Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happiness is....

Sometimes happiness is being a completele and utter dork by getting excited that somebody at American Girl bothered to knit quality goods for the dolls that were big part of your childhood (and that you can totally tell that's a wrap and turn heel).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happiness is...

When your handknit socks totally match your outfit.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sock blocking

I recently finished an ankle length pair of Child's First Socks from Nancy Bush's Vintage Socks as a gift. It was a delightfuly quick knit with lovely results:

Pretty, no?

The yarn I used (name has slipped my mind, but it was hand dyed with indigo I believe) left my hands and bamboo needles faintly blue, so I decided to block the socks before gifting to eliminate excessive dye leakage. I am willing to gift soft, potentially feltable fibers in hand knit socks (willingness subject to change), but consider dye leakage Death for gifted handknits. Who but the knitters themselves are willing to deal with that?

Death eyeballs the handknits for Himself if they fail the blocking test and leak blue.

Fortunately (and surprisingly) the socks did not leak during blocking, even with blasts of steaming hot water. In an unexpected side effect that reveals my failure in foresight of blocking lacy socks, what a big difference blocking made in the presentable-ness of the socks! See below, unblocked on top and blocked on bottom:

Not too shocking for those who block regularly, I know.

I block lace and sweaters that will be seen by the general public and look signficantly better upon blocking, but I never block socks. Usually when I finish a pair I am so pleased I don them immediately and wear them until they cry out for washing. This usually blocks them sufficiently.

Another view where the blocked v. unblocked is more pronounced. Again, unblocked up top and blocked on bottom.

My stance is that socks go on my feet to keep me warm, so blocking just takes time and energy I would rather put towards other things. Plus, if I don't block them I can wear them sooner. But I will have to keep blocking socks in mind for gifted handknits, where presentation matters.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happiness is...

Sometimes happiness is a pair of plaid pj pants (capri!) and a hyperbolic scrubbie made of organic cotten.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Off the needles: owl cowl

This week I cast on and cast off a simple little 3x2 ribbed cowl in a random acrlyic/wool blend gifted to me by Other Mother in one of her wonderful care packages.

Accurate color brought to you by Photoshop, which desaturated the awful yellow that was eating my picture.
Last semester I knit an owl hat out of the same ball for a friend, and I was pleased I had enough left over for a matching cowl (even if I delivered it months later). What makes this more blog-worthy than a tube of 3kx2p rib is how I finished it. I knit a purl turning row, knit about an inch and a half of 3px2k rib, and then folded and sewed the live stitches down. Now there is about an inch and a half of double fabric at the top of the cowl for extra protection against the bitter cold and snow (if we ever have any snow).
Here's what the inside looks like with my seam.
It was the first time I have done a turning row and seamed stitches down, and since I just winged while listening to a lecture about swine flu in virology, I'm pretty pleased with it. I'll have to do this type of finishing for more objects. Specifically, lovely colorwork sweaters that I dream of during class in my copious spare time.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happiness is...

Sometimes, happiness is alpaca from the Farmer's Market and memories of a summer garden and eating sunwarmed grape tomoatoes right from the vine.