Wednesday, November 29, 2006


After my last post, I started a third project. I had an inspiration and had to act on it. I'm making the robot from Jess Hutchinson's Unusual Toys for You to Knit and Enjoy. I haven't sewn it up because I've ordered something that will hopefully spice it up. I'm pretty sure that the person this is for now knows it's for him, but I'm hoping the spice will make a really exciting toy.

I also finished the second Christmas stocking. I like the cable pattern I chose, but I wish I'd taken the time to figure out a pattern that would look good from the side. That's the major flaw of this and the original pattern. While this pattern was easier to work than the original, those Addis are just too blunt for cable work, especially in thick, doubled yarn.

I've started a hat: Shedir, from Knitty. I was inspired by this hat. I'm using Cottage Industry Pure Luxury Organic Peruvian Alpaca. It looks like they aren't making organic yarn anymore. I've had this in my stash for a good while. It's so soft, I'm not quite sure why I haven't used it yet. It's not the yarn called for in the pattern, so I hope it works in the pattern. So far (two rows), so good. Did I swatch? Uh. No. Seat of the pants knitting keeps it exciting, right? Don't tell my students.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Three Bags Full

I just finished working on a neck-warmer out of the GGH Tajmahal. What a beautiful yarn! I can't find it in any online yarn shop, though, so I couldn't make a whole scarf ( has it, but they only sell it by the bag). I used the "split palm leaves" pattern from Stitchionary. Whoever I give this to will have a soft, cozy neck warmer. Makes me wish I could wear animal fibers.

I'm also working on another Christmas stocking. I'm using very simple cables on this one. I'm also simplifying the pattern. I'm just going to knit a tube for a while, then do a short row heel, then make the toe. Easy.

Along with the Christmas stocking, I'm working on ornaments. I have four finished and will make as many as I feel like. I'm not giving myself a deadline or predetermining an amount. It's a whenever project.

I'm itching to start something else. I'm waiting for some Artyarns Ultramerino 8 to make a scarf for Stef. He's the only one I'm making a specific present for. I'll probably make something for Joseph and Renée, too, if I have time.

I don't want to start anything else, so I can focus on these three things. Three seems to be my limit. If I have more than that going on, I get anxious. Of course, if I don't have three things going, I get anxious. There's so much yarn. I just want to touch it and create something from it.

It's hard to avoid starting something right now. I'm trying really hard to wait until I get the Ultramerino 8. Along with that, no patterns are jumping out at me. I keep pulling yarn out of the stash, fondling it a bit, then putting it back. Must wait for the Ultramerino.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Ambivalence vs. Expectation

Everybody is talking about Christmas presents. Some bloggers have had gifts done for months now. I'm just feeling ambivalent about it. With my sister in Utah now, and my brother in Iraq, going "home" for the holidays just doesn't seem that exciting. On Christmas eve, tradition is such that the family sits in a particular order at the table. This year, it will be Stefan and me holding up our end of the table. I'm anticipating a very mixed-emotion holiday.

No one in my family really expects gifts. Now that I have a job that pays a living wage and am old enough to feel guilty for not bringing gifts, I feel like I should give gifts, at least to those who give me one. The question of whether to buy the gifts or to make them is ever present these days. Last year, I was way too ambitious. I ended up giving Christmas gifts in the summer. Because I'm a knitter, I feel like the hand-made gift is what I should give. Since the family doesn't expect a gift from me, they don't expect a knitted gift either. But knitted gifts make sense. It's what I do and who I am, right? It is like giving a piece of myself, which is really the best kind of gift. So, I'm going to make small gifts until I'm tired of them. I'll give those out and buy the rest. I've got three finished already, but I can't show a picture since they will be gifted soon.

The socks are finished. I gave them to Aimee. I bound off too tightly on the second sock and had to redo it so she could pull it over her heel. They are snug, and difficult to get on, but she says she likes them. I liked the pattern--it was as if it were written for me: Turkish cast-on, toe-up, worked on double-pointed needles, in yarn I had. I screwed up the pattern a little bit and made the cables a smidge closer together. It still looks good, but I wonder if that's one of the reasons they are so snug. I think socks may be best knit on yarn with some added stretch, too. Koigu is so pretty, though.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Just a Hat

I just spent the weekend with Jen and family. They celebrated Joseph's 2nd birthday. I know I've said it, but I just love that kid. He and I did a lot of playing, mostly with trucks. I got a little bit of Renée time in, too. She is so cute, and smiles all the time.

I didn't knit anything for Joseph, but I did whip up a hat for Renée. It fit her nicely. I also made a bee out of the black and yellow sock yarn I had in my stash. Jen and Tony seemed to like the stocking, which was still damp when I gave it to them. I don't know why it took so long to dry. I guess I'm going to make a second stocking. I think I'll use the same pattern for the sock, but chart my own cable pattern--one that doesn't use quite so many stitches in each cross over.

Tony's mom, Guh!, gave me a book and a skein of yarn. She said it was because I inspired her to purl and she's making washcloths now. I'm glad I could move someone onto the joy that is washcloth knitting, but it was awfully generous of her to thank me with a gift. The book is One Skein Wonders. There are a lot of hat and scarf patterns (the book boasts 101 patterns), but many of them are pretty cute. Jen was oohing over a lot of the hats and bags. I think both of those things may be in her future. Like, her Christmas future.

Monday, November 06, 2006


I know it's not a good idea to talk about work on one's blog. Hopefully, I won't be too negative about my job in making these correlations.

I was talking with a friend at work about how my job has very little product. Besides the festival I produced this summer, I administer grants most of the day. While I believe that it is very important to support artists, especially those with access to fewer resources, I don't feel as if I am being used to my full potential. Before taking my current job, I was working in museum education. Every day I either taught or created something. I loved my work, even when I wasn't happy with my job.

I taught myself to knit while I was working in museum education. I was working for the Shelburne Museum, a fantastic museum with a broad, extensive collection and well-designed school and public programs. After moving I worked for another very interesting museum, the Lake County Discovery Museum, and was able to produce a lot of school, scout, and public programs. My next job was awful, but I was still creating and growing programs. I didn't like being at work, but one class of kids could change all that. I knit all those years, but I didn't become compulsive until I moved to Chicago. I always thought it was discovering nice yarn that made me compulsive. I thought what I wanted was to touch the soft yarns.

While I was saying that I have little to show for my work, my friend pointed out that knitting is my product. It is my accomplishment; it is the thing I can hold up and say "I did this, and it is good." He got me thinking. I realized that I became a compulsive knitter about the time the novelty of giving grants wore off. I can't pinpoint the day, but I do know that I didn't have that finger itch that comes with needing to have needles in my hands until I started working this job. I wonder. If I get a job that I love, will I stop knitting as much? Somehow, I think it's too late. Once a compulsion, always a compulsion.

I'm trying to finish undone projects. I finished the clapotis. I added a 5-stitch I-cord edge to the stocking. I am headed to Michigan to celebrate Joseph's second birthday, so I'm going to take the stocking with me. If Jen and Tony like it, they can keep it. Otherwise, I'll make a new one with a different pattern. I was hoping to knit the pirate bath set from New Knits on the Block before heading home, but I haven't had the time. He'll get a very cool store-bought toy or something, no doubt. Well, if I can find the time to go shopping before Friday.