My grandniece Elly suffered a medical misadventure a couple of weeks ago that landed her in the ER with a badly cut and mangled finger. Wouldn’t you know it, not only was it badly cut, but the bone was also broken. The next morning she was taken into surgery for the repair and ended up with a purple cast. Sad, sad day.
The cast comes off in about a week, and I decided to make her some little purple fingerless mitts to wear as a little padding for that hand. She is into owls in a big way, so of course the mitts had to feature knitted owls.
These were a fast knit. I cast on 28 stitches and got started Friday and finished today. I used a bulky single ply yarn from Crystal Palace and size 7 and 9 needles. They go into the mail Monday, and I hope that she will like them. 🙂
Morning update. I texted Elly’s mom this morning to let her know about the finished mitts and the blog posting. She likes them!
“Now, let us all take a deep breath and forge on into the future; knitting at the ready.” – Elizabeth Zimmerman, The Opinionated Knitter
The last four weeks have been terribly hectic for me. I’ve been fighting a chronic condition for some time now, and in May it decided to get ugly. My wonderful doctor ordered a huge battery of tests, and wouldn’t you know it, I tested positive for an autoimmune condition. “Good to be diagnosed, but also a shame,” my doctor tells me. Things have been busy for me as I’ve completed batteries of additional tests, visited new doctors, driven to new clinics, and started new medications. Huh. It’s like I’m starting a whole new life.
How best to respond to a body blow like this? Obviously the thing to do is to stay calm and knit! I have knitted though all the crisis of my life. I knitted a new sweater the week that my mom died, made a pair of socks while sitting in the ICU with an ill son, and created an afghan while recovering from surgery. Stranded in an airport for two days? No problem, I have knitting! Knitting can sooth and center me in a way few other things can. I feel calm, hopeful and pleased to be creating something of beauty and purpose during the process. Cheapest therapy around!
So, I made a pair of socks for my sister’s birthday present the week I was diagnosed. I then started a big project for one of my friends (a cushy vest that she can wear to Colorado Avalanche hockey games), and bought the yarn to make little purple mitts with owls on them for my grand-niece who just had hand surgery to repair a badly mangled finger. Still, I needed more. I needed to make… a cat!!
My cousin loves all things cat. We saw this meme that has been making it’s way around Facebook that shows a box of kittens with the “Crazy Cat Lady Starter Kit” stenciled on the side. Of course she asked for a starter kit of her own. Of course I started looking for a cute pattern to knit a cat. This pattern by Kath Delmeny fit the bill.
Here it is. Cutest cat ever! I finished it today (on her birthday) and I couldn’t help posing it all over the yard. I’m so pleased with how spunky it is, and can’t help but imagine that it will be a little rascal that gets up to no good once it’s at her house.
Why do I knit? Because it makes me feel wonderful!
That’s the best medicine ever.
“Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.” — Elizabeth Zimmerman
Every year, as soon as my taxes are filed, I head to the nearest yarn shop. I mean, how else am I going to recover from “I have to pay HOW much money this year?!” It’s kind of a ritual now. I buy yarn and needles that I don’t even have a project for; the whole point of the outing is get some joy and to feed the stash. That way I drive home happy, excited and looking forward to some productive knitting. Taxes, what taxes? 🙂
That’s how I ended up with this yarn (Noro Taiyo Sock Yarn). It’s kind of a happy yarn, don’t you think? I thought that it would make up into something fun for my sister. These are more her colors than mine, and I had plans to make her a little shawl in time for her birthday.
Well, all I can say is that the stash ate this yarn. I put it into the drawer with the other sock yarns, and I never thought about it again. Then, out of the blue, I saw a pattern for socks (Water for the Elephants by Rose Hiver) that I just loved, I dug in the stash for some crazy yarn and pulled this out. Sorry Sis. This yarn is meant to be patterned socks with elephant details. Who knew?
The reason why this yarn seems a little crazy is, no matter how I try to visualize what the final knitted piece will look like, I get surprised. I looked at the end of the skein, and I was pretty sure that I was looking at orange, green and some golden tan. The sequence looked promising, so I cast on.
Well, the socks turned out great. I just love the little elephants in the Turkish pattern. They fit perfectly, and I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. Except… they don’t really match all that much. They kind of complement each other, so that is just the way it is going to be. Knitting, the great adventure. I wonder what this pattern will look like in fingerless mitts? I think that I will put the little elephants onto the palms…
OK, this was hell week. I took these cute, cute, cute lace socks out of their storage bag and decided that I would finish them up this week. The needles in the sock are a set of my new square double-pointed ones, and I really kind of wanted them back. I had the first sock worked all the way through the heel, and it seemed like it wouldn’t take that long to get them done.
These socks are the Twisted Flower pattern in Cookie A’s book knit.sock.love. I loved the socks as soon as I saw them in the book. The pattern is really interesting, and the design is cleverly laid out to make the pattern flow onto the heel and down the foot. The chart and directions are extremely clear. Fun! I couldn’t wait to get started on these socks again.
Oh, boy. It wasn’t long before I remembered why these socks went UFO in the first place. The problem was the yarn. I had bought this hand-dyed Bluefaced Leicester yarn at a local shop as I thought that the color was really nice. Once I got into the pattern, however, it displayed some truly unsavory yarn qualities. It was a 4-ply fingering weight yarn, and should have been round enough to show off the pattern well. Well, the yarn was round, but something ugly had occurred in the dyeing process (I think) and it had the sullen personality of garden twine. There was absolutely no bounce in this yarn at all! It was stiff and slippery; at every opportunity a stitch slipped off a needle and unraveled down three rows in the blink of an eye. The individual plies of the yarn kept springing apart from one another and I kept splitting the yarn with my needle.
Then there was the beautiful pattern designed by Cookie A. This pattern involves lace on every knitted row, cables, twisted stitches and a partridge in a pear tree. You need to read the chart forwards and backwards while manipulating the (slippery) little stitches. There was no way I could watch television while knitting; every bit of my attention needed to be focused on the chart and the sock. Normally this isn’t an issue as this type of knitting has a zen-Iike meditative quality, but things weren’t working out for me with the demon yarn. I had to use five double-pointed needles and a cable needle while working; I tried four different cable needles trying to find one that wouldn’t slip out. Yeah, right. The cable needle that I needed doesn’t exist. I began to pull on my hair and refer to socks as THE HELL SOCKS. More than once they came very close to entering orbit and becoming true UFOs!
Beautiful socks. Wrong yarn. I’m thinking now that I should have washed this yarn before using it to help it recover some of its life before I started knitting. Oh well, lesson learned.
Tomorrow I am washing these socks to see what will happen. They are beautiful, but I am never putting these babies into shoes. They will grace my feet with their beautiful lace on cold nights while I am reading and remind me that art never shows how long it took, only how good a job you did.
For the second week of rescue knitting I picked up a shawl that I had started last fall. It fell to the wayside when the weather got colder and I started working on Christmas presents and socks for the winter. Ignored and forgotten (and wearing some of my favorite stitch markers!) it ended up getting stuffed into the back of the yarn stash closet.
Poor thing! Hard to remember why it was abandoned in the first place. It’s kind of a cool pattern, the lace was pretty easy to learn once I was past the edging, and I like that hand-painted pink yarn (Malabrigo Arroyo). I only had about a foot of the shawl knitted, so this was a little bigger project than the ones I did last week, but still not too bad. I thought I should be able to make a lot of progress on it in a week.
I took the shawl out to work on in the garden, and there it was. One of my new roses was blooming, and the color was close to that of the shawl. The name of the rose is “Princess Alexandra of Kent”, and the colorway of the shawl yarn is “English rose”. Wow! Synchronicity! Obviously this UFO was meant to be rescued at exactly this moment.
I named the shawl project “Princess Alexandra of Kent Shawl” on Ravelry and got to work. I knit like crazy all week, and the shawl was finished today. Time to prune the rose and to dive back into the UFO pile to find a project for the rest of the week. I think that I’ll do a sock next…
Monday I waded into the pile of UFOs that I had located in my big hunt last week, and pulled out two projects that I thought I could finish fairly quickly. I’ll be honest: I was motivated by needle recovery more than anything else. These two items are pretty easy to knit, so I thought I would be able to work on them while watching television. Here they are.
I really liked this yarn when bought it. It’s a single ply yarn that is soft, soft, soft. I liked it so much that I bought two skeins and cast on to make a pair of mitts right away.
The mitts did not show off the yarn very well. I knitted one mitt thinking that maybe the next one would look better. Nope. Not so much. I lost heart and quit about halfway through the second mitt.
Well, enough is enough! Time to face the UFO pile down! I made myself a nice caramel latte, put some cookies on a plate by the latte mug and then pulled the mitts out of the storage bag. There, that wasn’t so bad. I finished knitting the second mitt while reading (so it wouldn’t be too painful), and then took them out for their picture. Funny, I was wearing a pink top and some moss green pants, and the mitts actually looked kind of nice. I’m thinking of maybe keeping the second skein of yarn and might make a cowl from it. It sure is soft yarn…
Bronco Baby Booties
I started these booties using yarn dyed by Luna Grey Fiber Arts in Denver Bronco football colors a few weeks ago, and then put them aside while knitting some fun socks for myself. The trouble is that the booties use the same size double-pointed needle (2.25 mm) as most of my socks. Since I just finished those origami socks (June Beetle), I decided to complete the booties while the needles were free. These are square needles, and I just love them as my hands never get tired and the stitches come out looking really even.
I kind of like knitting these booties as they remind me of my grandma, and I got them done this morning while it was raining outside. Yeah! Two UFOs moved to the finished objects pile.
Only 14 more UFOs to go…
If anyone else has been inspired to attack their UFO collection, let me know what you are working on. This is kind of fun. 🙂
It seems like all of my stitch markers have gone missing, and there are several empty knitting needle holders in my needle drawer. This is the point where I have been known to go out and buy more needles, but today I decided to take my courage in hand and to go on an UFO hunt.
UFOs are, as every knitter knows, UnFinished Objects. Those knitted works in progress that fell out of favor one day and were pushed to the bottom of the knitting basket or the back of the stash cabinet. Basically, they are kind of unloved and abandoned. It happens for a lot of reasons: the knitted fabric wasn’t what was hoped for, the color was icky, the fit seemed unflattering, a difficult pattern caused headaches, a disheartening knitting error, and so on.
Well, I tore the craft room and the stash closet apart and recovered all of those UFOs. Wow! This is what I got:
1 baby bootie
1 lacy wrist cuff
Good grief! Sixteen UFOs! No wonder I don’t have any more stitch markers in my knitting bag. I organized the UFOs into groups and made some decisions.
The biggest UFO of all was this Alice Starmore cardigan/coat that I have had packed away for over 15 years. I think that the Hunter Green color went out of fashion and I quit working on it. What was I thinking of?
This definitely needs to be finished; I was doing the decreases at the neckline when I packed it away! The steeks at the armholes look almost large enough for the sleeves. I don’t even know where the pattern is at anymore, but I must have it somewhere. Another hunt! 🙂 I packed the sweater away again to save for the winter and cold weather knitting. In a perfect world I’ll have it done before the end of the year.
Today I started on the ugly mitts as I want to get those needles back. If I just do one UFO every week or two I should have most of my needles and stitch markers back by the end of summer. It’s a plan!