Sunday, November 23, 2014

A Knitting Summary

School is in session. Co-op is crazy busy. Thus is my reason for being as limited as I have been on my blogging efforts. I don't like it one bit. I keep a notebook of ideas for my blog. It is bursting with them, but none of them have come to fruition. This must change. I've been agonizing over how to change this pattern for awhile now. There's nothing like trying to overcome inertia. You know, that whole body at rest idea really is true. Literally a month has gone by (at least) where I've hemmed and hawed about where to take my blog. I've come down to this- knitting.

Knitting is where my brain relaxes and my tension eases. While knitting, I approach a Zen-like state. My body and my mind zero in to a focus of the fabric held between my fingers, and I relax. Problems recede and anxieties flee. That is part of my problem. Knitting has been scarce for me of late. That is changing, however.

Currently I'm working on Christmas knitting, which is the best knitting of all (unless it's being hurriedly finished on the 24th of December, that is!). It's the gift of time, the gift of love, and the gift of comfort for those I know, and even for those I don't know. To that end, here are a few of the gifts I have knitted this fall...

A gift for someone I don't know.
The first project I completed recently is Susie Rogers' Reading Mitts. This is a free pattern that is super fun to knit. I would consider it a simple pattern. The most challenging bit about it is the turned picot hem. Rather than sewing it after the fact, I simply knit it as I went along for the cast-on edge. Rather than get into the long details about how to accomplish this in lieu of sewing, I found a YouTube video that has nice detailing. If you're interested in this technique, check it out!

These mitts were knit in an easy care yarn, Berroco Vintage DK. The yarn is soft, wears well, and is machine washable. In short, it's the perfect yarn for a gift, especially when you don't know who will be receiving it. These mitts will be given away to one of the wonderful employees of Tom Bihn, a company who crafts excellent travel luggage and knitting bags. Tom Bihn has done much for me in my life to keep me organized and sane, not an especially easy job when that individual is a homeschooling mom of three teenagers. This is just a small way that I can say thanks for what they do. If you've never checked out their site, I strongly recommend you do. It is a made in the U.S.A. with attention to quality and concern for the world that I love.

After completing that project, I immediately launched into a super secret knit that is for one of my own household. I wish I could show photos, but I know this kid. He will be checking out my blog as soon as he's up, so it must remain a secret for the moment, but I'm almost done with it, and after Christmas comes, I'll post photos. Truly!

Next on my Christmas list, however, is a pair of slippers for my nephew in Colorado. My sister called recently and told me her son had absconded with her own pair of handknit slippers. When she got them back, he informed her that he wanted a pair of his own. Hers, I thought, were a touch too feminine for him, so I searched for a more masculine pattern and came across a fabulous one... Yuko Nakamura's Non-Felted Slippers pattern was just the ticket. Like the above Reading Mitts pattern, Yuko's is also free, but it only comes in one size, a lady's medium. My robust nephew sports a size 12 foot, so a little math was in order to convert the pattern, and according to my own son, who also sports a size 12 foot, these will fit him just fine!

They are knit flat and seamed along the bottom of the foot at the end. I knit them over a span of two days. As they are knit with bulky yarn, the pattern works up very quickly.
Biggo Yarn was the perfect choice!
I chose Knit Picks' yarn, Biggo, in Sapphire Heather and Cobblestone Heather for the project. I'm hoping it will hold up well. It's my first time using this yarn, which is a superwash blend of merino wool and nylon. Of course, time will tell, and the kid is only 12, so we shall see. I suspect as long as he's not shooting hoops out on the concrete while wearing them, they'll hold up well enough. I'll be knitting another pair before Christmas comes, so we will field test them here as well.

Here's the start of the pattern. It looks like a slipper (not)!
Because they are knitted flat, I took some photos. It's through the clever use of increases, decreases, and short rows that the slipper takes shape, and I wanted to capture its different stages of creation.
Through short-rows the slipper shape gradually appears. I'm afraid right now it looks more like a cod piece!
Almost done except for the cuff...
Finis! It looks better worn. I promise!
I have more projects lined up. Gaskell is begging to be knit, but it's for me, so it will have to wait. I have work that needs to be done, including finishing up Frankenstein, the next novel we are covering in my Brit Lit class. Decorating is demanding my attention. The kids are wanting lots of lovelies baked for the holidays. Last year's surgery at Thanksgiving and flu at Christmas pretty much decimated any chance of that happening, so this year I am charged to make it up. In short, life keeps happening. I'll try my best to keep documenting it. In the meantime, have a blessed Thanksgiving!
Sunrise on the Atlantic