Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dashed Fine Gifts

I've quite some knitting pride in this little crop of Dashings that I have tended over the last few weeks.The whole idea of whether/who/what to knit for Christmas gifts has required some extra thought this year. Last year I set out with unmanageable expectations and ended up giving the last of the gifts meant for Christmas as a birthday present this September. My productivity and inspiration dried up in the approach to Christmas and I didn't finish anything last November or December. Knitting the Christmas gifts throughout the year and stockpiling them is by far the most sensible approach but still, I can't get really excited about gift knitting until the magic of Christmas is within reach. I love to make my gifts in one form or another, though I try and make sure the recipient is going to feel equally fond of the idea of a handmade present. Last year I think I focussed too much on the pattern I thought people would most want to receive; this year I've decided that the knitted items have to be things I wantto make first and foremost so that there is maximum enjoyment in the stitches and a better chance that the knitting mojo won't be chased away. So I looked at the list of giftees and tried to think of patterns I fancied that were a nice fit with them. Dashings have long been on my to do list so it was certain someone at least would have warm hands this year.I had a group of three girlfriends to make for, an early 'Christmas' tonight as the deadline and a wish to make them all something similar so whenever they wore their gifts there would be a connection amongst us all. The three colourways of Karaoke I had in the right quantities for this great little pattern were the inspiration in the end and looking at this posy of gloves I am delighted with what I have made.Pattern: Dashing
Mods: Shortened the cuff by reducing rows after the last cable and before thumb placement
Yarn: Karaoke in Mermaid, Mermaid Mix and Wild Cherry - between one and one and half skeins per pair
Needles: 3.75mm Metal DPNS
First Pair Started: 13 November 2008
Last Pair Finished: 27 November 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The blog is...

..two years old today!

Here are some of things the blog is about:


In fine blogging tradition I have a little prize giveaway to celebrate and say thank you to all you readers for your input and contributions that make me love blogging so.

I've noticed a growing obsession in my heart for badges - or buttons if you prefer. There are so many cute ones around now, Etsy is a wonderful source for them. Actually, a quick aside, I've always wondered if badges as I know them are buttons then how are buttons still buttons? Ooh the word button starts to look very odd when you type it repeatedly. Button, button, button. I once bought the 1TB some buttons as a souvenir of a US trip - I thought they were to be sewed on to his jeans and so it was quite pleasing to find that they were just ready to go to be pinned on.

So anyway, whatever you call them, I love them and to share my love with you I have gathered the gorgeous wee ones pictured around this post for you to win. Just leave me a comment on this post by the end of November to explain about the button/button thing if you can, to tell me about your love for small items you pin on or just to say Hi and I'll select someone at random. Please don't be shy if you haven't commented before - it's always nice to know who's out there reading, sharing in this lovely place of mine.

I saved this one on the right from the I Knit day in September and I included an extra Bob in an order from Ravelry - now is this technically a pin rather than a badge/button?

And how's this for confusing - badges made of pictures of buttons.

I bet if I do a Wordle after this post the word button will show up BIG :o)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thumbs Up

There were signs of a slump into the knitting doldrums mid week. Two inner knitters were battling and the likeliest outcome seemed to be a ceasefire in the form of no knitting. I was knitting away happily on my flip top mitten when it became apparent that there was going to be an issue, a not enough yarn type issue. Attempting a pattern that requires a skein of Lamb's Pride Worsted when you have only half a skein looks, with hindsight, foolish. That's of course because it is foolish but the Frugal Knitter had been having her say.

She wanted that half skein to be enough for the child size because it would use up some stray yarn ; the Frugal Knitter pointed out that the pattern said it took a skein for the child size and a skein for the adult size so surely half a skein would be fine for the child size. Well no. There is not enough yarn to make two of the mittens, to be honest it's going to be tight for one. So the Stash Loving Knitter said "Sucks to you Frugal Knitter, now you'll have to buy another skein and then you'll still have half left over." Then Frugal Knitter says "Rip out the mitten and make something even smaller with the half skein then you won't have to buy anymore."

On and on they were arguing and the mitten lay abandoned. A few desultory rows were knit on this sock or that but there was no zing in the fingers of the Outer Knitter, not whilst such conflict raged over the little mitten. Thankfully the peace loving Mr (who is becoming oh so wise in the ways of living with a knitter and maintaining a quiet life) suggested that the best cure for the knitting doldrums was to start something new. Perfect. The Startitis Knitter was super happy and squashed down Miss Frugal and Miss Stash Loving. The Christmas knitting schedule simply can't allow any knitting doldrums to be entered , it's got to be all zingy knitting here till the end of the year. So it's been full speed ahead on some new mitts, the lovely Dashing, which I have plenty of pretty Karaoke yarn for.This is a wonderful pattern: simple but with a little interest in the form of some cables and the thumb placement. It's also a great feeling to be knitting heavier weight yarn in the round. My brain thinks that I'm working on socks and then I'm pleasantly surprised at how fast it knits up.
My favourite part of the pattern is the way the thumb is worked; this is a lovely bit of engineering on a par with the glory of a heel turn in my knitgeekery books. I'm guessing that it's the same principle as an afterthought heel? You knit some holding yarn into the place the thumb should be and then finish the tube of the mitt. At the end you go back and take out the holding yarn and pick up the live stitches, add a few more each side and then knit on the thumb.

Simple really and yet rather special. Another little piece of knitting magic; enough to soothe any inner conflicts.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Randomly on a theme of knitting

Months ago lovely Amanda tagged me for a random meme and I got as far as three dull things that I couldn't feel that any of you would want to know about me (having obviously been so fascinating before) and saved the non-post in my drafts until today, when I was inspired by Glenna's post to share some random knitting minutiae.

1. My needle collection is very random, odds and sods from cheap ebay lots, rummages through charity shops and moments of luxury with Brittanys or Harmonys. The circulars live in a tea tin that is too small for them even though I long ago bought a folder to sort them in to. Like my life really the intention is there to organise and be tidy but the execution is a bit weak :o)

2. My favourite tv programme to knit to is Murder She Wrote - my fingers have developed a Pavolvian twitch response to that theme music. Any whodunnit is always a happy knitalong with for me but even complicated patterns can be knit to MSW with no fear that you will miss the vital clue to who did it as Jessica will be sure to signal loud and clear when the killer gives themselves away by admitting they hate cranberries or whatever it is they must not admit to ensure that they get away with it.

3. I would happily tell you that I don't mind seaming and yet Moonlight is still lurking in that bag.

4. My notions pouch is nearly as messy as my needle collection as I like to have all possible aids nearby but I'm always surprised by how heavy it is when I pick it up; nearly half a kilo eh? What on earth is in there that weighs that much?

5. I hate knitting socks but I've got a strong masochistic streak. No, not really, all that sock love is genuine though it baffles even me some times.

6. I have so far resisted knitting in the bath; reading in there does bad things to my books so it can't be a good idea to take the yarn there but I'm sure I'll have to try it soon.
If you're feeling random do share some knitting minutiae. Happy weekend.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Casting on counts

This is the sum total of Socktoberfest progress on my singletons: one success, one to the heel (glad to know that a lot of you will understand that I am enjoying the anticipation of the heel flap to knit) and just a cast on for the Jays. I did insist on doing the cast on before bed on the 31st so that I could say I started all three socks in Socktober. Not quite what I was aiming for but still not so bad given colds, energy lows and work stresses this month.
Casting on late at night is not normally a recipe for success and so it's not that surprising that those stitches are no more - I've ripped out the original cast on and gone down a size. Am definitely enjoying the pattern for these, as I do for the Monkeys, while the Pom pattern and I have a more troubled relationship - we've just not quite clicked yet and I never get into an easy rhythm with the knitting but I do love the sock that is emerging.

I shall persevere with these singles and their partners this month though I am feeling a big pull towards gloves. The secret knitting has shown me how much fun a glove can be and that combined with this cute pattern from Let's Knit magazine means I might be in for Glovember.
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