the games are of necessity a little on the simple side.  Think Candyland, Chutes & Ladders, Hi Ho Cherry-O and youget the idea.  Maybe some nights we'll turn to the Wii for something a little different. She is learning to handle disappointment with this though, not an easy thing for a 5 year old.  Some nights are a little rougher than others but it's getting better.

My hope is that by establishing a family routine now, when they get older the kids will still want to spend time with us old fogies, and it gives wonderful opportunities for open and honest communication with each other.  I know that if I blink too long they will be all grown up and out of the house so I've got to enjoy my little anklebiters in all their frustration causing glory now!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Evil Red Holiday!

It's a long story, but a culmination of various different negative experiences led me to rename Valetines Day to The Evil Red Holiday quite a few years ago.  Happily Mister Vonkysmeed has made it not so evil now, but it has become a little joke between us, so The Evil Red Holiday it remains.  I hope everyone reading this post has a lovely day with those they love and hold dear, enjoy what you have and don't regret what is past.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Toes Up!

Got started at the beginning of the month with the KAL in the Knit Picks Lovers group on Ravely.  I am using the Toe-Up Socks With a Difference pattern by Wendy Johnson and am adding in the motif from Pillars by Lisa Stichweh.  For my yarn I am using some Knit Picks stroll tonal in the blue yonder colorway, I am absolutely loving how the colors are blending, such gorgeous blues, teals, and aquas.  It was a pretty easy start once I figures out the cast on.  One of the Ravelers posted this link for a video explanation of how to get TAAT started on magic loop, after watching it through twice I gave it a go and got my socks cast on with my first try.

I followed the instructions for the increases and then did an additional 4 rounds before starting the lacy motif on the instep.  I am really liking how they are coming along so far, but am worried about how to increase the gusset to make for a taller heel flap.  I was clued into this post from Wendy's blog (a great read if you love knitting!) where she describes altering her pattern (yes the one I am using, hooray!) to make room for a taller heel flap.  I think her adjustment may be a bit much for me, but it definitely gives me a starting off point to adjust the pattern to fit my feet.  Thank goodness for helpful knitters on Ravelry!  I wouldn't have had the guts to try toe up socks without knowing I could get their help.

I am actually a bit past where I was when I took the pictures, I am just about ready to start my increases for the gusset.  Wish me luck as I try to figure this next step out!

Monday, February 7, 2011

The 'what was I thinking' cardigan...

a really exciting lump of knitted fabric, I know

Would be the Austin Hoodie by Connie Chang Chinchio.  It is gorgeous, really and truly it is, however it is a long sleeve, hooded cardigan knit with sock yarn!  Talk about a time consuming effort, yikes!  Then to make matters worse I decided I really didn't like the super loose gauge of the pattern as written so decided to go down a needle size, make that two, to tighten it up to a fabric I was happier with.  But I really, really want it so I got started with the hopes of having it done for Easter, I had already purchased some lovely Araucania Itata in lilac from WEBS for 50% off so was all set to get started.

I have now started it twice, the first time I followed the pattern with the turned under hem and knit for several inches before realizing that 1) I don't like that kind of hem as it folds up while being worn, 2) I was switching between skeins of yarn (no dye lot=work with 2 skeins at once) along the front edge, not the brightest idea since they are exposed, and 3) I put the dang buttonholes on the wrong side (I am adding on buttons as that is how I wear my cardis).  So I decided to rip out 5 days worth of work rather than continue on with a cardigan that I might not be happy with or wear when it was finally completed.  Let me tell you, that was a painful decision!  However, it was a necessary one.

I am now well past the point I was when I tore it out and am much happier with how it is coming along, The hem looks much nicer in garter stitch (plus it matches the garter stitch edge along the fronts quite nicely!) and will in all likelihood lay down rather than curl up like the picot turned hem on my Isabella does.  I am also switching out the skeins right next to one of the false seams along the side, it looks a little wonky in places but I think I will be able to even it out with a crochet hook.

To make up for my tight gauge I am following a size larger than I would normally knit, and since I may run a bit short on yarn I have decided to also go without the hood, opting for a collar instead.  I'll probably just start as directed for the hood and bind off after a few inches.  Here's to hoping for the rest of it going quickly and error-free!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

To scrap or not to scrap...

 Did you know I scrapbook too?  Well, not nearly as often as I used to admittedly.  I actually feel guilty for 'falling behind' on my scrapbooking.  Whose behind?  I guess my own self-imposed idea of how quickly I should get the photos in the album I suppose.  I currently have the pictures ready to go for summer, but need to go through fall and the winter holidays photos to decide what gets printed.  Then of course I do birthday books for each of the kids and of course I still have to do their 2010 birthdays. 

I was talking to Mister Vonkysmeed about it the past weekend, that I felt bad I was so 'behind' on getting the photos done and he asked why I felt guilty, and more to the point, why was I trying to force myself to do something I really didn't want to do.  I thought about it a minute and realized gasp that he was right had a point.  So I gave myself permission to do as I liked and proceeded to knit on my Chevalier mittens.

However, I am beginning to feel like working on scrapping again.  I will admit to as much of an addiction to appreciation of scrapping paper as I have with yarn, I love the pretty stuff and am tempted endlessly to acquire.  But I had already purchased the materials to finish up summer and fall of 2010, so I just need to get around to actually working on it, which I have actually started to do (yea me!).  Next up, getting those birthday albums updated!
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