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Christmas Socks December 26, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in fo, knitting, Knitting - FOs, knitting socks, socks.
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What fun giving a ton (ok, not really, but at least four) of knitted gifts for the holidays! I am still out of the country, visiting family… but here is a shot of the socks I made for my mother earlier in the year. They are only anklets because she lives in the tropics (read sweltering heat) and wears socks to bed. They fit her well though, which pleased me. These are made with one skein of Lorna’s Laces in their Icehouse colorway.

In case you are worried, I did finish the delicious pair of socks in the Schaeffer Anne yarn that I was working on earlier. I just forgot to take a picture. Hopefully my friend will send me one with them on her feet…  to my delight those fit perfectly as well.

I hope everyone had great knitted gift successes this year.

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It’s all about humility December 15, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in knitting, spinning, yarn.
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I have been dreaming of spinning my own yarn since I was somewhere around the age of seven. I have vague memories of a school trip. I cannot recall where we went, or what the purpose was, but I remember the welcoming face of a round, wise woman who looked like she belonged on either side of my family. She taught me (and probably others, but I don’t remember that part) how to card wool, and allowed me to pass the shuttle back and forth on her already dressed loom.

I was amazed.

I have had this vision of myself spinning and weaving ever since. Just a constant assumption that at some point in my life I will be able to do both with skill, maybe even have the opportunity to press carders or a shuttle into another set of small hands.

The problem of course is that a couple of decades of knitting leads me to believe that I can do almost anything with yarn. I can crochet when I have to, I have even managed to follow instructions for macrame. Yes, I need some real instruction before learning anything about weaving, but I haven’t tried that particular craft yet, and so my happy illusionary bubble of weaving beautiful things has not yet met the beginner’s first taste of reality.

But last night I sat in a friend’s house while his mother gave us our first lesson in spinning. I have been reading books, of course. And even watching fabulous instructional movie clips online. She let us try out her Ashford traditional spinning wheel. It is a single drive wheel with a single treadle. So beautiful… and such a challenge! She kept telling us that we would feel like we had three thumbs but I found myself thinking that an extra thumb or two might be helpful!

I came home with a pile of wool tops and a drop spindle to keep my interest while I think about getting a wheel of my own…

And so with humilty (and while foolishly wearing a black fleece) I began once again to botch attempt spinning those long fibers into yarn. I am learning… one hopes. For now I will look upon this “yarn” with humility, find sources of inspiration, and just keep trying.

And then there were three… December 13, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in beer cozies, knitting, Knitting - FOs.
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Yeah… there had to be at least one more. What a set. Eye watering to be sure. I think this one is my favorite. The basic beer cozy pattern allows you to substitute practically any stitch in the midsection. I unveil to you the purple-seed-stitch-beer-cozy.

Can you tell that the same bottle of beer is used in every photo? I personally am allergic to beer, so I never drink it. Luckily this one was left in the back of my fridge by my mother in August. Otherwise we would have been sadly lacking a beer cozy model.

Yep… these still make me giggle.

Beer Cozies December 10, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in beer cozies, knitting, Knitting - FOs, yarn.
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So of course I couldn’t resist. How often do you get to knit something absolutely ludicrous that you just know someone you love will love? Enter the beer cozy. I am betting that, like me, when looking at the image above you can easily imagine 1001 terribly wrong uses for these two pieces of fiber madness.

Frankly, I am unsure that the beer cozy will actually serve its intended purpose. Sure, it may keep your beer from leeching the warmth from your hand, but insulation? I am just not convinced. It is likely to overrule the need for a coaster for your beer bottle… but seriously. Who uses a coaster when drinking beer straight out of the bottle?

Nevertheless, I began this afternoon by knitting the world’s ugliest beer cozy. I have to speak in defense of the author of Knitting With Balls, Michael Del Vecchio. In his “hands on guide to knitting for the modern man,” there are no beer cozies knit in terrifying colorways. His choice of Cascade Fixation was solid in color for all three examples. Don’t ask me what I was thinking this afternoon in my LYS.

I truly believed that the colorway below was “Christmasy” at first glance, not destined to create the world’s ugliest beer cozy.

After creating such an eyesore, I had to revert to a more dignified look… hence the formal beer cozy.

Which do you think she will prefer? I still have a purple, blue, and green colorway that I have not yet tried and scads of leftover yarn. One thing Michael doesn’t tell you… one skein of Cascade fixation will make at least four beer cozies. I can just hear my aunt cheering now.

Holidays Approaching December 8, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in knitting, knitting socks, socks.
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I am not sure what it is about holiday knitting for me. I start out by choosing just one person on my list to receive a hand knit gift. This makes wonderful sense and often, as happened this year, I finish that gift early. Then I start to get cocky. I pick one more person for yuletide knitting, and even get well underway with the next project… when all of a sudden I am staring down a knitting list that grows longer by the day.

What possesses me to borrow library books filled with interesting patterns just a few weeks before Solstice? The most recent addition to my impending-works-in-progress-with-a-deadline-thank-you-very-much is a set of beer cozies, from Knitting With Balls. I have an aunt who absolutely needs a few of these.

It never ends.

Apologies for the terrible sock photo. It is, in fact, a glorious sock. Made from Schaeffer’s Anne line in wool, mohair, and nylon. Incredibly soft, though requiring size one needles for the first time ever. Who thought up this kind of torture anyway? I can post this pic because the friend whose size 6.5 feet will soon be covered by this sock (and hopefully its mate) picked out the yarn herself. No surprises there. As my hoofie-woofies clock in at a size 9.5, I could not model these for a better picture.

She wanted simple socks, hence all the stockinette. I did do a baby cable rib at the top, because sometimes you just have to throw in a little flair. Hopefully this will count as a FO soon. Good luck to all the speed knitters out there! The deadlines (depending on your tradition of choice) are rapidly approaching!

In Progress December 1, 2006

Posted by lunarawe in knitting, knitting socks, socks.
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One of the huge benefits of having several WIPs going at once is that it allows you to set the knitting aside when it has pissed you off so badly upset you to the point that you need a little break.

I for one feel pretty strongly that the intentionality we put into our knitting is as important as the yarn, the pattern, and our skill. So when something incredibly annoying puts me in a bad mood about my knitting… I try to just walk away.

What, you may ask, did such a cute halloweeny sock do to irritate me to that point? Normally a dropped stitch isn’t so bad right? We all get them. Eventually you just get good at picking them back up again and you move on.

Imagine my delight when I found a dropped stitch in the row of double decreases in the Jaywalker pattern… something I discovered while knitting on an airplane where loud cursing is sadly frowned upon.

I grumbled, I tied it up with string, and I moved with alacrity onto something else. I think the fact that I returned to the sock after merely a couple of weeks of glaring at it on the kitchen table is a sign that I have grown. I grabbed a stash of double point needles, picked up the errant stitch in all its complexity, and moved ahead.

The sock and I are back in right relationship. Ain’t life grand?