I like to knit socks

I carry socks everywhere, the idea being that if I have them with me I’ll be able to whip them out and work on them in found moments when I’m out of the house. No matter that those found moments are so few and far between that it takes me 3.5 months to finish a pair of socks I could have made in a week back when I commuted by subway.

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Just trying to make a picture of socks remotely interesting.

They were ostensibly socks for Hubs for Christmas, but they didn’t make it and I wasn’t really trying. I sourced a finished pair from my box ‘o finished socks for the holiday and threw these into the same for next year.

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Gifted socks in Regia Pairfect. I have made 5 pairs of socks with Regia Pairfect. It’s sort of a thing with me.

Hubs wears the socks I make him, even the traffic cone orange ones. But only on weekends, he informs me.

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A less interesting supersaturated picture of socks.

Those socks, the glaringly bright orange ones, our neighbor was laughing at them one day when Hubs was wearing them with shorts. “I made those socks!” I proclaimed. It felt silly and intimate and very us.

Everything New is Old Again

After putting Leaves of Grass in time out I picked up a swatch I’d made last fall for a sweater I just can’t make a decision on which got me to looking for my size 8 needle. I found it in my knitting basket along with a partially completed Lottie cardigan that was holding it hostage. I subscribe to the philosophy that if you’re going to make something for a new baby it’s best, if possible and reasonable, to also give a gift to the older sibling(s). I’d started this project more than a year ago as a big-sister companion gift for a new-baby sweater and left this, the larger, to languish when I decided two handknit gifts was possible but not altogether reasonable. OK, then, I thought. I guess I’ll go ahead and finish that up.

And I did! The knitting went along fine without incident, but… there always seems to be a but. Things are just not going my way lately in a death-by-a-thousand cuts sort of way. When I soaked this little sweater to wet block it it grew to gigantic proportions. With dismay I remembered that this had happened before with this pattern and Cascade 220. I threw it into the dryer which restored it to its original child-sized proportions, but fuzzed it up. It emerged looking hard worn without ever having been worn at all.

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Pattern: Lottie Cardigan
Size: 4T
Yarn: Cascade 200 Superwash

Not without it charm, but not gift-worthy. We don’t need another sweater that my child will deny and ignore, yet into her sweater drawer it goes to be denied and ignored. If it doesn’t have Minnie Mouse on it it doesn’t rate. Wait, do they make Minnie Mouse buttons? Of course they do! Silly me. But will that be enough? Worth a shot.

How a Shawl Became a Blanket

Who needs gauge? Not this girl. That’s the short story about how this shawl became a blanket. Or would be if I had enough yarn to finish it.

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The long story involves the purchase of 5 skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Loft while on vacation, the realization those 5 skeins would never make it, the procurement of 2 additional skeins that surely would, and the one last skein that is still needed when they didn’t. I ran out with 18 edge chart repeats to go. It wasn’t even close.

If you’re going to play it fast and loose you gotta suffer the repercussions.

I was probably never going to wear this in public, anyways, she said petulantly. If I ever finish the dang thing.

Christmas Cacti

Well, who wouldn’t want to find a handmade felt cactus under their Christmas tree?!

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Pattern: DIY Felt Cactus FREE Pattern and Tutorial by Sewing 4 Free
Materials: Felt. Yarn. Cardboard. Embroidery floss. 3″ pots.

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Most everyone, probably, but this trio of frivolous flora was sent off to family members who will hopefully appreciate their whimsy.

Size is difficult to judge from the photos: these are not dainty things. They’re about 8 inches tall. If you click through the pattern link you’ll see that I used the Sewing 4 Free pattern as a jumping off point, mostly for the pattern templates so I wouldn’t have to draft my own. I wasn’t sure where to get felt poms, nor did I care to bother with glue, hot or otherwise. My cacti are plumper (I turned them inside out after sewing) and plainer than their inspirations, but I think that makes them more versatile. You can wear them at home or in the office! Dress them up or dress them down for any occasion!

Since I wasn’t bothering with the felt poms I had to figure out something else for soil and support. A seed stitch swatch that I sewed the cacti to did just fine gathered over a cardboard circle. Better than I expected, even. I had been brainstorming how to add washers to the cacti’s undersides for weight, but such engineering turned out to be completely unnecessary. Stuff these in their pots and you’re good to go.

I have a lot of leftover felt. A cursory pinterest search reveals many cute ideas for felt ornaments and critters and flowers. Hmmmm. Maybe next year. Or maybe not. In the meantime I’ll be irritated with myself that I overbought the stuff (it’s a pain to procure as we live far from any store that sells craft supplies and I overcompensated) and resent its presence in my home while also being unwilling to part with it because it might come in handy someday. You know the drill.

Fake Merry Til You Make Merry

My friend told me that I have the most holiday cheer of anybody he knows. It was meant as a compliment (or good-natured teasing), but it made me feel misunderstood. Once October hits I get very busy. This is intentional. I do the things and I buy the things and I make the things. But to me it doesn’t feel like cheer. It feels like desperation. Not desperation to make all the things or do all the things or have a perfect holiday. It’s a coping mechanism. I keep busy while I feel like I’m heading towards a cliff I can’t see. I worry that I’ll careen off that cliff and I have to do as many things as I can before that happens. My avoidance masquerades as excitement. I let myself get lost in the trappings so I don’t have time to think about the spirit.

The confusion this creates is understandable. Look, for example, at the Christmas outfit I made this year. I’ve already talked lots about my new Christmas sweater, but I haven’t mentioned my new skirt.

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Pattern: Everyday Skirt by Oliver + S
Size: Medium
Fabric: Moda, Berry Merry, Reindeer Games Cream
Mods: No pockets! I rather miss the, but didn’t want to spend the time or fabric.

If I was going to make a sweater-babe-style sweater I needed a skirt to go with it, after all.

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What I actually look like when not posing provocatively.

It’s more a costume than an outfit. You know how faking a smile will improve your mood? This is that in clothing form. But I’ll tell you a secret: there are moments when I wonder if my friend might be right. It may be that I do have a lot of holiday cheer. I tell myself that I’m faking it but maybe it’s that I’m finally letting that cheer assert itself a little. This year maybe there’s room for all the feelings the holiday brings.

A Pi Are Squared

I’ve finished my knitting and gift projects (except for husband’s shirt which is still in time out a month later and might not make it under the tree) and I thought I was going to make a bunch of gnomes because cute! but then I went to tidy the guest room in anticipation of the hoards of marauding children that would storm our house during our holiday open house and as I was tossing things into the closet my eyes crossed the stashed ziplock bag of 5 skeins of Brooklyn Tweed Loft that I bought last summer when we stopped in St. Louis for a few days on our way to Pittsburgh. The stop was scheduled and the yarn stores were scoped out beforehand, but the trip to the car mechanic for brake work was not which threw a literal and metaphorical wrench into our plans. Happily, the mechanic shop turned out to be within walking distance of a donut shop and Knitorious. I managed to spill an entire large cup of steaming hot coffee straight into my purse at the donut shop and the walk to the yarn store wouldn’t have been an an easy one with two small kids in tow even without heading in entirely the wrong direction at first but we persevered and dammit if I wasn’t leaving that yarn store without some reward. 5 skeins of Loft, an awesome hat kit, and a margarita with lunch helped a bunch.

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I bought these skeins to make Leaves of Grass and it’s just the thing I want to be working on as we ramp up to the holiday high times. It’s nubbly, warm, and comforting.

Our car troubles weren’t over, but that’s enough about our most recent Griswold family vacation.

Agnother Gnome

Just a quick post for a quick project. Another gnome knit over a couple evenings who found his way to a new home in the form of a hostess gift.

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Pattern: Never Not Gnoming
Size: Gnatasha
Yarn: Bibs and bobs of leftovers

These gnomes are great for when I’m between passion projects, by which I mean  pointedly ignoring a project I’m having trouble with while also casually forgetting all my languishing unfinished projects. My plan is to make one here or there over the course of the year, but I often forget the plans I make so we’ll see.