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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Keeping Busy – Lettuce Slide Scarf

After I finished a super secret knitting project for a family member I realized that I had two additional projects to go and felt despair fall over me.

Most of the knitting I do are gifts for other people and I realized suddenly that I need some selfish knitting.  I wanted to make myself something fun and pretty that would keep me busy and that I would keep just for me.  SELFISH!

I just happened to have the Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders book out, a gift from my mOm, and many of its pages are tabbed with colored post-its, and noted with comments like “make this one for me” or “good for A___” or “find a cute baby to give this to”.

The Lettuce Slide Scarf looked so cute and sounded easy enough, but of course I did not really read the directions through very carefully.
Ruffled Scarf

Do you see all these pretty ruffles? First you knit the body of the scarf using 213 stitches, then you bind them off. Then, you pick up 330 stitches along one of the scarf’s edges, double them, and then increase by half again, and bind off 990 stitches in a knit one – purl one bind off. And then, you repeat for the other side of the scarf. Aaack! Am I insane?

Fortunately this week I have plenty of patience and tenacity and so I started the scarf and just powered through all of these tiny stitches and finished one side of the scarf. Right now I am almost done doubling the stitches for the second side of the scarf. I must say it is very absorbing work!

I like the yarn a lot, it was from a lace sampler from Knit Picks called Shadow, a heathery medium lavender called Foxtrot.   The ruffles look really pretty and I hope to finish it today so I can wear it tomorrow.    And then, perhaps, I can finish off another super secret Christmas knitting gift.

Or not! I might make myself another pair of socks! Scandal…

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Merry Christmas Mini Mittens

It’s Christmas Eve and after a lazy morning lounging in bed, drinking cocoa while the cat kept my feet warm and watching old movies from the 30’s and 40’s I finally roused to putter about the Roost.

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Tonight I’m going over to a friend’s house for a Christmas Eve fondue dinner and I’m bringing slow roasted pork belly and a few treats for my hosts. (Please check “Heather in SF” later this week to see the porkaliciousness)

I started thinking of my friend’s little girl K and what I remembered and loved about Christmas when I was her age. I loved my dolls and my Grandma B used to sew and crochet outfits for my dolls, and my Granny L used to knit us the most wonderful slippers and little pillows for our bedrooms. How I miss them this time of year.

I was organizing my knitting baskets and found a pattern I had printed last year for mini mittens and found some pretty sock yarn leftovers and within an hour or two completed these little darlings for Miss K.20111224-150646.jpg20111224-151101.jpg

Aren’t they just adorable? They’re knit on size 1 needles and are about 1 1/2 inches long. (Updated: I found the pattern!) Here is the pattern for these mini mittens in case you want to try them!

I posed the mini mittens on my mini Christmas tree.

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Then I spotted the dish of little foil Teddy bears and Santa chocolates and stuffed one in each mitten.

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I hope she loves them as much as I enjoyed making them. Merry Christmas to all!

Fear The Beard – Conclusion

Yesterday’s holiday happy hour was great fun, and it was also the judging for the “office” beard growing contest.

I knitted beards so that the female members of the (redacted) team at work could enter!

We hid them on our persons and when they announced it was time for the judging Jessica and I snuck into a vacant office and tied them on and snuck into the lineup of men. Huge waves of laughter rang out throughout our suite as we were spotted, and we mugged for the cameras.

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The winners were announced and we gals won the “style” portion on the contest! Also the fair haired gents were advised “if you can’t grow them knit them…”

What a blast, my little trick really made the party.

Those little beards were so hot though, they might be perfect for winter skiing! Can you imagine? Ha ha ha!!

Fear the Beard

I work for a great firm and the preponderance of the staff are young men. After a particularly grueling project spanning many months the team had a wrap-up meeting where apparently some great wine was consumed and manly challenges were issued.

I can grow a beard better than you!

Oh yeah? Mine will be fuller!

You get the general idea…

A Managerial email was issued late that night:

Various members of the (redacted) team who shall remain anonymous (but include various levels) have challenged the office to a holiday beard growing contest. Growth begins tomorrow with judging to conclude at the office party on 12/16. Awards for both length and style.

Appropriate client presentation must be adhered to to compete. Please don’t go to a client meeting looking like a mountain person.

There’s been lots of boosting from members of the (redacted) team. Best of luck to all. May the razors have a happy holiday break.

Several staff replied to this notification:

I assume women get to participate as well. This is San Francisco after all. ; )
—– (from the female Director of Marketing)

Movember has passed… Decembeard, perhaps?
—– (from a female team member)

Hilarity ensued. And a distinct general scruffiness of appearance in the male facade has been observed this past two weeks.

It also sparked a memory of some clever gal on Twitter posting pictures of knitted beards they had made for our 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants in honor of Brian Wilson who started the Fear the Beard craze in the team and throughout the country.

The hunt was on for a suitable beard pattern, and I found one and started churning out beards.

The party is tomorrow, I hope we girls win! Haha!

Darn It! The Forgotten Art of Repairing Socks

For the last few years I have been heavily obsessed with knitting socks, giving most of them away to friends and family but keeping a few coveted pairs for myself. At last count I have made 26 pairs, 2 orphans socks that I have subsequently returned to a yarny state, and hundreds of miniature socks.

Handmade socks are heaven to wear, they’re so soft and squishy and warm, and pretty in a wild look-at-this-crazy-yarn kind of way.

They also wear out quickly in the heels and toes, even when I double the yarn in these tender areas.

Forgotten arts: darning socks (before)

Because I am insane – or loving and generous, depending upon who you talk to – I have informed all the recipients of my socky love that they can return them to me for repairs as needed. Talk about fateful last words…

I have no fewer than 5 pairs of socks that were gifts that need darning, and 4 more pairs that I personally wore holes through and 2 more that the complete foot is almost gone, so I realized I had better get to work and learn how to darn a sock.

Back in the old days everyone darned their socks because it was too wasteful to throw away a sock simply because it had a hole in it. Today socks come 12 to a pack from a big box megastore and cost $3 so it seems simpler to just throw them away and buy new ones.

Hand knitted socks are another story. The yarn I use is pretty special, often hand spun or hand dyed and cost up to $30 per skein and you had better believe I am not throwing these things away even if they are on their last legs!

My darning efforts were somewhat delayed by the lack of a darning egg, a wooden contraption that looks like an egg on a stick. I had been using my marble pestle but would drop it on my toe or my knee or possibly too close to the cat snoring on the floor under my feet so I really needed to invest in a true darning egg. My Granny had one but much to our sorrow we could not locate it anywhere in her knitting baskets and sewing baskets up at mOm’s. I found some super cute ones online, like these darning mushrooms, but I needed a cheaper alternative (for now), so I found a simple unfinished wooden egg at an stall at Stitches West this year.

Of course I had to learn *how* to darn a sock but fortunately YouTube is great wealth of information and this was the video that I have played over and over until I got it right.

With my new egg in hand and a mound of socks, little bits of leftover yarn, scissors, darning needles and my glasses, I set to work. When it comes down to it darning socks is really not hard, just the tiniest bit tedious.

Darn It!

  • Turn the sock inside out and insert the darning egg or mushroom inside. Position the sock so that the hole in question is centered over the egg and pull the sock moderately firmly in place over the egg (see top picture).
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  • Thread your darning needle with matching yarn, and pick up stitches in a 1/4″ border across the hole, making the threads as close together as possible.

Forgotten arts: darning socks (during)

  • Then go the opposite direction, weaving in and out of the vertical strands and securing them snugly by pushing down against the threads with your needle. You should alternate each row so that you get a true woven effect. Weave in the ends and trim, and repeat for each hole. Or, in my case, repeat for 9 more socks.

Here is the darned sock with the new woven repair showing through.

Forgotten arts: darning socks (done!)

Amazing! Turn the sock right side out and they are good to go for another few weeks or months. We shall see…

Sadly some of my socks are so worn out that the entire sole is practically transparent. However the wonderful Elizabeth Zimmerman wrote a book, “Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac”, where she shows how to completely reknit the sole of a sock, or making a sock moccasin. Once I embark upon this adventurous project I will be sure to share my progress.

Now, for those other 4 pairs of socks….. Sigh…..

Finished Objects – Heavenly Spiral

I was on a roll over Thanksgiving and finished the beautiful Spiral Lace scarf using KnitWhits Freia lace yarn in Purpleheart.   Two finished objects in one weekend, can you believe it!

In truth I completed quite a lot of this scarf while on the train up to the country, and during lunch breaks during the work week, knitting frantically outside in the chill at a coffee shop.
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I am so pleased how well it came out!

Overall one skein of yarn in this pattern and size 6 needles produced a 14′ scarf, which I have been wearing with absolutely everything.  All twirled up into a flat disk, you can really admire the effect of the color transitions.

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The shading of the colors is so very subtle, from rose to grey then cream then steely blue and mauve and the faintest of a purple at the end.   I tried it on by tripling the length for a standard fill for a blazer opening around the neck, or quadrupled and tucked around my collar like an Elizabethan frill.  Against my bright red winter coat the Heavenly Spiral is particularly fetching.

 

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This shows the scarf doubled and hanging over the closet knob with my sis’s cat inspecting it. He approved.  He was quite excited about yarn in general and tried to “help” me quite a lot with this project.    Such a giver, hah.

 

I have been enjoying this scarf so much that I cannot bear to put it away, so it has been lounging along the back of my antique rocking chair, relaxed into lacey swirls twining against itself.

 

This yarn was fun to use and I still have another full skein left to play with.  Any suggestions?

 

Finished Objects – Embroidery Sampler

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I had time to sit and relax, what a pleasant change for this fall!

While I was relaxing and chatting with my family I picked up the lovely embroidery sampler by Rebecca Ringquist I started in October.

Et, voila!
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And more of the detail:

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The last finished area was stitched in variegated blue perle cotton using bullion stitches.

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The little wheels were fun to make.

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The section outlined in orange was my favorite part to stitch.

This was a fun project and I am looking forward to buying some more perle cotton for my next sampler!

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