Friday, October 31, 2014


I've overcome my fear of fingers.  I tried to knit a pair of gloves once. The fingers did me in and the gloves ended up unraveled and tucked away for something else. The yarn remains tucked away. Somewhere.

I decided to try again when I saw this pattern. The open top fingers seemed less intimidating, even though the tricky bit is the first row of picked up stitches. Even that turned out to be no big deal; I only needed to watch out for the spaces in between the fingers and making sure I left no gaping hole. Not so very different from working a sock gusset, but with far fewer stitches to deal with.

Pattern:  Frankenfingers by Elizabeth Green Musselman, Dark Matter Knits. The pattern includes several video tutorials for the tricky bits.  Check out her other patterns including those for men and boys. She also does a periodic round up of patterns for men and boys on her blog and puts out a video podcast.

Yarn:  Regia Design Line Kaffe Fassett, a colorful and long-wearing sock yarn. These mitts are for my husband, who gladly wears brightly colored socks and mitts though most of his wardrobe is neutral. The benefits of working out of the house include please-yourself dressing.

Frankenmitts (ravelry project page)


I have mostly fond memories of Halloween--candy, roaming the neighborhood after dark, candy, costumes--but still get the creeps when I think of the rubber witch masks my sister and I had one year along with handmade witch costumes. No one did face paint back then or made sure your costume would be visible to drivers and we were allowed to risk suffocation, blindness, and sweat in the name of fun. I prefer to remember the candy.

 Here's a little treat. Long before there was the Monster Mash, there was: The Skeleton Dance. The Skeletons don't arrive until about the halfway point. Yes, it was a more leisurely world for sure.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Progress Derailed

The socks I nicknamed "Take the A Train," should have been nicknamed Derailed, if not Train Wreck. Or maybe I should call them Goldilocks, because one is too long and the other too short and I am still seeking "just right."

I have analyzed the difficulty I have had with this pattern and the answer is:  the triumph of wishful thinking over the evidence of my senses.  I won't go so far as to say this a life problem, but it surely is a craft problem.

I can't bear to take a picture of these two deformities, so I'm including photo of an autumnal project that did work out.  Thankfully, no one has to wear a flower arrangement.


I worked on one sock to the all but the toe graft point and found it long enough for one foot plus another smaller foot.   I left it be, went back to the other, tore back a few dozen rows and, after what I thought was careful calculation, shortened it by deleting some repeats in the middle of the foot.  I knit along, again to the all but the toe graft point, and this time it barely covered the toe cleavage.  Tore back again to add a few more rows before the toe decreases.

What I have learned (in addition to the wishful thinking bit):  not all sock patterns are suitable for all foot shapes.  I will pay more attention in the future.

For now, I just want to get them off the needles and onto the feet and move along to something else.

I hope everyone else is making fine progress this week.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Treasured Finish

Grabbed this to wear the other day with a light jacket.  Found out that it is really warm.  Too warm for the day I wore it.  Found out that it is easily squashed down into a bag, without weighing it down. Will be just the thing in a week or two when November rolls around.

Pattern:  Treasures in the Sand Wrap by Susan Carlson. Clear directions, and great styling photos.

Yarn:  Brooklyn Tweed Loft in (from the top): Fossil, Woodsmoke, Sweatshirt, Soot, and Sap (contrast and edging). Those names. Hand me my axe. I always feel like I should be wearing hiking boots when I knit with Brooklyn Tweed yarns. 

(ravelry project page)

I was on a mission to finish off all the things I didn't get to over the summer, but this pattern grabbed me and wouldn't let go.  I had Loft on hand in various neutrals and away I went.  Excellent crocheting project for TV.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Snail's Pace Progress

This is my love-hate project. Instead of nicknaming it Take The A Train I should have called Take the Snail Train.  I love the design (Ellington by Cookie A).  I love the yarn (Lina from Spirit Trail Fiberworks).  The hate part has been the knitting.

I've had a hard time figuring out why it is that every time I approached the avalanche of unfinished projects, my heart sank when I opened the project bag and saw these socks.

I love to knit socks.  They are practical, ingenious in construction, and satisfying while in progress and when finished.  If they are gifts, they unduly impress the recipients.  If for my own use, they make me happy when I pull open the dresser drawer and see them lined up like cupcakes in a pastry box.  They make me happy when I wear them, in colors that are sometimes clownish, sometimes as sober as a nun's habit.

Lurker in the Shadows

So why have I dreaded working on these socks? Maybe the stitch patterns were too complicated for the mindless work that seemed a necessity over the past few months; they demanded too much concentration from my tired brain.  Maybe it was the needles I chose, knitting two at the same time on two circular needles, a technique that has served me well in the past, but which seemed to make them drag.  Once I switched to square metal DPN's, things seemed to go more smoothly, but I fear it affected the gauge.  I look at these socks, and all the work that has gone into them, and I wonder if they are going to fit the recipient.

The end is in sight, as I have completed both of them to the point where the toe pattern begins.  Eight more inches of knitting, four on each foot, the grafting (another thing I love), and then the test. We'll see whether next week's finished object report is bordered with smiley faces or a thick black band of mourning.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Express Finish

(crocheted infinity scarf)

Big. Quick. Cozy. Quick.  Stylish. Quick. Minimal Finishing. Very Easy. 

Did I say quick? It's crocheted in the round with bulky yarn held double and a very large hook.

Long enough to wear doubled.  

I wrote it up.  You can find it free on ravelry.

I've been on a mission to finish up most of my languishing works in progress, but it was tempting to use the yarn I had left from a sweater for an instant gratification project.  You can blame me for the 70 degree weather we've been having around Boston this week, since, in addition to finishing this scarf, I bought a new winter coat.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sew and Sew

It's not all about the yarn.  Sometimes the fabric makes me do it and I sew some curtains or pillow covers or tablecloths, or hem some yoga pants.  There was a time when I made most of my clothes.

Looking at the runway shows for Spring 2015 with their 70's vibe, (especially this one, swoon) I now wish I had some of those items, but if I did have everything I've ever worn and tossed my home would resemble a rainbow landfill, and the yarn closet is bad enough.

The only sewing blog I follow is the coletterie.  I enjoy her musings on wardrobe and style and there are loads of tutorials, tips and tricks.  She has just issued an e-book, The Colette Guide to Sewing Hems 100+ pages of excellent tutorials with extremely clear photos and it's free.

Colette Guide to Sewing Hems
I won't be whipping up one of her cute retro dresses or skirts any time soon, but I'm off to try some mitered corners on a linen tablecloth.  

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Outlander-ish Fashion

It's Finished Object Friday and one of the benefits of ignoring my blog for months is that I have  a stockpile of finished items to post.  Fridays, here I come.

Although a fan of the books, I haven't ponied up for STARZ  to watch the time-traveing kilt-fest that is Outlander.  (I love you, hunky Jamie, but ten bucks a month on top of the outrageous amount I am already paying to watch murder and mayhem on other cable channels seems a bit steep.)

What I have seen are many versions of a knit cowl worn by Clare.  But those versions are knit, and I just don't like working with big, fat sticks. However, with some big, fat yarn and a big, fat hook, I whipped up a crocheted version.

Out of Time (cowl)

Here's how to make one of your own.

Yarn:  300 yards of Super Bulky.  I used the aptly named madelinetosh A.S.A.P.

Hook:  19 mm (S)

Chain 21 
Row 1 SC in second chain from hook and SC across (20 sts). Turn. 
Row 2 Chain 1, SC TBL (through the back loop)across. Turn. 
Repeat Row 2 until almost out of yarn, leaving enough for the slip stitch seaming. (I had enough for 38 rows or 19 ribs.) 
Lay flat twist. 

Seam with slip stitch, working TBL of last row and into the foundation chain.

Since this post was published, I tweaked the directions and you can download the updated pattern here:  Out of Time Cowl.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Greetings from Planet Narcissus

It's been a long few months but autumn is a time for new beginnings and though I've been gone from this space, I haven't forgotten about it.  And, I am shocked to discover, people still come over and take a look.  Thank you.

It's WIP Wednesday, so here's a couple of the many, many unfinished items lurking about.

For the crocheters:  Treasures in the Sand wrap.  It's worked lengthwise in four main colors with one contrasting color.  I'm using Brooklyn Tweed Loft in Soot, Sap, Sweatshirt, (which are pictured from bottom to top) and in Woodsmoke and Fossil (which a ways from joining the party--those rows are lo-o-o-ng). It's fun to work because the stitches are varied every few rows.

For the knitters, and procrastinators:  Caissa cardigan.  I began this in February of 2013.  For shame! I have completed the back and the two fronts.  The sleeves remain to be seen.

Autumn is the time of old (very old) beginnings as well, and in the spirit of blogger narcissism, I will celebrate my birthday with a giveaway.

Wish me a happy birthday in the comments and then I will pluck the magic twanger and generate a random number and send that person a surprise.  Okay, this is a knit and crochet blog, I think you can guess that the surprise is going to be yarn.

Visit Tami's Amis to see what others are up to in the craft-o-sphere.