Saturday, November 24, 2007

Gnome for the Holidays

Who doesn't love a needle-felted gnome, especially one who also resembles Old Saint Nick?

A couple of things I finished during the last couple of weeks and forgot to post:

Pattern: Single Cable Scarf from One Skein
Yarn: Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton, 1 skein sage
Source: Patternworks
Needles: Crystal Palace Bamboo straights, US Size 9
Modifications: None
Pattern: Tweed Beret, Interweave Knits Winter 2006 (Size 19"; my head is actually 21" but
this fits great)
Yarn: Tahki Donegal Tweed, 1 skein
Needles: Susan Bates 16" circular, US Size 6; Aluminum DPNs, US Size 6
Modifications: None

Finally finished:

Pattern: Clessidra from Knitty Spring 2007
Yarn: KnitPicks Essential, 3 balls burgundy (I ordered four balls, since the yardage is almost the
same as the yarn the designer used, and despite adding a significant amount of stitches to
the calf to make it bigger, I didn't even touch the fourth ball)
Source: KnitPicks
Needles: 2 Addi Turbo 24" circular, US Size 1 (I used the two circular needles method)
Modifications: I added 12 stitches total to the calf to make it larger and then added more decreases to make up for it

I wore them on Thanksgiving and they were very toasty and pretty (if a bit slippery on the hardwood floors--one of the risks of handknit socks and klutzy tendencies)

And in non-knitting news, I present a picture of my made-from-scratch apple pie:

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!
And now the holiday countdown begins:
6 Christmas presents to make
5 Final papers
4 clues to knit for the Secret of the Stole
3 weeks of classes
2 presentations
and a partridge in a pear tree
Not to mention I plan on watching Emmett Otter's Jugband Christmas every day from now until December 25. Full speed ahead!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Golf and Birdies

"Birdie" is a golf term. If you're really desperate to know what it means click here.
I made these golf club covers for my dad's birthday next weekend. I made him a set of five or six a couple of years ago, in Red Sox and Patriots colors, but he lost a couple of them on the golf course (hey, at least he's using them). These I just made with some scrap yarn I had hanging around.

They knit up really quickly in Lamb's Pride Bulky. The pattern is one I kind of made up, based on my bad experience with the golf club covers from Suss Cousins' Hollywood Knits (I've said it before, I love her designs but I have never knit one of her patterns that I didn't have to change in some way because of gauge or other issues).

Unfortunately, I still feel that my pattern is too close to the original or else I would reprint it for you here. I've been scouring the new wave of men's knitting books that have come out, looking for great guy patterns, and I'm surprised I haven't seen any other golf club covers. As far as I'm concerned, this is one of my most successful guy knitting projects ever (and you don't have to worry about fit!).

Pattern: My own, inspired by the Golf Club Covers from Hollywood Knits
Yarn: Odds and ends of Lamb's Pride Bulky
Source: Probably all from Patternworks
Needles: US Size 10, these ancient aluminum ones I inherited from my mom
Modifications: So many I call it my own pattern

I actually finished the knitting aspect of the Bird Seed Scarf a couple of weeks ago, but several attempts at embroidering the birds on made me very cranky.
It hit me while I was riding the T that I should cut out my sketch of the bird, pin it to the scarf, and stitch around it. So simple, but this was literally the sixth or seventh time I had tried to embroider it. I tried to use the yarn I used for the scarf, but it was picky and stuck to the fabric. I switched to embroidery thread and I really love the effect. I just have to do the other end, and decide whether to do anymore. I kind of like how it looks with just the ends decorated.

I also finished another scarf this week but I forgot to take a picture of it in the craziness that is my Sunday mornings. I only have a few hours to get ready for work and do some chores and knitting, so I never get as much done as I would like. Today was especially bad. I mentioned that I had kind of been in a knitting funk, and I'm not sure that's cleared completely. This morning I felt like The Kid Who Can't Knit (or Sew). The golf club covers knit up pretty quickly but I've been busy and haven't had the time to do the actual knitting, and seaming them up, with all their shaping, is not fun. I finished the second one this morning, finished embroidering the bird you see above, and started a second bird which looked nothing like a bird so it had to be ripped out. Then I tried to work on the Secret of the Stole, but I had to redo the first row of the fourth clue three times. Three times!!! I was almost in tears. I never get like that about knitting.

Anyway, the crankiness continued for awhile (a few too many people cut me off on the way to work) but I had some comfort food for dinner and I've gotten my homework done, so I can look at wool and craft blogs until closing. I also just realized that I have one more row on my second Clessidra and then I can do the heel. Then it's just the foot, which goes very quickly. I only have one class this week, and just one day of my internship, and then it's the holiday--that's something to be grateful for too.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Christmas Presents for Leo

I've been in a little bit of a knitting funk lately. It seemed like things weren't coming out right, or I had to redo everything several times (the hat and booties below are two examples), and I miss knitting with my knitting friends (although I love knitting with my mom and her cross-stitching).

This weekend, although not without some knitting frustration, produced these:

Reindeer hat, from the Yankee Knitter Designs "Pattern Hats"

Size: Children's

Yarn: KnitPicks Swish Superwash Worsted, 2 balls Baby Blue and 1 ball Deep Ocean (Baby Blue was leftover from the sweater, see below)

Source: KnitPicks

Needles: Inox 16" circular, US Size 5

Modifications: I knit the hat in the round instead of flat (subtracting two stitches from the cast-on number, since there would be no seam); I "redesigned" (didn't pay attention to) certain parts of the chart; I did parts in duplicate stitch instead of fair isle; I changed the decreases for the crown; I only did one row of single stitches above the reindeer instead of up to the crown. I also knit the entire thing on size 5 needles instead of switching to size 7 after the hem.

I'm still not thrilled with it because I'm a perfectionist and colorwork almost always has some issues (especially when knit by me). I just need more practice, and I think the hat turned out pretty good (and I won't have to look at it every day so it won't annoy me as much).

Child's Monogram Sweater from Hollywood Knits Style

Size: 4 years (and it came out smaller than I expected; I love Suss Cousins' patterns but I have yet to knit one without any issues--just a warning if you are not in the mood to play around with gauge and other aspects of the pattern)

Yarn: KnitPicks Swish Superwash Worsted, 4 balls (maybe 3) Baby Blue

Source: KnitPicks

Needles: Brittany Birch straight US Size 7, Crystal Palace Bamboo straight US Size 5

Modifications: I did a three-needle bind-off to attach the shoulders instead of seaming; I also made little adjustments here and there that I can't remember. As I said, her patterns are very cool and inspiring, but I always swatch and prepare to fiddle with the pattern (I even write in the book, something I don't usually do).

(I embroidered the "L" by hand. I photocopied and enlarged the letter from the alphabet provided with the pattern, traced it onto tracing paper, added interfacing to the back of the sweater for stability, used the satin stitch (a tutorial can be found here) and just stitched right over the tracing paper. After you stitch, you can just tear away the excess tracing paper. It helps to keep the tracing paper in place with an embroidery hoop. I am shocked at how easy it was and how good it came out).

Fat Baby Booties by Beverly Galeskas, from Interweave Felt

Size: Infant/Newborn. I originally made the toddler size, but after felting they were very large. If you substitute yarn like I did you might want to make a test swatch.

Yarn: Dalegarn Tiur, 1 ball green and 1 ball gold (when I made the toddler size, I just barely got away with one ball of each color with Dalegarn Heilo--there was just a yard or two of the main color left)

Source: The store closing sale at The Yarn and Fiber Shop two years ago

Needles: Susan Bates 24" circular needle, US Size 9; Susan Bates 16" circular needle, US size 8; Susan Bates 16" circular needle, US Size 10.5 (standing in as the bind off needle for a 10.5 DPN)

Modifications: On the first pair (which I will post pictures of soon) I didn't read all of the directions. The second time around I followed everything except the second bootie got turned inside out (before a really crucial point) and I didn't notice until the last step. I felted it anyway. It's on the bottom and not really noticeable--I love felting.

I finished the third clue for the Secret of the Stole KAL. I think they are on clue 6 now. Boo. Although I will have almost two free weeks before Christmas when school and work are done, to work on it; I guess I shouldn't stress about it.

Thanksgiving is almost here! I can't wait to make my pies from scratch, to curl up in front of a roaring fire, to sit and watch the Macy's parade with my knitting...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Good Things

I sent these off yesterday to afghans for Afghans:

The green vest is made of Brown Sheep's Nature Spun Worsted, and the pattern is the Child's Vest from Knitting for Peace. There are also two pairs of socks, a child's and an adult's, knit from locally raised and spun worsted weight wool. The pattern is Classic Socks from the Yankee Knitter.
This is an excellent organization and a very worthy cause. Their current campaign is for newborns (please click on the link above for details). It's nearly the season of thankfulness and giving, and it always makes me so grateful for everything I have that I want to give to others. I'm even considering a new take on donating to charities as gifts for others: knitting something for charity, taking a picture, and donating it to an organization in the name of someone I would otherwise buy a gift for. Then I could tuck the picture of the item into a card telling them that I made this donation in their name. If you are interested in charity knitting, check out Knitting for Peace. It's an amazing book full of information and patterns.


Thrum Mittens Kit from Fleece Artist
Yarn: Fleece Artist Blue Face Aran and Merino Sliver roving
Needles: Brittany Birch US size 4 DPNs
Pattern: on the label!
Modifications: None

I have gotten more done, but it will have to wait (a birthday present for a friend!) Check out my tutorial (the previous entry) for making your own suede slipper soles for felted slippers! They make great presents!

Tutorial: Suede Slipper Bottoms

I made these suede slipper bottoms for the felted slippers I made for my grandmother's birthday. I saw similar ones in a yarn store for $9.00. If you're careful when placing the templates on the suede sheet, you can get two pairs of adult slipper soles and one pair of children's slipper soles from just one sheet (which costs about $8.00).

You will need:
  • A sheet of suede, about 8" x 10" (see above for how many slipper soles this yields)
  • A sheet of paper
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Permanent marker
  • Scissors
  • A leather hole punch with a 2mm punch, like this one:

It actually has six different hole diameters and the tag said that it will punch through leather, vinyl, and plastic, so it's a pretty useful tool.

First, decide what type of sole you would like. Here I chose to do two sections, one for the sole and one for the heel. You could also make one large sole for the entire foot.

I measured the widest part of the top part of the slipper sole and the length from the toe to about halfway down the foot. I put these measurements onto scrap paper as shown above, centering the length measurement in the middle of the width measurement. Since the widest part of the foot was closer to the top than in the middle, I did not center the width. Then I sketched an oval around these measurements. It took a few tries to get the right shape. I took the same measurements for the heel part, but since it is smaller the width is almost centered on the length line. If you are making one large sole, use these same measurements, extending them the entire length of the foot and taking at least three different width measurements at the sole, arch, and heel. Cut out your paper templates.

Place the templates on the suede sheet, and carefully trace around them with the permanent marker. Pay close attention to your placement if you are trying to get as many soles as possible out of the sheet. Cut out two of each template.

Using the permanent marker, mark spots for the holes 1/4" apart all the way around the edge of the sole, keeping as close to the edge without breaking through. Do this on the side of the sole that was traced with permanent marker, as you can sew that side to the bottom of the slipper and it won't be seen.

(I realize that my measuring tape isn't quite on the dots at 1/4" intervals, but I assure you I drew them 1/4" apart. I must have moved the tape when I went to take the picture).

Then take your hole punch and use your marks as guidance to punch holes all the way around the edge of the sole. Now you have neat little holes to sew the sole to your slipper!
The hole punching can be hard on your hands, so do a few at a time and then take a break. Also, don't stress out about the way that they look. They will be on the bottom of the slippers, after all!
Please don't hesitate to comment if you have questions or concerns, or email me at