Randomly on a...

Monday Randomness

I like to think I’m a pretty reliable person.

Then I realize it’s been more than a month since the last time I posted.

So here’s a wrap-up of my month:

1. I finished the socks for boyfriend. He wears them a lot at night, now, and scuttles around on the linoleum in the kitchen while smiling like a dork because his toesies are warm.

2. I finished a puerperium cardigan for my knitting friend Sandy who had her baby girl about a week ago. I made some design additions to this one, pretty much I got a little overzealous with the raglan increases so this sweater will definitely fit Little Girl in about a year. I used old buttons from my mom who has a really nice stash of buttons from her own purchases as well as from my grandmother. I raided her stash and wound up with these adorable buttons. Luckily she had 8 in the same size.


3. Boyfriend requested fingerless mitts in the same colorway as his hat. I started on them, realized they were too big, ripped them out and started again. I’m now through the gusset on the second one, but I’m stalled out. He, obviously, has been nagging me about them, “Hey so it’s kind of cold out today… Really makes me wish I had some fingerless mitts to keep warm while driving…” to which I glare at him, he smiles and I look back down at my sweater.

These are not the final mittens. This is the too-big mitt that I ripped out.

4. I’m knitting a Featherweight Cardigan. It’s really slow going. I’m using Shelridge Farms SoftTouch Heather in the grey cone I got a few years back at Stitches Midwest. It has a slant to it right now, but I assume it’ll block out, which seems to be a mantra for me lately.

There is no image of this project. Because it looks like a big mound of dark grey knitting.

5. I knit a lining. I don’t think I showed off my two-day cowl because it was super basic. I bought two skeins of Malabrigo Rios (Puerperas and Archangel) and it amazingly looks like it’s one skein, but I only did stockinette throughout the entire thing so I grew to dislike how it rolled. I had another two skeins of Rios (Puerperas and Candombe) and decided to pick up the existing stitches and knit a lining. The final result is big and warm and so soft and, I suspect that after a good heavy blocking, I’ll be able to double it around my neck without feeling like I’m being suffocated.


6. Two words: FOOT OVENS. I was looking for something really warm to wear at Boyfriends and my place while I don’t have the heating on (I’m determined this year to keep my heating costs really low).  I stopped at Ben Franklin in Oconomowoc (They have Cascade now!) and picked up some KnitPicks Harmony Needles along with some Cascade 220 superwash in a cranberry and ivory colorway. Toes, heel and cuff in ivory and the rest in the cranberry and I love them. Boyfriend and I snuggled up the other night with our socks in front of the space heater and watched Big Bang Theory.


7. I made a cowl in one day. Super chunky and I wanted to wear it that night and following day, so I finished it while playing DnD. I haven’t worn it since blocking because it does the same annoying (really obnoxious with chunky  yarn) curling, so I’ll be attaching a lining and it will go to Murphy for Christmas.

That’s all I’ve got. I will be back next week. Hopefully.


Knitables · RANT

Ennui and Melancholy

NOTE: Expletives and un-ladylike language ahead. Tell the children to visit another blog tonight.

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know I’m kind of a cynic/realist. This is what happens when my cynicism reaches its full potential and I learn a lot about myself in a short period of time. I attempted funny, I giggled while reading. Hopefully you will to.

Usually I’d be gung-ho for Christmas and for knitting for my friends and family for the holiday get-togethers.

Not this year.

I’ve come to realize that I find a sick pleasure from spreading myself too thin and then bitching about it when things don’t go to plan because I essentially plan them to go to shit  wait until the last minute to knit things procrastinate. On the other hand, I also get a pleasure from seeing other people light up from the things I do for them. I feel like I’m justified from spending so much time on something when I see them light up and try on their knits and it’s like a tiny little hug from me whenever they put this knitted item on.

I have approximately 5 days to knit four more fingerless mitts and six toppers for them. These three pairs of convertible mittens will have to be done as soon as possible when it’s seemingly impossible to do so. One pair will be done by the time we leave for the party, another will probably have the needles in the thumbs because I finished them in the car ride to the party and a third will have the needles in the body of the mitten itself and will have to be deferred until after I get back from the holidays. All ends have to be woven in and they should be blocked but I’m choosing to refrain from doing so because I don’t have that kind of time.

Didn’t I start talking about Christmas knitting in July? Why is it December 13 and I’m furiously knitting away on presents I should have started last year? This is the fate of knitters everywhere, I’m sure.

Yes, I’m in one of those moods today. I’m choosing to blame the full moon and my unfortunate string of bad luck with dating as of late.

So last night, after getting really crappy news about this guy I really liked, I cast on a red scarf for myself on size 8 needles. This simple garterstitch scarf made me think of how much I take for granted with knitting; how I knit for others in order to find some sort of gratitude from them when I know most of them don’t fawn over the knitted garment with the same frantic freak-out devotion I used to knit it. I haven’t knit for myself since I finished the Bagheera Cowl and started the insane hats for Soldiers (Which were received in a week (!) and I got a thank you from an Airman. An AIRMAN. Dammit. I wrote “Soldier” in EVERY. SINGLE. LETTER. It’s right now when you can hear the thud from my head slamming against my desk.) so the fact that I’m finally knitting for myself makes me feel a little better about my abilities.

So now I knit these mittens knowing I’ll be hearing “I thought you were making a scarf instead” or “I thought you had the color that matches this item you made me last year!” to which I will tear the mittens from the recipients hands and say “I’m disowning you” “If you don’t like them, just say so and I’ll give them to someone who will appreciate them I will totally take them off your hands to keep my own warm!”

And then I’ll pretend I’m not deeply hurt even though I totally saw it coming.

It’s at this close proximity to Christmas and said party, that I wonder why I do this to  myself every year. Why do I spend hours and hours knitting things I know won’t be appreciated. Why do I stress myself to the point of lying in the fetal position chewing on my hair muttering to myself, or yelling at people “DON’T BOTHER ME WITH QUESTIONS OF GIFT CARDS, I HAVE MITTENS TO KNIT!!!” and spending my nights wondering why I ever wanted to knit in the first place? And then I come to the blog, bitch about it for a while, and I feel better for the moment.

Tonight I will knit. Because I have a deadline. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to miss it.


Finally Keeping a Promise

I told you I’d write a knitterly post so here it is!!

The clapotis still isn’t done. The ladies are still picking on me mercilessly.

Instead I decided I’d finish the blanket I was going to finish before starting the TARDIS blanket. 

I knit and knit and then when I took a little break that I knit through, I knit some more. Finally I got to 7.5 squares out of 9.

Then on Monday I packed up and went to Jenny’s for labor day Stitch n Bitch where I finished the 9th square and crochet seamed the pieces together.

I’ll be casting on the edging and knitting away until I run out of the neutral then going to the third skein I have of blue and knitting the rest of the edging so I end up with a 48 inch square blanket.

I also finished the mittens and hat for Erin’s soon-to-be baby.

Here’s the cutest thing about knitting baby clothes.

They fit so conveniently in the little spaces of the car.

I finished the mittens while out shopping with mom on Saturday and cast on the hat while driving home. I finished the hat on Sunday and used the last 2 yards or so on a braid to keep the mittens together.

I just started some mittens with madelinetosh Tosh DK but there isn’t a whole lot of progress on them so pictures are forthwith. I’ve done no other knitting of note so!

And now for your viewing pleasure:

My best purchase from GenCon 2011: A k9 air freshener that sits on the dash in my car.
George in all his 9-month-old glory!
George comes with a matching Louie.

Baby Baby Baby

I frequently tell people I don’t want children and the normal response:

“You’ll change your mind”

Sorry, Mom. I won’t. Ever. In the eternal words of Luke Danes, “Kids are sticky. They always have jam on their hands. Even if there’s no jam in the house they’ll somehow have jam hands!” I fully adhere to this thought process and it frequently gets proven right by the knit-night ladies with children.

This doesn’t mean I have a total disdain of children. I like well-behaved children and I’m sure that this newest one to our knitting circle will be just that.

Erin is ready to have her baby. She’s due in 12 days exactly and she looks like she could easily go into labor today and have a gorgeous and healthy baby boy or girl in her arms in a matter of a day or so.

I, being one who knows virtually nothing about babies other than how to sway perfectly so they fall asleep on my shoulder within a matter of 10 minutes, don’t quite realize how small babies are. They freak me out in their small-ness. They’re like a football– so light and tiny and have to have the utmost care in keeping that baby in your arms.

The youngest baby I’ve ever held is little Ellie at her baptism. She was three months old. She still seemed so fragile even in all those layers of christening dress. I knit a jacket for her and I knit the 9 month size so that was still a decent size.

It was when I pulled out sock yarn and size 2 needles that I realized how tiny babies are. The pattern I found for baby mitts said to cast on 28 stitches. It looked like it wouldn’t even fit a doll. I cast on 48 and found that it was FAR too large and would thusly fit a toddler. I ripped and cast on 36, a happy medium, and ended up with this:

It’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and I whip it out of my bag all the time to show it off because it always gets the ‘aww’ reaction from every single person I show it to. I finished this one in front of Erin at knit-night and she squealed; literally squealed at the sight of this adorable little mitten. I’ve started on the second and hope to have it done soon as well as a receiving hat for the little one.

I’d much rather give away the sock yarn I have left over to a baby who is already almost born so they’ll be all kinds of warm and cozy this winter than have a child. Something about the thought of pushing a watermelon through a hole the size of a golfball doesn’t seem appealing at all. Some women have the maternal gene. It must have skipped my generation.


So, onto the reason for my icord mania last weekend.

We all surprised Erin with this on Monday:

When we found out Erin was pregnant, we clandestinely set up a thread on Facebook to talk about creating a baby blanket for her and her little one. We settled on primary colors of red and blue since she’s creating a Mario-themed baby room. We only had to use worsted weight yarns and it had it be 12 inches square. Everything else was up for grabs. When we handed our squares to Jenny for seaming, we thought it was going to be so ugly but she did an amazing job making the colors work together and it looks great. I was given the blanket on Saturday and I set to applying the i-cord edging. Once I found gauge (three was too few, five wasn’t grouping correctly, four make a nice compromise) I set to knitting and had half of it done by the time we got home from Stitches. I finished the other half on Sunday, threw it in the wash and had it clean and ready to be delivered on Sunday night. I packed it in an old Cream City Yarns bag with blue tissue paper (we all kind of decided that Erin is having a boy and I’m hoping our collective powers of knitting will give her a boy) and it was ready to be given to our very pregnant mother-to-be. She and her husband loved it and were extremely happy with the present. Now baby and mommy will be warm through all of winter when they have their alone time.

No work on Clapotis since Monday. It happens. I’m sure this weekend I’ll have more time to work on it.

Wisconsin Sheep & Wool is in a week. I can’t wait!


Etsy is easy… but worth it?

After hearing about Etsy.com from a couple fellow bloggers in class, I decided to check it out.

Etsy is a Web site dedicated to people for selling their hand-made or vintage items. It’s free to sign up and there are thousands of items to peruse and purchase.

So I looked up hand-knit scarves and was completely astonished at what I found: There were tons of scarves ranging in price of $15 to almost $200.

Who in their right mind would pay $200 for a scarf?! Hell, who in their right mind would pay more than $50 for a scarf?

I usually cap my purchase of yarn at $15 per skein and that’s only if it has nearing 200 yards on the hank. 200 yards makes a beautiful scarf and you don’t need to charge $75 for labor.

Knitting should be something you love to do that just so happens to give you a business… not something you do to make a profit.

Many of these scarves, while very pretty, are made of a generic Garter Stitch or Stockinette Stitch* but the yarn doesn’t seem to be the thing people are paying for. Many of these yarns can be bought for at most 15 or 20 dollars for a MASS amount of yarn. Then using a large needle, they create the simple scarf and charge an extreme amount of money for it. (see this item, for example. I don’t think I’d want to get rid of this honey. It’s beautiful and so simple- why is it so expensive then?!)

While it might take me a while to make a scarf of this type, why would you want to sell it? Even if you’re *attempting* to sell it for $80 when someone could easily sell it more successfully for $30. That’s more than half the price for a one-of-a-kind item.

If the goal is to sell your items, I’m sure there are plenty of people out there whom you know that will be willing to purchase a hand-made scarf, hat, pair of mittens-whatever off you. That way you don’t have to charge up to 10 dollars for shipping (Really? Is this item 5 lbs?) and you’ll be able to see your items in the real world and get the satisfaction of having it out there!

I don’t think I’ll be setting up an account with Etsy any time soon… Instead I think I’ll set up a PayPal account so that people (even internationally) can request scarves or hats and I’ll gladly create a one-of-a-kind item for them and they can go out with the satisfaction that NOTHING created by me will be anything like it.

Silver lining? I have a ton of ideas on Scarf designs to attempt!

*Stokinette stitch: Knit one row, purl the next. I don’t prefer to use this stitch on flat items because this stitch curls… a lot. It’s usually used for mittens or sweaters- even hats.

**DISCLAIMER** I do not mean to insult the person who is selling the scarf on Etsy. If it were cheaper, I might consider buying it.