Bam! and Neon Socks.

I am on my mission to finish started projects.  Yesterday I finished this:

bam1

These are the “Fightin’ Words” fingerless gloves.  I never blogged about starting them, but I specifically remember starting them when we went on a trip to Crested Butte back when we lived in Colorado.  I began them in mid-August 2012.  Now nearly four years later, the first mitt is complete.

I did immediately cast on the second mitt though, and I am determined to finish it before I do anything else.

pow-start

I bought a kit to make these mitts from Knit Picks.  I am pretty sure that the yarn I am using is Knit Picks Stroll Fingering weight.  It’s a nice soft superwash wool and nylon blend.  I like it lots.

Davey took one look at the finished mitt and decided he wants them.  The second mitt will say “Pow”!

bam-2

I also finished my NEON socks.  I used Plymouth Neon Now which I bought at my awesome local yarn store.

These were fun to knit.  I love self-striping yarn, and I always enjoy this simple sock pattern from Susan B. Anderson.

neon-socks-1

Now back to the POW mitt!

Socks, a hat and an almost mitten

I am on a mission this year.  I want to finish some projects.  I don’t even want to count how many unfinished projects I have going (some back to 2010).  So I am not going to.  Instead, I am going to start finishing some of them.

Yesterday I finished my Slouched Tuva Hat.  I made it with Pacifica Zephyr DK Yarn.  I got the skein of yarn when I made a small contribution to their kickstarter campaign (It may have not been kickstarter, but it was one of those crowd funding groups.).  The yarn is 50% cotton and 50% wool.  It looks like a rustic wool, but doesn’t feel quite as rustic with the cotton.  I liked knitting with it.  Davey modeled for me so I could show the stitch pattern.  Really easy to do, and I like how it looks.

hat-Davey-piano

It doesn’t quite slouch on my head the way that I hoped it would.  This could be because I messed up somewhere when I was decreasing?  Maybe I should have made it a little longer given my large noggin?  Not sure, but I will definitely wear it anyway.

hat-me

I am also working on number two of a pair of socks.  I actually got started on the second one almost immediately after finishing the first.  The yarn is self-striping, and kinda looks like Seahawks colors I think.

I tried to get Davey to help me model this as well.  The sock was enormous on his foot though.

silly-sock-model

I tried a foot selfie:

sock-on-my-foot

I am knitting the sock with the “How I Make My Own Socks Pattern” from Susan B. Anderson.  I have done several pairs with it.  It’s a very basic sock pattern and perfect for self-striping yarn.

I’m working on the second one today while I rediscover knitting podcasts.  We are having a quiet day after a busy yesterday on Whidbey Island at a taekwando tournament.  It’s gray here and was actually snowing for quite awhile.  I’m watching Susan B. Anderson who mentioned CraftStash, so I listened to her for awhile as well.  It’s such a fun way to learn about new yarn, projects, books, and all types of things.

sock-2I am trying to get this sock done so I can get back to my gnome mittens.  It’s rather sad that I put down this mitten with just the tip of the thumb left to complete.  I don’t quite understand it.  Maybe it’s because I was faced with having to start the second mitten.  I do like these very cute gnomes however.

mitten-almost-done

Happy Sunday!

 

The Gnome is Home

A couple of months ago, I decided I wanted to knit a good friend of mine something for him and his second grade class.  I decided to make him a jumbo gnome – a pattern from my old favorite mochimochiland.

I made Mr. Gnome with two strands of Plymouth Encore worsted weight.  Stuffed animals and little gnomes can be fiddly with the double pointed needles, but since he was so large, it was much like casting on for a pair of socks.  The color work is a nice touch and was great fun to do as well.   I loved the Encore; it was a good choice of yarn.  Holding it double was not any trouble except it was a little unwieldy during the color work.  Not too bad though. He was really a lot of fun to knit.

I got him all finished, and then at the beginning of February we told him goodbye.  Davey really wanted to keep him for his very own.

IMG_1128After some goodbyes, he agreed to part with him, and so we mailed him off.  Well turns out, I mailed it to an address where my friend has not lived in SIX years.  You’d think I’d know that my good friend had moved wouldn’t you.  Maybe I did know at some point but forgot?  I myself have moved about four times in the last six years so I have enough trouble remembering my own address!

So the gnome never arrived.  Unfortunately, I’d also lost my tracking slip.  My postal carrier told me that if the recipient put “Return to Sender” on the package that it should get back to me in a week or so.  I had high hopes, but it didn’t come back!  We had about given up, and I’d even started knitting a second one when finally last week, a month later, it came back!  We were thrilled!

IMG_1113He’s truly been a traveling gnome.  I mailed him back – to the correct address this time, and he has arrived safely.

IMG_1125

Either/Or

I have had the most fun learning to knit these modular sideways hand warmers.  The pattern, called Either/Or, is a great one.  It’s by Lee Meredith, and she includes instructions for making short fingerless gloves, long fingerless gloves and mittens.   The pattern is very thorough.  There is a little bit of calculating in order to keep track of the stitches cast on for when you knit the second glove.  This is where I went wrong.

either1

First, I think these gloves are so pretty.  I started knitting in the round with the thumb.  You have to do lots of increasing, and this was kind of funny to me to try to keep up with.

stitchmarkers

I didn’t have enough colors so I had to use some yarn markers as well (blue and pink).  The markers indicated where I was doing the increases.  All the markers overwhelmed me a little at first, but then I realized it was no big thing.

Once I increased to a certain point, I put part of the stitches on markers and then knit the top.  When I was done with the top, I came back to the stitches on the bottom and knitted the bottom.  Although – these mitts are so fun.  They fit so that the top can be the bottom or the bottom can be the top.  Either works.

eitheror2

So back to how I went wrong:

I knit the first mitt and then I got distracted by another project.  I left these mitts for a week or so.  When I returned to the second mitt, I somehow didn’t do my calculations correctly, and I ended up with this:

eitheror3

Two different sized mitts.  I am not sure how I did this.  I was disappointed though.  I’d hoped to give these as a gift, but I will have to make some more. Making more is not a bad thing, but I wish I would have knitted them one after the other.  I need to resolve to do better in project finishing.  For example, I was looking around at my projects on ravelry today, and I found a sock that I had made in 2010.  I realized that the second one still needs to be made.

So now having realized my finishing problems, I realize that I’ve got to get back to these gnome mittens.  The first one is almost done.  I don’t want the gnome mittens to become another unfinished statistic.

gnome-mittens

 

Superheroes vs. Aliens

We have discovered the fun of stop motion animation.

Meet our cast of characters: SuperDavey, SuperMama and SuperDaddy.

Superheroes

And then there’s the aliens:

aliens

Here are the first efforts of beginners having a great time with stop motion animation!

The inspiration for our movie came from my efforts to convince Davey whenever he was staging some elaborate battle with his action figures that he should have them hug to resolve their issues.  He always says “Mammmaaaa” and continues his battle.  I have said it so often that I don’t think he hears me anymore!  So when we were thinking about making our movie, I thought we should bring in that same perspective of love not war.  He liked the idea.

The knitting patterns came from Anna Hrachovec of MochiMochi Land. Her patterns are great and fun to knit.  She has written several books and has created many art installations with her knits.  She is also my stop motion inspiration.  She creates beautiful, clever, and fun stop motion videos.  She’s definitely worth checking out!

 

Hats and a Koala

We have been on Christmas break, and I have been getting the chance to do lots of knitting.  It’s been great.

David decided that he needed a new hat.  I have a pattern that I have knitted a bunch of times called Boyfriend Hat.  It’s a great hat.  It’s just a 2 x 3 rib with a fun decrease.  I have probably made it at least ten times.  It had been awhile since I made it though, and I’d forgotten to make it a little longer for David’s large noggin.  So it didn’t quite cover the ears as well as David wanted (it’s darn cold in these parts right now, so I can understand the need for proper ear coverage.  I probably should just make him a balaclava).

It’s an ok hat though – we will wear it.  I made it with Plymouth Gina, and it was nice yarn to knit with.  I liked the colors in the hat as well. I convinced my sweet Davey to model it for me.

Davey-beanie-1

It fits him pretty well.  The variegated yarn is really nice.  I’d happily knit more hats with it.

davey-beanie-2

Since hat number one was not ideal, I began a second hat.  I decided on a Jared Flood pattern that I’d not knit before called Turn A Square.  This is a great hat, and I think it will be my new “go-to” hat pattern.  It’s a lot of fun to knit, and I love how it turned out.  I was able to use the same yarn for this hat for the stripes.  I had some dark gray yarn for the main color, but I have no memory of what that yarn was.  That’s ok though because it was yarn from my stash which is always a good thing.

Jared Flood writes great clear patterns, and I had no trouble following this one.

davey-turn-square-1

I got sweet Davey to model for me again.  He likes to get silly when I take too many pictures.

davey-square-2

These hats both knit up really quickly as well.

So then, I came across the cutest pattern.  It’s a Koala cup cozy.  I had never knitted a cup cozy before, but I couldn’t resist this one.  I made one for a friend, and I liked it so much that I made one for me.

koala-web

I was able to go to my stash for this yarn too.  That’s kind of a perpetual New Year’s Resolution for me:  Knit with the yarn I’ve got!

The hat requires duplicate stitch which is always tricky for me to get to look right. For example, the koala pictured above looks like he is a little more dangerous than cute.  I like him anyway though.  Maybe he is saying, “stay away from my coffee!”

I also had to make pom poms.  I am no pom pom expert, so I worry that they will disintegrate at any time.  Hopefully not.

Alexandra Davidoff designed this pattern, and she’s got another really cute pattern for a panda cup cozy on her website as well.  She actually has several designs that I’d like to knit sometime.

My knitting list of things I want to make is LONG and ever growing.

 

Drop Spindlin’

I am learning to spin!  I was at the fair a few weeks ago, and I was looking at all the fiber related things.  I noticed that there were going to be several types of fiber classes offered throughout the fair.  One of them was learning to use a drop spindle.

I’d tried this once before.  My mom taught me, and I have a neat spindle that my dad made me.  But I didn’t get too great at it, and I didn’t stick with it then.  I decided though that I was ready to try again.

Turns out it is one of my new favorite things to do.  I don’t know why exactly.  It’s very repetitious, but I really like the feel of spinning the spindle and then working the twist into the fiber.  People say that knitting is a meditative soothing kind of activity.  I can see that, but I experience that feeling much more with spinning.

So far, I am a beginner who is not too good at it.  Once I can actually make beautiful fingering weight yarn, I imagine it will be even more relaxing to me.

This is the fiber I bought from a seller named woolgatherings on etsy.

blue-hat-8

I also bought a really neat spindle from another etsy seller named Snyder Spindles  It is pretty and light and spins so nicely.  I love it.

blue-hat-2

My spinning is not great.  There is definite variation in my efforts.  Lots of thick and thin and then those lovely slubs of really thick spots.

blue-hat-4

However, I think the yarn on the right side is a small improvement over the other two hanks, and it is the one I did last.  Slowly but surely I am improving.

I finished spinning, winding, plying, washing and drying it this morning, and I was looking forward to knitting it up.  I had 4 oz of yarn from which I think I made about 150 yards of pretty bulky yarn.

I found a free pattern on ravelry called “Big Chunky Comfy Hat”.  It’s a great simple pattern.  I was able to knit the entire hat this afternoon.

I asked Davey to let me take pictures of him modeling it, but he didn’t want to be the subject of pictures.  Instead, he offered to take the pictures of me in the hat.

Here’s my favorite:

blue-hat-1

It makes me laugh.  He got much better though.

blue-hat-7

He finally got tired of me wanting him to try one more, so he decided to put the hat on after all.

blue-hat-3

It’s just a really simple pattern of p2 knit 1 rib, and then I switched to k2 p1.  The decreases are easy and fun too.  I wanted it to be simple because I like the way the yarn (inconsistent as I was) spun up.

blue-hat-5

I think I underestimated how much yarn I actually spun, so I am pretty sure I have enough for another hat!  When I was a beginning knitter, I made more hats.  I am back to that now as I learn to spin more smoothly.

This drop spindling is a whole lot of fun.  I have some BFL fiber from a local sheep too that I’ve started, and it’s wonderful to spin as well.  I’ll have to write about that soon!