Monday, November 19, 2012

Instant Slippers

At the end of October we had a little cold snap. In the mornings before putting on socks my feet were frigid. As knitters are known to do, I felt I needed to cast on for something RIGHT THEN to rectify the situation. Amazingly, I was able to knit these in a day. It made for a pretty rapid progression from "Feet cold. Knit. Feet warm." (I don't really know why my inner knitter voice sounds like a cartoon caveman, but there you go.)
Duffers - Revisited

I used some Cascade Eco and Eco + wool I had leftover from other projects.  Hooray for using stash. I thought the yarn would be bulky enough, but if I had it to do over again, I would go ahead and hold the yarn double to make a cushier slipper. I also was a bit surprised that the slippers fit a bit more like ballet flats and covered less of the top of the foot than I was expecting. I'm not sure if I made a size smaller and doubled the yarn if it would have to shrink less to get down to size, thus, covering more of my foot? Does that even make sense?

In any case, they still manage to keep my bare feet warm and are delightful to pull on over a pair of socks as well.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Yarn Haul

Why, yes I do have a girly-girl desperately in need of socks, why do you ask?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Stockings, Stockings, Stockings!

For the past month or so we've been taken out by illnesses - nothing serious - just what will probably be come to known as the back to school trial by fire. Kiddo gets sick at school, recovers, Mama gets sick, recovers, lather, rinse repeat. Le sigh. The good news to all of this is that it leaves plenty of knitting time. May I present - a trio of stockings.
Mix and Match Stockings
I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in the colors and amounts found herehere, and here (all Ravelry links). This is one of those patterns that the more you make of them in coordinating colors, the better they all look. I'm not gonna lie, I was ready to see the back of these by the third one, but I think it was worth the effort.

They are all wrapped up and waiting to be opened by my brother and his family. All the knits I've sent so far have been greatly appreciated so I have a feeling these will go over big as well. Let me tell you, it is highly dangerous to now be receiving text messaged pictures of a new little man wearing the baby knits I've been making. Makes me want to knit All The Baby Things.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lazy Sunday

It's been an interesting week here at the Geeky Girl household. Lots of starting the new school year madness the past few weeks (my daughter is starting preschool three days a week - yikes). Then there were extra things like her dentist appointment and our snack day for preschool all happening at once. I thought we were just about to the other side of it when Friday evening Chloe came down with a fever and a cough. Boooooo. 

I generally think I do a pretty alright job with this whole being a parent thing. I enjoy most of it, never really minded changing diapers, have more stores of patience than I even realized, and just have never regretted having a kid. The one thing that makes me feel overwhelmingly lost at sea is when my child is sick. Don't get me wrong - I have the keeping her comfortable thing down - popsicles for the sore throat, a comfy little nest on the couch, cool wet cloths for a warm forehead, etc. I don't mind nursing. What gets me is the worrying

People, it takes every ounce of my self control not to constantly burst into tears and rush her to the doctor with every half degree change in her temperature. I lay awake at night analyzing cough patterns and what they mean. Is her breathing shallower? Are her lips taking on a slightly blueish tinge? Oh wait, that's just from the popsicle. AHHHH! I hate it. Moving on.

The last time I posted I was lamenting the fact that I have another stocking to knit. I did what every mature adult would do...
Spunky Club Swaledale Fiber
"Eating Maine" colorway
I completely blew off starting and instead spent my free time spinning. This fiber is super rough so it will either become a felted bowl or a bag of some sort. I have about 2 oz. left to spin before I ply it up.

Now I did finally make myself start the last stocking. A big motivating factor was seeing the two finished and blocked stockings together. I'll admit to just laying them together next to me on the couch and looking at them for inspiration to keep going. Here I'll show you...

 And motivating. I plan on spending the rest of the day just working on this while keeping Chloe company. Oh, and maybe, definitely eating scones. I'm sure Florence Nightingale would approve.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Deadline Knitting: In Which A Set of Stockings EAT MY SOUL

Normally I don't do deadline knitting. In fact I don't think I have ever knit anything with a deadline before. I like to have a few projects going and just pick up whichever one tickles my fancy. Somehow, a few months ago I got it into my head that I would knit gifts, lots of gifts for my brother's upcoming baby. It was fun. Baby things are fast and cute. The baby isn't due until October - which is a good ways off when you're still in August. 

However time has a tendency to move forward and my brain has a tendency to take a good thing and run to a bad place with it and I decided to knit more gifts. Only this time I decided that Bobby Tuesday (that's the name my daughter came up with for the baby - don't ask) needed a great big old Christmas stocking. If Bobby Tuesday has a stocking then his Mom and Dad shouldn't be left out of the fun - they'll need them too. And just picture a set of coordinating stockings hanging from the mantle. Bonus points for having them be the Christmas presents this year, thus knocking off a chunk of the gift ideas anxiety. Extra super bonus points for having them done in time for my parents to take them off to California when the baby's born. 

Here's how far along they are:

Yeah, the one on the left is blocking and the one on the right is done (except for the name which I'll add once I know what it is). That means I still have one ENTIRE stocking to get done by October first -ish if the baby doesn't come any sooner. I think I can manage it, but people, I want to knit another one of these stockings right now about as much as I want to eat tin foil. Really feeling like this was not the best idea ever.

Do you all knit gifts or just leave that piece of crazy cake alone?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bobby Tuesday Mocs and Obscene Designs

Hooray! A finished project to present. Here are the mocs for my soon to be nephew. I used the Christine's Baby Booties pattern and then just came up with a little design that I duplicate stitched onto them. After tossing them in the wash some of the woven in ends got a little squirrel-ly which you can sort of make out in the picture but they have since been taken care of (and I'm too lazy to take another picture). 

In case anyone is interested - here is a little graph of the design. Nothing fancy or complicated... or even remotely anthropomorphic - because at first I was going to do an AWESOME thunderbird. I even graphed out a few possibilities. They were... problematic.
So. Am I the only one that sees the problem?
Um yeah. The one on the left is probably not appropriate on children's wear and all I can think of when I look at the one on the right is "We are going to pump *clap* you up" (feel free to google SNL Hans and Franz if you have no idea what I'm talking about). Why do I feel like Alice Starmore doesn't run into this kind of problem. Le sigh.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Roxborough Dolman - Success!

I won't lie. I was a little bit nervous about this one. This style of shirt is supposed to be slouchy but I snugged it up just a touch with a slightly tighter gauge than what the pattern suggested. I also used a different yarn because I just couldn't quite get on board with a tee made of alpaca. Let me tell you, the Knit Picks Comfy fingering weight feels like a dream knit up for this. It's Pima cotton so it's so, so soft but the addition of acrylic, *gasp* yes acrylic helps it keep its' shape and adds enough sproing that it was comfortable to knit. 
Roxborough Dolman

The side boob view (yes, I have the comedy sophistication of a four year old)
I don't know if this was the most flattering color choice for me, but the combination makes me smile. Sometimes that's the most important thing I think. I also think it's successful enough that I just might make some more warm weather knits - a category that, admittedly, has always made me a bit skeptical. That being said I'm pretty pumped for autumn and returning to all knitting things wooly. I've got plans I tell you, plans.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Little Lace

I have an upcoming trip that will involve lots of sitting in a car so I decided to bite the bullet and try what so many people recommend for such instances : lace shawls. 

This will be my first attempt at a lace shawl (or is it a stole if it's square? I'm still not clear on the particulars of shawl names). I'm going to attempt the Anthemion Wrap (free on Knitty woo hoo!). I'm going to ignore the fact that this might be a little crazy for a first attempt at lace.
Let's also ignore the implications of the fact that I didn't even make it through a tiny swatch without making a mistake.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tour de Fleece - Week 2

Here is my second week of the Tour de Fleece. I've kept to my goal of at least spinning something every day (July 10th was the official day of rest). During the second week I worked on the Spunky Eclectic BFL in the "Big Bang" colorway. Can't wait to see it all washed up. 
Week 2
Total time: 5 hr 47 min

Friday, July 13, 2012

Flashback Fridays: No-Slip Baby Booties

This isn't much of a flashback as I made them in April, but I couldn't help sharing them since they just made it to my brother for his and his wife's upcoming baby. The pattern is Christine's Stay-On Baby Booties and if you go to this website you can read the story behind them (and get the free pattern). 
 Let me just say - I think I could just keep making these little baby booties for a good long time. Dee-Light-Full. In fact, I may have plans for another pair. For this pair I used some leftover Knit Picks Stroll Tonal sock yarn that I thought would work wonderfully for a baby born in October.
Perfect for an October baby, yes?
It took all of 93 yards (or 85 meters) for the pair. This means that not only were these quick and entertaining to make, but also a great use of leftover bits and bobs of sock yarn.

Am I a bit in love with this pattern? Why yes. Yes I am.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Finished Mystery Object

I just finished an object today that I really, really needed to finish as it is going to be a gift. Now I don't think that the recipients of the gift read this blog, but just in case, I'm not going to show it. At least not all of it - but coming off the high of just getting this thing done I can't help but show a little peek. 

More on this later...

Monday, July 09, 2012


Saturday evening my family and I went out to run a few errands and grab a quick dinner. While riding in the car I, of course, was working away on a sock as I usually do on such occasions. At one point during this ride my husband turns to me and says, "Babe, I'm not sure, but I think there's a person knitting in the car in front of us." Let's skip past the part where we analyze how much I must knit that my husband is so familiar with the action that he can spot a person in the car in front of him doing it.

So then we did what any normal, sane people do, which is try desperately to get into the other lane and next to the car to confirm that, yes, indeed there is another car knitter on the road. It looked as if it wasn't going to happen until, gloriously, the cars parted, the other car slowed and we verified that my husband can indeed spot a knitter at 100 yards. Unfortunately, they were pulling onto a ramp so we felt it might not be the safest to honk at them just so I could wave my sock at them in a show of solidarity.

But the point is that I did feel this solidarity with a complete stranger. It takes a certain level of Seriousness About Knitting to compel a person to carry around a project and work on it even on a short car ride. It takes an even higher level of crazy to do so on a 106 degree (41 Celsius) day. It gave me an almost embarrassing amount of delight to see her knitting away in the car next to me and an admittedly irrational feeling of, "there goes one of my tribe". So travel on mystery car knitter. May your journey be safe and your air conditioning plentiful.

Does anybody else have stories of spotting knitters in unexpected places? Does it give you as much irrational joy as it does me?

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Tour de Fleece 2012 - Week 1

Here's a quick look at my first week in my first ever Tour de Fleece.
In the first two days I spun up four ounces of Gotland. Then I moved onto some BFL. Being a relatively new spinner, every month of Spunky Eclectic's fiber club so far has involved a fiber I have never spun. So next I moved onto my first BFL and I'm really loving this fiber, for real. 
Spunky Eclectic BFL in "Big Bang"

 I'm making singles for socks out of it and it is just a joy to spin. Being singles for 3-ply sock yarn does mean that most of this week and, I imagine, a good chunk of next will be spent on this same fiber.
So that's my first week of the Tour de Fleece. So far I'm meeting my goal of spinning everyday.

Total time: 8 hour 44 minutes
Total fiber spun by weight: Around 6 ounces
Total finished yardage: 280 yards

Friday, July 06, 2012

Flashback Friday: Shalom Cardigan

So, I learned to knit in college and made my handy dandy felted slippers, some equally useful felted mittens and then didn't really make anything for a while. Fast forward a few years and I had just given birth to my daughter. She was nearing a year old and into everything. As with most parents of children this age much of my free time (heh, free time as a parent of a little - funny right?) was spent supervising her various pursuits to keep her from coming to harm. While necessary and at times highly amusing, there are only so many times you can watch a ten month old empty and refill the laundry basket before it loses some of it's tremendous excitement. Around this time I saw this post on the Soule Mama blog about her Shalom Cardigan. "Hey," I thought to myself, "That looks useful and snuggly. The pattern is free and my LYS has yarn. I know how to knit, I know how to purl. Never mind that I have never made a sweater and am the most sleep deprived that a person can be without violating the Geneva Convention - I can do this!"
Success! Shalom Cardigan
 Somewhat surprisingly, I did - with modifications even (with the help of much handholding by and blind faith in the project comments on Ravelry). This was also early into my discovery of Ravelry and such was my state that I didn't even record the dates of this project so I don't know how long it took. I know it took a while because mostly it was accomplished in groups of seven or ten stitches before I had to go "parent" (read: keep my daughter from wrapping dirty clothes around her neck or use chunks of cat fur as a teething toy). I have trouble describing my sense of awe when it was completed, but also the joy of having accomplished something that would stay done. This feels huge when most of your life revolves around a series of tasks that will just have to be repeated in a few hours (feeding, diapers, cleaning, laundry, lather, rinse, repeat).
Note: These pictures were taken in February of 2011, a good, oh, three years after I finished knitting the thing.
 So deep was my satisfaction, the doneness of it so completely psychologically fulfilling, that I can probably point to this little cardigan as the moment Things Got Serious between me and my knitting. From that point in 2008 on, I've pretty much always been working on something.
My daughter's idea of the perfect knitwear modeling pose from that same day. Posting it too just because I can. 

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Knitting is Better than Book Reading in Waiting Rooms

There. I said it. Don't get me wrong I am an avid, and I mean avid book reader; but let me tell you that my little take along sock has changed my time in waiting rooms, outside my daughter's classes and car rides for the better. 

I used to always carry a book with me everywhere. As in, one of my biggest requirements in a purse was for it to hold a decent sized hardback book (I read enough that mostly I get books from the library which are mainly hard-backs). The problem is, while waiting in a public place theres either enough going on, or I'm sufficiently nervous that I could never really concentrate so I suffered from Same Sentence Syndrome (you know, where you just keep reading the same bit over and over because you aren't really absorbing it). Let me tell you that just reading the same thing over and over isn't actually really distracting and certainly doesn't make the time go any faster.
Horrible Picture of A Boring Navy Sock That Currently Resides In My Purse
Enter the highly portable sock. It fits in my purse like a treat and keeps me occupied without really requiring attention. I can follow and join conversations with other parents outside my daughter's classes and use up nervous energy in waiting rooms.

I've managed to finish a few pairs this way by now and it's especially helpful when knitting excessively boring plain men's socks that are going to be painful to get through in any other way. Longer wait in the dentist's waiting room today = finally past the gusset decreases on a sock for my husband. Really, if you haven't already jumped on the take-along sock bandwagon I urge you to give it a try.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

In Which the Tour de Fleece and Gotland Conspire Against Me

A little more early morning spinning (about 35 minutes or so) finished off the last of my 4oz. of Gotland. Towards the last half ounce or so, I started to have Doubts. I started to worry that I was adding too much spin and decided to back off a bit. Don't ask me why I thought it was a good idea to change my spinning part way through. It seems ridiculous now as really most people don't want a skein of yarn that randomly changes part way through. All I can say to defend myself is that I was having scary Doubts and it was early in the morning. It turns out I hadn't spun the bulk of the yarn too tightly - but believe me when I say that I very much spun that last little bit too loosely. 
Look at it sitting there all pretty acting like it's not about to cause me a world full of pain.
 When I went to wind the yarn off the bobbin it began drifting apart - but not completely all at once. No, it did it every so often so I thought with some splicing I could salvage it (ha). After dealing with this I then began the process of felting it. Now here's the part where I pay for not just cutting my losses and getting rid of those drifty bits from a moment ago. You see, most of the yarn is felting beautifully, adding strength to the yarn and stabilizing the twist. The drifty, loosely spun bits? Oh, right, those are felting in the ugly, clumping, never to be torn apart again way. Le sigh.
Nobody knows the trouble I've seen.
A little bit of creative re-skeining and discarding (about 56 hours or so) I'm left with 280 yards of fingering weight that may have gotten into another tangled mess while I was trying to count strands and measure it. Let's not speak of it.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tour de Fleece 2012

Do you know what today is? If you are a spinner (or if you read the title of this post) then you know today is the first day of the Tour de Fleece. Basically, the idea is to spin every day of the Tour de France and try to challenge yourself. This is the first year I'm participating and my goal is simply to spin every day. This is slightly more of a challenge than it sounds when you allow for the fact that I have a very, very, active four year old. 

Luckily, today being a Saturday, Daddy ran interference and took her to her swimming lesson this morning. So, between spinning some before everyone was awake and then some more while they were at the pool I managed to accomplish this... 
Spunky Eclectic Gotland "Robin Red Breast"
All told that was about two hours of spinning which used up 3 1/8 ounces of fiber. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be able to finish up the 4 ounces before the end of the Tour (making thicker yarn makes spinning go faster - noted). This is destined to become a felted singles yarn which is a technique I've never done before so I'm pretty excited (read: scared) to see how that goes.

In fact, I'm really trying to talk myself down from just trying to finish spinning it tonight. My muscles think that after twisting into awkward positions to paint our kitchen that it might be delightful to take a break this evening. Stupid muscles.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Flashback Friday: My First Knitting Project

I first learned to knit when I was in college. I took a beginners class at the Local Yarn Store. We made a few squares just to learn how to knit and purl. Then, for everyone's first project we made these...

Felted Slippers
While I'll be the first to admit they are not the most attractive slippers I have ever seen, they are surely some of the warmest. I think they are actually a genius project for beginners. Now I know some people right now are thinking, "Double pointed needles? In the round? And turning a heel? And this is a good beginners project how?" Stay with me.

You see the teacher explained that once we made these, we were fully prepared to make socks, a sweater - anything really. If we jumped in and made these in the beginning we would never have a chance to be intimidated by anything else. Of course, there is also the fact that it's a big, chunky yarn on big needles so it goes quickly and any holes or mistakes get hidden when you felt them (there were many and yes, they did get gloriously hidden). 

I can honestly say this method worked for me in a really big way. From that class onward, I've never looked at any project and thought, "Oh, that's way too complicated for me." or "I've never done this before and I'm too scared to try." I follow the directions, I make mistakes, I rip back, learn and try again. These ugly slippers are what I have to thank for that. They taught me not only how to knit and purl - but that on some level, no matter how complicated, that all knitting is just knit and purl. 

Sadly, these slippers are no more as, unattractive as they were, I loved them literally to pieces. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Row Gauge Can't Be That Big A Deal...

I like to always have some sort of mindless knitting project. Right now this is it.
Roxborough Dolman

 Miles and miles of stockinette make for good T.V. watching. Or is it T.V. watching that makes miles and miles of stockinette bearable? Anyway, like a Very Good Knitter I did a gauge swatch and everything checked out alright. Many hours of fingering weight stockinette later, I reach the point where I've finished doing the increases and need to check how much longer to make the body before dividing for the armholes. The pattern says I need to keep knitting until I reach 16 3/4". So out comes my trusty tape measure...
Ruh roh.
I've got 17 1/2 inches just to the final increase. Now the good news is that I'm somewhat tall with a longer torso so I'm telling myself that an extra inch in length isn't going to be a big deal. For just a second though, before my brain had a chance to kick in with the logic, it was panic city. Frankly, I still have a fear that instead of looking drape-y, fun, and easy this will instead look like a big yellow and gray sack. There is only one way to find out.
Knitting onward...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I've Been Doing for the Last Few Years

It has been a long, long while since I last posted. In all honesty I haven't been doing much in the way of sketching for quite a while. Fear not, my fingers haven't been sitting idle all of this time - they've just been busy creating in a medium that is much more friendly to picking up and putting down.

Any guesses?
Here I'll give you a hint...

Mmmmm. Yarn. I've been obsessed with yarn - touching it, knitting with it, wearing it, and recently, even making it. Now, I'm also going to be blogging about it.

I still have a few old sketches that haven't made their way onto this blog and they might slowly trickle their way here; but I have even more older fiber-y projects that will certainly be showing up. The plan is to have Flashback Fridays for a while to catch up with all that I've been doing.

Now back to that picture hint. This is actually yarn that I spun from this...
Spunky Eclectic 4oz. Corriedale Club Fiber "Abstract"
Into this...
470 yards of navajo-plied light fingering weight
I cannot completely explain the sense of supreme satisfaction this gives me. I just look at it and think, "I freaking MADE this." Which, incidentally, could be a perfect name for this blog if it didn't already have one. In any case, get ready, because it's about to get sheepy up in here.