Get comfy with a cup of tea. I accidentally wrote a behemoth post for you!
Every knitter knows of “second sock syndrome” but have you ever had “12th sock syndrome?” Ha ha! I knew that at some point in my 12-in-12 self-challenge I’d get bogged down and and distracted by other shiny projects that look so much more appealing than what I’ve been working on for 12 weeks but it surprised me that I made it all the way to sock number 12 before that happened!
It’s not that I didn’t want to knit more. Au contraire! I just took a tiny break to make a new pair of mittens for my boy since his pair from last winter were too small.
Look! New mittens! These were my own made-up pattern using left-over 100% wool yarn based on vague recall of how to make mittens from last year. The first one I made was a disaster. I did yarn overs for the thumb gusset increases and ended up with a lacy mitten which was also too narrow in the hand. Little boys with cold hands don’t want lacy mitts! I frogged it and tried again using knit front-knit back increases instead to much better effect.
Last year my 2-year-old kept loosing track of one or both mittens just as it was time to rush out the door for something or other so I did what any right-minded mother would do and tied his mittens to a long string which I threaded through his coat sleeves. That worked out well except that it would pull out of the bottom of the sleeve on one side or the other. My solution was to tie the middle of the string to the hanger loop on the inside back of the coat. This year I didn’t think my now 3-year-old to be much more responsible so I did it again.
After the mittens were completed I still had more of that yarn left so I decided to knit up a little beanie to go with it. I realized I wouldn’t have enough for the whole thing so I borrowed a little navy blue yarn from a project I’ll show you in a second. I added some nice manly stripes to the beanie and called it a day.
Too bad the boy says it’s too itchy for his head. Funny, though, he’s never once said that his mittens from the same yarn are too itchy and he wears them multiple times a day.
Post beanie, I had to get started on Christmas presents. I had sworn off hand knit Christmas gifts after making all of the gifts for my entire family and all my day care kids last year. But then my 12-year-old nephew asked me – yes, asked me – to knit him a scarf for Christmas. I’m not sure what kind of 12-year-old boys you know but I thought it a bit odd that this was his Christmas wish. In any case, I was more than happy to oblige and not feel so bad about being that nerdy aunt who gives books and hand knit scarves as gifts.
I used about 1-1/2 skeins of Paton’s Classic Wool in Navy to make the scarf. I cast on 30 stitches on size 8 needles. I worked it in garter stitch for an inch or so, then created his initials, AQ, one on each end of the scarf, by alternating knit and purl in stockinette. The remainder of the scarf is garter stitch.
I just winged it and the A came out fantastically on the first try without even making a chart. Once I got to the other end, I tried making the Q and had to rip it out at least 3 times. I was on the brink of making myself a chart to figure it out when by some miracle the 4th try succeeded. I was nervous that the letters weren’t going to block out well but it turned out acceptably in the end.
Despite having sworn off knitted gifts, my sister-in-law also requested a hand knit. She wanted gloves to match the scarf I made her last year in Cash Vero in the ruby colorway. Naturally, Cash Vero is discontinued and there was none to be had in the right color. I found a few odd balls (ha ha) in other colors online but not ruby. She conceded to the fact that there was none and asked for gray in whatever yarn works. I found Cascade Pure Alpaca at one of my LYS’s (I’m lucky enough to have 3 specialty yarn shops within 15 minutes driving time!). I used this Classy Cabled Gloves pattern that I found on Ravelry.
They don’t look so great lying flat because the cables really pull them in and I don’t have a glove blocking form.
However, they’re beautiful when worn. Just ignore the fact that my miniature hands don’t come close to filling them out, as my sister-in-law is nearly 6 feet tall and has hands to match, while I am 5’2″ and have tiny hands even for my size. I asked her to measure each of her fingers, as well as around her palm and the length of her palm so I’m sure they’ll fit (hopefully!).
I have to say, these gloves were a pretty slow project. The only reason I completed them so quickly was that I was blessed with three days in a row in which I was stuck in the house without day care kids thanks to an ice storm followed by three inches of snow the next day! What better to do than curl up in bed and knit when everything outside your window looks like this:
At least it was pretty even if it did knock out power to hundreds of thousands of customers and wreak havoc on the roads. I was one of those forutnate enough to keep my electricity so I could see my knitting and not freeze my fingers off.
All said and done, those gloves probably took me 20 hours to complete! My sister-in-law had better like them!
Once the gloves were done, I had energy to burn and I was going a little stir crazy from being iced-in so I got out of the house asap and headed to Michael’s to pick up a few things. While there I accidentally cruised down the yarn aisle where I found a sale and came home with 10 skiens of Lion Brand Thick & Quick Wool-Ease in a fantastic tweed color called oatmeal. I started on the Riding Coat by Debbie Bliss.
This yarn calls for size 13 needles but to get the gauge I had to go all the way down to US 8 needles! Thus far I’ve knitted three skeins a little more than halfway up the back of the coat. It’s going quickly but I’ve had to set it down for a while because I was literally knitting a hole in my finger. My skin cracked on my index fingertip from working so hard to manipulate this thick yarn on too small needles to get the gauge. On the bright side, it will be very tight knit and wind resistant! I don’t have any pics for you, but I promise some as soon as my finger heals and I get back to knitting so I have something to show you.
As if having a cracked fingertip would stop me from knitting though! HA! I set down the coat project and started in on another double knit beanie identical to the one I made for my brother’s birthday. This one is for a friend who happened to see the first one and commissioned one for himself. I’ve had the yarn for a few weeks but was waiting until I got the other must-knit projects out of the way. This double knit is a slow-go, though and will take me a while especially as I’m writing up the pattern so I can make it available for sale soon. Anyone want to test-knit the pattern for me before it goes live? Please email me your info at vinthill @ hotmail .com and let me know.
Oh, by the way, I did finish socks 9 and 10. I just never blogged them because, well, there’s not much to say about them. They’re just like both pairs of white ones, but black. See:
Black socks. And yes, I did put them on over the top of my black tights because I was just that cold. You’ll have to ignore the dog hair and fuzz on them, too. That’s the way it goes around here.
After finishing these black socks I promptly cast on the last pair but… well… you just read the story.
While I attempt to focus my knitting energy on one of the three works in progress, jump over to my flickr photo stream through one of the picture links if you want to see more pretty pictures of the ice. I got down with my inner photographer and went to nuts with pics. 🙂
Also don’t forget to email me if you want to test-knit the beanie!