Thursday, November 30, 2006

FO: Voodoo Wrist Warmers

Oh my, I seriously love these little things.

Saturday was writing day, which meant I was shut in my icebox of a study all day. My little hands were freezing! But gloves were not an option, because I had to write. As I sat at my keyboard, I was suddenly overcome with the urge to knit wrist warmers right now. I managed to wait till I was through with my writing work to start the project in earnest (i.e., I did cast on, and knit a couple of inches, between writing spurts, but I ended up frogging when I realized the first wrist warmer was turning out too loose, then I waited till I was done writing before casting on again). By the next afternoon, I had a wrist warmer! Other things kept me from banging out the second one quite as quickly, but by last night, I was done with the pair.

a cup of coffee, a cuddly cat, and a couple of happy hands

It makes me ridiculously happy to cradle my favorite mug in my toasty mitts.

yarn: Malabrigo, Polar Morn, less than 1 skein
needles: size 4 dpns, Clover
pattern: Voodoo Wrist Warmers, size small
modifications: after the thumb hole, I knit a little more than the inch indicated, b/c I wanted the top of the mitt to come over my knuckles a bit
started: November 25
finished: November 29
[if I hadn't been simultaneously working on other knit projects, these could've easily been done in two nights]
verdict: one of the simplest things I've ever knit. I love, love, love them. And I love, love, love the yarn (of course!). I especially love, love, love this colorway. I see some thick ribbed house socks in this colorway in my future.
I know some people don't see the point of fingerless mitts. But I feel certain I will be using these a *lot* at my keyboard.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

FO: The Too Big, Too Little Hat

Little Buddha has this new habit of running around in circles, calling out, "I'm getting busy, Mama!" By "busy" what he really means is "dizzy" (I know this because it all started with me asking him if he was getting dizzy). But it has certainly made me think of the things that "busy" and "dizzy" and running around in circles have in common. I feel a little the same way lately.

In the midst of busyness, it's nice to have some little projects to do - they go so quickly! It's not so nice when they don't turn out right.

I knit this little beanie for LB (with plans to make Tiny Dancer one next). I wanted to make beanies like the ones that seem so popular lately - all stockinette, tight over the ears. After studying multiple hem options and several beanie patterns, and doing some gauge-based calculations, I cast on for my very first hemmed project.

Who knew that something could be both too big and too small at the same time?

from the side, it looks all right
sort of

from this angle, though, you can see it's too big
see the gap at the ear?
I cast on too many stitches

and from this angle, you can see that it's also too small
see how it only covers the left ear if it's not remotely covering the right ear?
I decreased too early. I think the hat needed at least another inch.

Still, you can see how pleased he is. Little Buddha is a guy who loves accessories. But this will have to be a do-over. He really does need his ears covered for winter. The trick will be getting the hat away from him long enough to frog it and reknit.

yarn: KnitPicks Swish Superwash, in Dark Navy with Fired Brick stripes
needles: Addi Turbos, size 6, 16" (plus dpns for the top)
pattern: a mishmash
goal: a stockinette beanie with hem
verdict: do over! will probably cast on about 20% fewer stitches this time, and may try doing the hem differently

In my comments, yesterday, Meredith mentioned that when she does toe-up socks, she has trouble binding off loosely enough to get the socks on. I had the same problem!! The first sock I only got on through much finagling. The second one, I thought I had learned my lesson, so I bound off with needles one size bigger. It is still tough to get on, though not quite as tight
as the first one. I guess next time I'll try going up another needle size or two. Or does anyone else have suggestions? Is this a common problem with toe-up socks?

FO: Toe-Up Tuscaknit Socks

My first pair of toe-up socks.

yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted,
in Chocolate (for toes, heels, and cuffs) and Tuscany

pattern: universal toe-up sock formula

needles: size 3, Clover dpns

story: I started these on a train out of Siena, Tuscany, November 7.
Knit them in Rome, Subiaco, Spoleto, and Nursia.
And a little bit in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

inspiration and variation: I liked the socks I knit for T so much, I had to have some for myself. I did these toe-up instead of top-down, knit them on one size smaller needles, and did a 2x2 cuff instead of 1x1. I didn't like the variegation of this Tuscany yarn as much as I did the other. T's seemed to have more blue, and these also have weird very light gold flecks here and there that I don't remember the other having.

verdict: I really like toe-up. I still really like Lorna's Laces.
I still really suck at short rows.

Perfect socks for sitting around drinking coffee, remembering Italy,
and watching fall fade away.

Monday, November 27, 2006

My Life. My Blog.

Clearly I'm having trouble getting back into the swing of blogging. Blame it partly on my computer (theoretically fixed - the guy at Apple's Genius Bar decided I had a corrupt OS and reinstalled for me; still, my computer gets sluggish and cranky at times). Or blame it on the fact that I'm trying to deal with work, holidays, company (My Old Man's son arrives for an 8-day visit today), and re-entry. Or blame it on my complete lack of organization and self-discipline. Or, pretend that I actually discovered some self-discipline in Italy, and am now channeling my energies into actual work rather than this here blog.

At any rate, I've not gotten back into my blogging rhythm. Even though I have *actual FOs* to show. Not to mention all those hundreds of pictures from my trip (which I am still sorting).

Maybe a meme will get me back in my groove. And this one (based on those American Express ads) I saw over at Cara's place was just too fun to pass up. Though I have to admit I always feel like such a narcissist when I post a meme (hence the early demise of my participation in Friday Feasts).

self-portrait in the kitchen of the B&B in Florence

can you read it? I know the quality sucks.
(I don't have a scanner, so I had to snap a pic of it.)
click for bigger

Wanna do it too? Here's the form. Don't forget to do the self-portrait.

Now. I really better get back to real life. Company's a-coming and the house is a mess.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I'm back

So I'm home. The trip was amazing. I fell completely in love with Italy - but am also thoroughly happy to be back home, with my three guys. I had intended to blog more than once while away, but slow connections, limited access, and too many sights to see kept me from it. I hope to get back in the swing of blogging now that I'm back (though a sick computer at home may interfere).

I have some pictures to share, some stories to tell, and even some knitting updates to show, but for now I just wanted to say hello. Here's one little picture, from Florence (the only one I have loaded to my computer, because I emailed it to my family from Italy and copied it to my gmail account; my other 700+ photos are not yet accessible to me!).

my last night in Florence, at the church of San Miniato at sunset, overlooking the city

Buona sera! More soon....

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Buon giorno!

Indeed, it has been a very buon giorno. Several very buon giornos.

I had hoped to upload some photos today, but the internet train where I am is closing in just a few minutes. So I just wanted to give a quick shout-out to my peeps in the homeland. I got here safely, with no major snafus except for the small inconvenience of missing my stop on the bus from the train station in Florence and then proceeding to walk 30 minutes through town with my luggage to my B&B. (I was so happy to be able to ask the woman on the bus next to me "Dov'e siamo?" - "Where are we?" while pointing at the map. When I told her where I needed to be, she explained in Italian that we were well past that and that I should get off immediately. Then she added in English, "Quick! Quick!" So I did.) Good think I packed so lightly.

Everything here is fantastico. There are not adequate words to capture the experience. Put it this way: no knitting has been going on since I left home, and I've been totally okay with that. Who'da thunk it?

More soon. Ciao!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Bag packed.
Novel chosen.
GSM cellphone charged.
Camera battery charged.
Boarding pass printed.
Recorded self singing for boys (thanks, GarageBand).
Scarf finished.

Scrunchable Scarf in Malabrigo, Azul Profundo, 1 skein

Figure out itinerary for Florence and Siena.
Purchase tickets for the train and for the Uffizi.
Finish learning Italian.(hahahahahaha)
Decide what knitting stuff I'm taking (why am I letting this stress me out?).
Let everything else go and just get on the freakin' plane.

Arrivederci, i miei amiche! I hope to write from bella Italia!

Homemade Halloween

When it comes to sewing (and knitting, too), I'm no Grumperina. I just do not have her attention to detail or her commitment to perfection. Still, I got the job done - my first ever homemade Halloween costumes.

Two Little Pigs

The best part of making them was how Little Buddha kept coming into my study while I was sewing and saying, "Good job, Mama."

And even though the ears turned out to be cartoonish and bizarre (I had no pattern, just my own twisted imagination), I was pleased enough with the ensemble: pink hooded sweatsuits (the first time I've gotten to purchase little pink things for my kids!), ears stuffed and sewn, hooves made like little mitts and sewn to the cuffs (but not all the way around, so the boys could pull their hands out if they wanted), and little corkscrew tails (I sewed a tube and then put a pipecleaner in it).

Here you can see Tiny Dancer's tail.
My Old Man and I wore the pig noses for trick-or-treating,
because the boys refused.
Even though for a month they've asked me nearly every day
to let them wear their pig noses.

Little Buddha

Tiny Dancer

Ready for candy.