Friday, March 29, 2013

A handknit headband, for earbuds that stay put

A couple of weeks ago when I was starting to question my sock-knitting obsession, I grabbed a circular needle and yarn leftovers on my way out to a lecture on travel in Italy.  I cast on while waiting for the doors to open, and I cast off before the talk was done - it was that easy to be able to pack this in my carry on bag:

Originally I wanted noise-canceling earphones for this trip, but after revisiting the hand luggage restrictions for my flight I decided all I really care about is masking enough noise so I can sleep.  The most compact solution to that, short of an iPhone or something that plays music while doubling as everything else you want on a trip, is an iPod shuffle with earbuds... if only I could get those things to stay in. 

So I whipped up a headband to do that job for me.

It's quite amazing how much warmer my head feels with just this band covering my forehead - something I'm likely to appreciate on the plane.  And if the hotel turns out to be noisy (likely) I'll be a lot more comfortable sleeping too.

I've loaded up this Shuffle with one thing on several hours' worth of repeat: the sound of heavy rain on flowing water.  It's the same sound I use every time a couple of my neighbours sit out talking on their patio till 4 or 5 am (by which I mean, most nights from spring till fall that are not actually rainy) and if it can tune them out, it can do anything.

Now, you can absolutely use a stretchy terry cloth hairband from the drugstore to hold in a pair of earbuds, but if you want to knit one like mine I can give you the basic directions.  I know you'll forgive me for not writing this up as a whole pattern because a/ When? and b/ So simple.

Earbud Security Band

Needles: 3.25mm, 16" circular or double pointed needles, or size to obtain gauge
Yarn: 20g sport weight wool (I used Twisted Fiber Art 'Playful' in Le Cirque colourway)
Gauge: 20sts and 32rows = 4"
And: 1 marker

Cast on 120 sts, add marker, and join to work in the round being careful not to twist.
Round 1: *K2, P2; repeat from * to end of round.
Repeat Round 1 13 times more.
Cast off, as loosely as possible, in K2 P2 pattern as set.

Run in ends and enjoy!

And I think that's it for me for a couple of weeks.  If I'm able, I might post something random just for fun, and I'll also post some contact information for anyone not able to download a pattern (thank you, Trish!).  But first: packing, and letting my housesitters know where the secret stash of shortbread is lurking.  Probably this will occur in reverse because hello, priorities?

I hope you all have a wonderful start to April and I promise to post lots of yummy pictures when I'm home again.  Until then, knit some good stuff!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Handknit socks and storebought shoes

With an embarrassingly short time left to prepare for my trip - which, frankly, will be over before I know it and then I'll wonder what I made such a fuss about - I am still knitting socks to take with me.

Not only is this just sad - I was two rounds from finishing the toe of a Peeps sock before I realized I had started the foot two rounds early after not decreasing enough at the gusset - it feels foolish.

Truly.  I don't need socks to take with me; I have several pairs that would do, and also several more pairs that I bought from a store which will look (sad but true) a lot better with the clothes I'm bringing.  Still: two weeks without my own handknits?  please.

Boring Backstory

The problem probably started with pants, or rather, the lack of them.  I just assumed that it would be possible for me to find a pair of rugged black casual pants for this trip and that I could wear my wildest stripey socks in my ever-faithful black Mary Jane shoes, and life would be generally delightful and punctuated by repeat servings of gelato.

The backup for the casual pants was to be a black jersey skirt that would look great over leggings and, of course, wild stripey socks and the black Mary Janes.

For some reason, this just hasn't been possible. I did find several different, lightweight, versatile, and wrinkle resistant things to take - but they're all patterned, and the only colour they all go with is black.  Which applies also to socks.

Boring Main Story Resumes

In theory this was okay because I had the Circus Socks.

hello, repeat picture of Circus Socks!

That didn't help with the Mary Janes though, because they are knit in a sport weight, and I can't fit anything heavier than fingering weight socks into those shoes.

Still: not a problem because I'd just bought these!

Very practical black running shoes - cute, and just enough too big to make sport weight socks a delightful asset even after my orthotic insoles got in there.  WHEW.

Except that over the weekend I tested them on a five-hour outing that included supper (also known as an hour in a chair), and after about four hours I noticed my feet hurt, and they were still hurting the next night, and my knees weren't very happy with me either.  No way are these shoes going to get me through ten consecutive days of serious sightseeing; in fact, they'd cripple me.

At this point I started pulling out every. single. stripey sock I've ever knit, hoping I could find a pair that looked okay with at least one of the patterned pieces, and decided to gamble on bringing just one pair of shoes.  I mean, in normal everyday life I walk a ton, and I wear those Mary Janes every day to do it with joint-related impunity to boot, so I should be fine.

Except... what if it rains really hard and my shoes are drenched and I have nothing dry to put on for the next outing?

So I had to break down and do it.

I went to a running shoe store and bought official walking shoes big enough to fit my stupid orthotic insoles.

In good news: they work great with sport weight socks!

In bad news... well.

They're pretty clunky.

(I'm still going to take some wild stripey socks.  And they're totally going in my carry-on, for safety.)

Tomorrow: I'm going to post a bit later than usual so I can show you still more black and white yarn, but it comes with a pattern you might enjoy whipping up yourself.  See you then!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Knitting, in black and white

I finished one of my second Circus socks:

though I haven't yet run in the ends, of course.  Or grafted the toe.

What do you think about the patterned leg and all-black foot?  It allows me to have two pairs of socks in this yarn and colour design which is a plus, but I also feel kind of sad looking at them because I'm a bit compulsive about sticking with one design all the way down to the toes.


Owing to the dire state of my sock laundry - I ended up not washing socks till Sunday, which means I have been digging deeply into the back of the sock drawer - I have been revisiting my first pairs of socks where I knit ribbing straight down the front of the leg and foot, and left the backs plain.

I don't love that I did this with too few stitches, such that the socks feel a bit tighter than I'm used to now, but... they look so cool!  I'd forgotten how much so.  I think I might have to sacrifice the ease of knitting plain stockinette for the duration of each sock for another go at this decorative business.

End Digression

I suspect the balance of my feelings on these socks leans, very slightly, to the side of gratitude (not least for the longer leg on this pair) because I mostly do like them.

They look especially cute with some snow on them, don't you think?

Hard as it is to believe looking at these very peaceful pictures of a single sock: both pairs of circus socks are at the heart of a swirling controversy that has nothing to do with colour and everything to do with weight (by which I mean: whether or not they will fit into my travel shoes.)  But that is a story all its own so I will have to tell you later in the week, if there's time.  I'll try though because I know there's nothing you love more than a long angsty essay on shoes and socks.  Who doesn't?

After that, I have to tell you about that cool project I made up, too... in the same yarn, so I hope you're not getting tired of it.  And if you are: good news, I'm about to take off for a couple of weeks! and you'll be spared for a while.

See you tomorrow, with whatever it is I've managed to take pictures of.  Have a marvelous day, won't you?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Intruder alert: balloon edition

The other day I was absently walking past the side door of my house when a Thing bobbed at its window, and scared the knitting needles straight out of my hands.

A... birthday balloon?

I have no idea whose birthday warranted its arrival in the great outdoors, but it was caught for the longest time in the air currents swirling through my driveway.

Of course, I had to take pictures.  

Once I knew it wasn't a threat (though now that I think of it, anything rushing more birthdays at a person could well be considered as such) I found it pretty endearing.

And then it moved on.

Oh! and while I have you here:

look, some knitting.  (I'm onto the toes now, for both socks.  go mary go.)

And also: pretty cherry blossoms, courtesy of Hello Sandwich.  We're weeks away from cherry blossoms where I live, but Hello Sandwich lives in Japan.  Lucky girl.

And now: off I go.  Hope you have a lovely day without any scary Birthday monsters in it, and I'll see you tomorrow!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The yarn calm at the eye of the non-knitting storm

Omigosh, the mayhem: I'd forgotten what it's like to prep for a long trip far away.  Luckily I've been able to acquire more yarn because there is nothing more effective for distracting you from the packing gear and freshly washed and folded clothing strewn over every horizontal surface in your home.

This yummy stuff is Noro 'Odori', which is so bulky the label recommends using a 10mm or even 11mm needle.  That quality makes it perfect for my new 10mm crochet hook, and the black-white-grey-brown skein is perfect for my depressingly non-springlike travel wardrobe.  I'm pretty sure I can crochet most of a cowl with it in the lounge before I even get on my flight, and then put it on to help me keep warm while I try to sleep on the plane, later.

Sleepytime Napstation, that's what that yarn is.  Unless I wear it out at night in Florence and Rome, in which case it's going to be Eveningtime Glamstation.  Gotta love accessories that multitask.  Even if they are redundant because there are already some pretty fabulous bright scarves in the suitcase.

On the way back when I have 10 waking hours to fill, I'm thinking I'll work with the gorgeous pink.  Love how it takes cheery to unheard-of levels of aggression.

but also with the pretty green, which I think will be calming.  Kind of like that mushroom in Alice In Wonderland, where nibbling on one side will make you bigger and the other will make you smaller.  Except, you know, it's yarn.  And you don't eat it.

This stuff is made up more of inedible silk than anything else, but the anything else includes inedible wool, angora, and mohair.  Luscious? I should say so. There was a 100% wool Noro at the store in the same weight, but it just wasn't as next-to-skin friendly so I splurged on the Odori.

Of course, as I suggested earlier, it is ridiculous of me to think of making a cowl out of black and brown yarn for an April holiday because hello? spring?  Pete bought all these great, colourful things over the weekend and I died a little inside.  There's got to be more to Life As Tourist than dark colours that go with everything and won't show tomato sauce.

Something like a springy green cowl, maybe?

(bad Mary.  that one is supposed to be a gift.)

I have a feeling this week might be a bit patchy here at Hugs as my own personal head begins to fall off, but at the same time I'm thinking I might be perfectly okay and capable of showing you finished socks and how to make the cool thing I knit to go with my white noise solution.  I mean honestly: I've acquired just about everything I could possibly need and all that's left are a few administrative-y things like photocopying my passport and learning how to do different Cat's Cradle-ish string games...

... because it's the best way I can think of it play with yarn for hours without a single tool, and never use it up.  I could never reach the excellence of this small girl, but I can dream.

Speaking of dreams, I hope this is the start of the week of yours.  See you tomorrow!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Scary vs non-scary knitting and crochet tools

Finally: a haircut.  I haven't had time for one since November, but a few days ago I got in to see Rob for a trim, to which I was superhugely looking forward because in addition to his being really good at cutting my hair,

a/ Rob's been to all the places I'm going to in Italy and

b/ his partner is a crazy prolific knitter.

After we'd talked for a bit I said You know, I'm thinking about not bringing knitting.  And he agreed straight off that I shouldn't.  ("Well, maybe for the plane.  But can you even bring it on the plane?")  Rob figures I'm going to want to be looking at the scenery, be it out a bus window or on the ceiling in the church I'm waiting to hear music in.

(there will be five of those, in case you feel like keeping count, and maybe six. no, wait! Six, and maybe seven, but two of them are in the same place, so only one ceiling to stare at.  Except hello, it's a church in Rome so two long stares might not be enough anyway.)

Bottom line: I'm thinking that really, this is just too porcupiney to go taking anywhere there might be a crowd, which is to say anywhere in public:

So it's going into my checked luggage for quiet breaks from the mayhem.  Did I mention I'm going along with a big group on an organized tour?  The schedule is crammed, and I kind of think those 'quiet breaks' are going to be filled with a/ gelato or b/ unconsciousness or c/ both, and none of those things are conducive to knitting. Still, at least I'd have it.

On the way over, I only have a few hours to fill before - with luck - I fall asleep, so I'm not too worried about getting twitchy with no socks to knit.  But I'm flying back during the day and it's going to take 10 hours to get home once the flight actually takes off, which as we all know probably won't be exactly on time.  That's where I'm thinking this might be good:

Okay, maybe not this exact thing.  This is a 10mm crochet hook and it looks like a small tree stump or something.  I showed it to Pete, aka the guy who asked me very politely to "please don't draw attention to yourself" when I showed him the double points with Koigu sock yarn on them, and he said the hook looks completely non-scary.

It's giving me too loose a fabric though with the Noro yarn I have, so I've ordered a 6mm hook and also a 5mm, just in case.  I figure I will use them regardless because I do enjoy crochet, and I really enjoy these Addi Natura bamboo hooks.  

What does that mean for the 10mm hook?  Well, probably that I'm going to stop into a yarn store for something bulky this morning, because as it happens I'm going to be right next to one with ten or so minutes to kill before an appointment.  Life: it's so sad and tragic.

Getting back to the scary needles: they are KnitPicks Harmony Wood 5" double points, and GAH, even with shiny new ones in the length I like, I'm just not in love any more.  I've been spoiled by the square needles with their slippery, coppery finish.  Still: the woods do produce the nicest fingering weight sock I make, so I'm gonna stick with 'em.

Not today though.  When you see the Koigu socks again you'll know that any progress I've made with them was entirely Italian.  Today, with any luck at all, I'm going to finish my second pair of Circus socks and then,

oh dear,

break down and launder some socks.  This is the big, big downside to knitting so many socks: you can go a long time before you really have to wash any, but when you do have to, NELLY, is it a huge job.  So wish me luck even if you're thinking more of the bulky yarn hunt than the massive Sock Wash, and have yourself a terrific weekend. See you Monday!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

No-sew cover for the cardboard box near you

Today I want to talk to you about craft storage, whether it's yarn or fabric or paper and scissors.  I can't be the only one challenged in that area, right?  And for me, the hands-down best starter storage is a good ol' cardboard box.

Cardboard boxes are fantastic for storing things like moth-protected (hello, Ziploc) yarn- or fabric-in-waiting, but they don't look pretty.  In fact it's probable that whatever unsightly thing they are storing for you is more attractive than the box itself.  The appeal of the box is its function in wrangling all that stuff into one stackable space, so let's look at making the most of this purpose and the least of the negative.

You will need:

A box
Fabric to cover the box
Scissors to cut the fabric, if necessary
Tape - painter's, packing, or even carpet

First, find a space you can use to put the box in, decoratively.  I have these boxes on the tops of most of my storage hutches and wardrobes - those are mostly sewn together, as here:

but I recently reclaimed an open shelf in the kitchen from some canisters I was able to move to less valuable real estate. (this is my reward for not baking so much right now.)

Then, find a box that fits your space.

Grocery stores that discard boxes for customer use are terrific sources for a selection of sizes.

If you're like me, finding fabric that matches the decor of the space and the size of the box will not be a problem.  I chose a length of red-striped linen tea toweling, but if your fabric is very thin you will want a darker colour than white to keep any labeling from showing through.

Cut a piece of fabric that will cover all sides of the box, excluding the top.  Or, if you're feeling stingy and it won't show, all but the back side of the box.  I was stingy.  Also: lazy - you can see I didn't even bother trimming the frayed edge of the fabric piece.

Now wrap the fabric over the box as though it is a present, and start taping.

Tea toweling gives you a nicely sewn edge for the top, but you can achieve the same effect with a neat fold along one side. If you have time and/or the inclination, you can even iron it flat.

The taping job doesn't have to be pretty unless you're planning to take the box down and display its contents to your guests, for example when the Queen visits.

Fill the box and: done!

I'm keeping cookies in mine.  Are you surprised?

This project is very quick.  The most time consuming part for me was picking up the boxes and choosing which one worked best.  This makes the project a huge help when you're trying to focus on organizing a space without getting distracted by the fun of making it, though actually, taping up a box cover in three minutes and having more storage practically instantly is very, very fun.

Hope you find this helpful for some part of your home! and I'll see you tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Three things on my knitting bucket list

A couple of weeks ago, before The Sickness, I talked with Helena about knitting and spinning and life generally.  She made some remark about fiber she was spinning into yarn for socks, and I said Wait up, what?? even though I know that spinning yarn for socks is something that people do.

At this point I must mention that yes, I do know I said a lot of things about socks yesterday.  It's okay.  I knit something different last night and now I feel better.

Anyway while I was stuck in bed I kept revisiting this idea of spinning my own sock yarn, or rather, knitting socks with yarn that is shifting over a lot of different sizes and weights, and maybe having them come out all right anyway.

They wouldn't have to be perfect.  They'd just have to be okay.

And, of course, they'd have to be made from mohair/Romney fiber dyed by Silvia at Stoddart Family Farm.  Fortunately I have lots.

Thinking of the spinning got me thinking about a knitting bucket list, as opposed to a New Year's Resolution list or a To Do list.

This is just a dream list.

A 'What would I like to knit, if I weren't so busy knitting?' list.

Well, I'll tell you - the second thing I'd like to knit is another slouchy hat like this one, and this time, I'd write up the pattern.

I considered this hat to be a failure after I made it because it was too wide and too long - too slouchy, in fact - for the shape I'd intended.  But I wear it every day now anyway, because it's so comfortable and my hair looks so great when I take it off, not all flat or marked by the impression of the band.

Also it matches my favourite scarf, which I did not knit, but which was given to Pete and which I never even let him take out of its bag.  It's 100% silk, from Italy, soft as you can possibly imagine and just so warm, just beautiful.  It's black on one face and grey on the other, the two fabrics fused together in some way I still can't see.

(I'm not as mean as all that; he was given two, and the other one matches his coat perfectly, so really he didn't need this one.)

The third thing... well, I have no picture to share for it.  Probably for the same reason it's on the bucket list.  I'm having a sort of writer's block about it, or rather, them: the fingerless gloves I wanted to take to Italy for al fresco dining and probably won't be, now.

Probably if I'd had a pattern to follow blindly there wouldn't be a problem, but I didn't - I ended up having to improvise a pattern for myself, and by the time I got up to the fingertips I just felt too overwhelmed by the different directions I could take to be able to pursue any of them.

That's all.  I'd like to do some spinning, and I'd like to knit a soft warm hat that folds into my purse without crushing, and I'd like to finish a pair of partially fingery gloves.  If these things really were in a bucket, it would be a colourful one, but vintage, with some of the paint chipped off and the rust showing through.  Special, but not fancy.

Lannie sends me interesting links sometimes about simple sources of happiness and one of them recently talked about buckets.  I'm sorry I don't remember to whom the credit should go but here is the idea:

If your bucket feels empty, fill somebody else's.  It's the best way to top up your own.

So... for purely unselfish reasons, since the last thing I want is more knitting dreams I have no time to fulfill, I hope this post about my bucket list gave you some ideas for yours! and I hope you have a lovely time till I see you again tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

So many socks, so little time, even less brain

I seem to be on the mend at last, and therefore am finally unpacking from my micro-holiday last week.

Sock explosion!

That's just... so many socks, and the Spring Peeps ones aren't even there for some reason.  The original Circus socks came along for the ride I'm not exactly sure why now, and of course the Joyous ones got their toes grafted and then were completely ignored even though they have a ton of ends to run in, and the second Circus socks got knit upon.  They went pretty long in the leg because I'm doing the feet entirely in black and I wanted to be sure I merged into that from a good place in the colour transition.

The Peeps, you saw yesterday.  (I really tried to make progress on them last night, but kept nodding off on the sofa even though it wasn't quite 7pm yet.  On the mend: does not equal all the way better.)

That's just... a lot of socks, isn't it.  And yet I cast on some more because I think you guys are right, I really do need to have some for the trip even though I will have next to no time to work on any. 

More on whether these are even viable for travel on another day.  Right now, it's enough that they are past their cuffs and onto straight mindless knitting for whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Instead, the big thing I wanted to say is - and I hope that Trish is looking up from her spot on some sandy beach somewhere, lucky thing - last night while I was desperately pushing the second Peeps sock to the end of its gusset, I suddenly thought something.

Not: socks are boring.

Not: if I have to knit another stitch of sock I'm going to lose my mind.

and definitely Not: I hate sock knitting.

but I did think:

h'mmmm... kind of getting Trish's point about socks.

I was one decrease short of the end of the gusset at the time and that part does constitute a bit of a strain.  I'm sure I'll forget about it once they're both onto their feet.  Or, you know, when I switch over to two sport-weight gussets knit entirely in black because omigosh those second Circus socks: such a good idea... not.

Well, anyhoo.  Thought I'd flag it because maybe it's a sign I should knit something other than socks for ten minutes.  You think?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Easter sock progress and other happinesses

While I was out of town last week I made some serious leg progress in on my Spring! Ahead! socks, and when I was finally recovered enough from my stupid cold to be able to knit, I got them up to the gussets:

Maybe it's the virus talking but there is something super surreal about these colours together.  I mean, the yellow and the purple, those are totally Peeps.  I'm guessing a lot of people reading this will know a lot more about Peeps than I do, because I have consumed exactly one Peeps chick in my life, and then only when some American friends insisted I would not truly live till I did (they do sell in Canada now but at the time they were an entirely foreign colour-sugar-coated marshmallow concept to me).  Am I crazy to think they lend themselves to creepy storytelling?  It can't be a coincidence, the number of people who film Peeps In Microwave and post the video on YouTube.

Anyway, after three days stuck in bed reading, including two books about cells and viruses and the search for the first antibiotics - which, incidentally, is not subject matter I recommend for passing the time while stuck in bed with a wicked cold - I really thought I'd go berserko so I asked Pete to pick up a movie for me and dragged myself to the sofa to watch it.  How much do I love that he didn't even get the text I sent him after he'd set off in which I begged for Frankenweenie, but bought it anyway?

A lot.  These socks and this movie: match made in heaven, especially since the movie is so very much without colour.


As a complete aside: super disappointed not to have tracked down any content on how the puppets' costumes were made. Edgar E. Gore, the hunchback boy, wears the draggiest reverse-knit stripey sweater with ragged edges, and I am smitten.  With the sweater.  (definitely not with his dental work.)

Notice anything at all interesting - by which I mean, unusual - about the pictures in this post?  Like, that they weren't taken on my peeling grey porch?

Two reasons for that:

a/ I haven't been well enough to set foot out of the house

b/ I have A NEW CAMERA!

ringa ding ding!  It's another Canon, because I've had such good luck with those, but a bit further up the feature scale: an SX260 HS.

Yes, it weighs four full ounces more than my old one, and Yes, I am going to really regret that it Italy, but oooomigosh, I can take pictures inside the house now. 

Also I'll never lose it because the store, which had it on sale, was out of black.  Leaving me with 'red'.  (apparently 'red' is what they're calling 'hot pink' these days.)

In other news, thank you enormously for your feedback about what I should do about Hugs while I'm away.  I will take your advice, and be grateful for it, because having lost nearly a week to gallons of water and box upon box of tissue, I am probably going to be too swamped to write that many posts ahead of time anyway.  Also, as it's about 17 years since the last time I took off like this, the problem shouldn't come up again for quite some time.

And that's me done till tomorrow - see you then, and take care of yourselves!  There's a nasty bug going around and take it from me, you do not want to get it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The five-minute soup sweater

Today - icy cold and snowing outside, me still sick inside - is the perfect day to tell you a 'How To Keep Hot Soup Hot' story.  Ready?

A couple of weeks ago I was packing a lunch with about 20 minutes to go till I had to leave the house.  I'd bought a mini carton of milk and I was heating soup, and it was when I went to the freezer for a little ice pack to keep the milk cold that I realized I had a very big problem.

Even though the soup was going into an insulated bottle from Kleen Kanteen (no plastic touches the soup, no flavour is retained, no way would I ever give these things up now that I've found them), could it really stay warm with an ice pack pressed up against the outside of it?  And if it didn't, how disgusting was cold tomato soup going to taste when you were anticipating hot?  And more importantly, did I want to find out?

This is where being a crafty person with questionable priorities comes in handy.


1/ about 10 free minutes

2/ two felted sweaters that survived the latest basement purge just a few days before, because they had 'Easter colours' and Easter was coming up

3/ two shades of lengthy sock yarn scraps still sitting on the kitchen counter from the emergency cast-on I'd done for socks also a few days before when facing an empty bag of travel knitting

4/ a darning needle in a location I actually remembered, and the same for sewing scissors

I was cursing myself for that felted sweater purge as I ran down the stairs to the basement, but actually it was lucky because I might not have remembered exactly where I was storing those things if I hadn't just seen them.  I grabbed the one on top - luckily, both had felted in to a thick but pliable fabric - and raced back up to kind of fit it over the bottle for a sense of size.  Then I cut out a rectangle, freehand, using the stripey design of the fabric as a guide.

Would you believe, it turned out to be exactly 12.5" wide by 5" tall?  This is for the 12-oz bottle, by the way - there are larger sizes, and one smaller.

Then I decided on how much overlap I needed and got stitching, having chosen the dark green yarn that matched a stripe in the sweater.

Even rushed, I still go for the matchy.

As you can see, I was not fussy about the way the stitching or finishing looks on the wrong side.  The clock was ticking! (and it wouldn't have mattered if it wasn't because I've learned that graceful stitching is not my forte even given all the time in the world.)

Fit like a charm.

And it worked like one, too!

Now if only I hadn't gotten rid of all that felted wool, because how great is that for a unisex gift idea, pairing a soup bottle with its own five-minute sweater? Or less, even, if you did them by assembly line and used a sewing machine for prettier finishing.

h'mmmm.... maybe I need to go thrift shopping again, and restock...

(or just get back into bed with more very hot tea.)

Have a terrific weekend everybody and I'll see you Monday!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I'd rather be knitting

Yesterday I passed by a window overlooking partially wet pavement and thought, with some longing: what perfect weather for knitting a scrumptious cashmere something or other.

Instead I got back into bed to drink more tea and empty another box of tissue.  Yep: once again, I have managed not to make it through a winter without getting a wicked cold.  I really thought I'd pull it off this time, too!

Fortunately I have a full supply of teas and honey, including a very special honey from bees my chiropractor keeps out in the country.  Although I understand there's no proof of honey helping with sore throats or colds, I swear that stuff is magical (as well as delicious.)

Tool Time

I also have rather a lot of knitting needles and crochet hooks on my desk, accumulating with each mail delivery as I ponder what crafty things to do while I am away from home next month, and order all sorts of the tools I might need to perform them.

Looking at my little stack of 5" long KnitPicks harmony wood double pointed needles, and the Addi Sock Rockets, and the hefty Addi bamboo crochet hooks, and having just been on a little holiday already as a sort of test run, I'm almost - almost, mind you - thinking I might not do any.

Is that possible do you think?  rather a lot more than two days without knitting or even thinking yarn?

The thing about knitting is that while I don't have to look down to do much of it, I do have to sometimes, and am I not going to want to be looking up all the time, even if it's out of bus windows, while in Italy?  In cafes drinking espresso, will I not prefer to keep my mind on the fountains across from my table?  In the Vatican - and I'll be there three days straight - will I be allowed to bring needles anyway?

I'm leaning toward packing something very portable just in case, and not beating myself up if I end up not working on it.

Packing Light, Sock Edition

Meanwhile, I'm also accepting that I probably won't want to take all - or in fact any - of the handknit socks I had earmarked for the trip.  It's going to be pretty warm when I'm in both Florence and Rome and the various stops in between, and everything I have is wool because even though I had this great idea to buy bamboo-based sock yarns last fall to knit up for spring, I seem not to have done that.  Bit late now: by the time I recover from this cold, I'll have about two weeks to knit socks, and based on past experience that should result in most of one pair.

I am pretty sure that having even a whole pair of handknit socks to wear for nearly two weeks would be more heartbreaking than not knitting for the same amount of time.

And a brief break for YAY

Less heartbreaking: it seems I'm going to get to see Pompeii on this trip.  I am pretty darned excited about that. 

Quiz Time

While stuck in bed I'm also pondering with increased energy what to do about Hugs while I'm gone.  For about three weeks I will either not have internet (or indeed computer) access or I will be too busy or too exhausted to publish anything here.

Which would you prefer, assuming this concerns you?

Door Number One: pre-written posts popping up every weekday

Door Number Two: a "gone fishing" sign for the duration

Nap Time

Okay, now that I've pushed some of that decision-thinking off to you, I'm heading back to my blankies and boxes of tissue.

Have a good day yourself, and try not to pick up anything nasty!  Which of course leaves you wide open for picking up knitting.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kitchener stitch in a car

Spontaneous car trip time: late last week I got invited out of town for a couple of days in this one, which translated instantly in my mind to "ten hours of knitting!!" because lately I've been lucky to get one hour, in a whole day.  That's no way to get socks finished, am I right?

(Trish is nodding yes, and adding mentally that there IS no way to get socks finished under any circumstances.  But she is right to say that because she is able to finish countless sweaters while I have two nearly-done ones pining away in storage.  Life lesson #43: everybody has their own truth.)

Luckily, I had unexpected down time just before this invitation, and did manage to finish my Joyous socks.  Aren't they pretty?  Except they needed their ends run in and the toes closed.

I know some people think nothing of doing a Kitchener stitch wherever they happen to be when the need arises.  These are also people, apparently, who think to bring a darning needle and scissors in their bag so as to be in a position to do so.

Personally, I've never been comfortable enough with Kitchener to be able to do it without having set aside quiet time in a tidy space so I can concentrate completely on the instructions I wrote up for myself lo these many moons ago.  But over the past few months I've done so much Kitchener I almost don't have to think.  So for this trip, I decided to try Kitchener in the car.

So far so good: I remembered the darning needle.

La la la, toe number one.

Tra la la la, toe number two! (SO close to getting two entirely red toes... oh well.)

HA.  Take that, time constraints.  (and no, I haven't run in the ends.  Aren't grafted toes good enough??)

And now I bid you good luck in tucking a stealth holiday into your day.  Now that mine is done, I have rather a lot of catchup, and laundry, so I'd best get to it.  See you tomorrow!