After painting our living room and all of our house’s hallways on Saturday and Sunday, I found myself without any library books checked out. As part of getting the house back in shape, I rearranged our main bookshelf to be in color order, which is something I had done in my room in high school (before it was cool!) and enjoyed. Going through the books reminded me of some I hadn’t read in a long time, like Heidi.
As for knitting, it’s a new month and I’m participating in a couple of knitalongs that started today so I cast on a couple of new projects! Nothing is at a very exciting point yet, but here’s what I have on the needles.
For Sock Knitters Anonymous‘ October challenge and 52 in 52 Weeks‘ quarterly literary-inspired challenge, I’m knitting Porthos toe-up for Gavin using some self-striping Opal 6-Ply I’ve had for ages. He needs another pair of hand-knit socks and I am hoping this yarn will be super-sturdy.
I also cast on some Animal Crackers using a skein of red Opal Uni for myself. These will be for the same two groups as Porthos, plus SolidSocks‘ red challenge. I know the pattern is intended for men, but I’m just knitting the smallest size on size 0 needles and will likely make a couple more decreases in the gusset.
I’m so pleased that I finished my Christmas stocking last week and finally got it blocked!
I’ve been working on these for quite some time and even had to knit most of mine twice, so it’s very satisfying to have the pair finally completed.
I made a couple of modifications, namely:
- I didn’t knit the heels with a slip-stitch pattern like you would for a real sock heel.
- I did a normal gusset decrease instead of following their directions.
- On Gavin’s, I knit the toe more like a typical sock toe, where you decrease every other round and then once you reach a certain point, decrease every round. I prefer his to mine and will do that for any others I may knit in the future. (You can see that mine looks much pointier in the photo below.)
I also knit the leg portion on a 16″ circular before switching to DPNs for the heel and remainder of the stocking. I just prefer to work stranded colorwork on a single circular needle to help with the tension on my floats, but otherwise like to use DPNs.
Astute readers will notice that Gavin’s stocking has a hanging loop but mine doesn’t. I’m not thrilled with the crochet hanging loop on Gavin’s stocking because it doesn’t seem particularly sturdy where it attaches. I also am not sure where we’ll actually display the stockings at Christmas time, so they may not even need hanging loops. I’ll decide what to do about the loops closer to Christmas.
I took a picture of their insides, which are pretty crazy! I think if these were for kids, I would seriously consider lining them. As they are now, they should be fine for our use though.
The reverse stockinette stripes are my favorite (secret) part of the stockings. I love that particular proportion of stripes and will definitely keep that in mind for future knitting designs!
This is the first sock of a cabled design I’m working on. They’re inspired by the Mississippi river and I think they are a classic style with just a little whimsy for those in the know. I’ll probably also knit a pair for Gavin to model as the pattern would be great for men. Those will likely be brown, you know, like the actual river.
Right now I’m reading A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan. So far it’s the classic tale of a working mom trying to juggle everything, with the added layer of her living in the literary world (enjoyably meta, but it will be dating as time passes). It’s written in a surprisingly lovely style for the genre, similar to Where’d You Go, Bernadette?. I’m looking forward to finishing it.
Well, look at that – I’m done knitting my stocking! I started it on Wednesday and finished knitting it on Saturday, but there’s still a lot of finishing work to be done.
I need to Kitchener the toe, duplicate stitch my name and the green lines into the argyle, and weave in all of the ends.
I have a few tutorials I refer back to frequently, for knitting skills I don’t do often enough to know every step by heart. I like Purl Bee’s duplicate stitch tutorial and Knitty’s tutorial for Kitchener stitch. I really should know the Kitchener stitch by heart, but I always have to remind myself of the sequence one time before flying through the rest of the stitches.
I’m about to start reading this book, The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman, after finishing We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh last night. This is the second Alice Hoffman book I’ve read; the first was The Museum of Extraordinary Things.
Keeping with the Christmas crafting theme, I finally cast on my Christmas stocking. I’m using Knitpicks Wool of the Andes from my stash in Red, Grass, and White, so it should look just like Gavin’s stocking that I finished last year.
Funny story: after knitting Gavin’s stocking, I waited a couple of months and then cast on mine. I made it almost all the way the heel before I decided to listen to my nagging thoughts that this seemed much larger than the one I had knit before and compare them. Which was stupid, because it was much larger. And I had to frog the whole thing, including the stranded colorwork, which is horrible to frog. So here I am, starting again with smaller needles. So far, so good.
As for reading, I’m in the middle of two books. I heard an idea on the The Art of Simple podcast that resonated with me: to only read fiction before bed, for an easier time falling asleep and a better night’s rest. I read some fairly intense nonfiction sometimes (both dark and dry) so I think this will help me get to sleep more quickly and get more out of every book.
These books are both from the library. The Skeleton Crew is pretty good so far (I’m not a fan of the choppiness so many other reviewers have commented on), but Infinite Home is awesome. I am loving the process of getting to know all of the residents of the building, even after recently reading another character-heavy book, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
It’s pretty clear that everyone loves swatching as much as I do. That is to say, not very much.
Especially because this is my third try to get gauge with this Wool of the Andes Sport. I knit the first very diligently, washed it, measured it, and saw that it was too big. So I went down a needle size and knit a couple of inches before figuring out it was still too big and ripping out. So this is my third swatch with this yarn. Augh!
I have a sneaking suspicion this swatch (on size 2 needles!) is still going to be too big. If it is, I quit. At least for now.
I finally picked up Go Set a Watchman from the library last night. I just finished The Book of Speculation this morning, so I’m all set to start later this evening.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I usually get out of a knitting slump by knitting a dishcloth or two. What I usually don’t do is knit six.
But that’s what I did this time.
First I made a Linoleum Dishcloth using small balls of leftover yarn. I’ve knit this once before, but only using three colors instead of five.
Then I made a Clover Tweed using dark green and a small leftover ball of variegated yarn. This one might be my favorite of all that I knit and I will definitely be making this pattern again.
After that, I still wasn’t ready to quit so I cast on a Harmonic Mosaic Cloth. I have made one of these before (a LONG time ago) and like how easily memorized the pattern is while still giving great results.
I let Gavin choose the next one out of my queue and stash. He chose a Garter Rib Dishcloth in light blue. This one is pretty tiny; next time I would add a pattern repeat to get more of a “usual” dishcloth size. This is a two-row pattern and therefore very easily memorized.
Next, I knit a Little Tent Dishcloth, which turned out huge. I would definitely remove a pattern repeat if I were to make this again.
And last of all, a Checker-Square Garter Dishcloth. I removed a pattern repeat, which made it the perfect size. I wish it were a charted pattern though! Knitting from row-by-row instructions makes for very tedious TV knitting.
And there you have it: six new dishcloths and a happily knitting Kate.
I KNIT SOMETHING!
And not only did I start something, I actually finished it since taking this picture earlier today.
I’m declaring this knitting slump over, but I need to find something else to make before I lose momentum. I’m thinking probably one more dishcloth and then on to bigger and better things.
This is the Linoleum Dishcloth knit using all leftovers. I just used the pink and yellow until they gave out and have about five yards of the blue left.
I recently started reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. I knew nothing about the book when I started reading it and, four chapters in, I’m still not quite sure what it’s about. But the characters are fascinating and I love early 20th century America, so I’m enjoying it.
Jesus the Bridegroom: The Greatest Love Story Ever Told is so good. I asked for it last year for my birthday after starting Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, which is also an amazing book. As a Catholic who is extremely interested in the Jewish traditions we draw from, both books have been fascinating. I love Brant Pitre but find him a little heavy for bedtime reading, hence the second book.
I just started The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu. After reading a bunch of fiction, it feels slow, but I have enjoyed, among other things, a lengthy explanation of the word entrée.
As for knitting, I just picked my Trillian back up after abandoning it during my knitting slump. I’m going to be clocking some serious time riding in the car in the next few weeks and its simplicity and portability should make it a good car project.
Also, because I am the world’s best bruiser, here’s what happened to my leg after falling off a bucket. It’s literally amazing. Whenever I catch a glimpse in the mirror I feel like I have a sleeve tattoo on my leg.
I’ve been in a knitting lull lately, which happens to me every couple of months. I’ve learned to just ride it out and know that I’ll be back to knitting constantly soon enough. I usually pick up something quick because holding a finished item is what keeps me knitting. Normally I choose a dishcloth or hat, but this time I went with some really old, super-bulky yarn that has been in my stash forever. (Seriously, I bought this when I was about twelve.) I’m knitting a little basket…for what, I’m not sure yet, but I think it could look cool on my desk or in our guest room.
This week is the first week I’ve harvested anything from the yard other than herbs! Along with snagging the first snap peas from our garden, I picked a ton of mulberries from the trees in and around our yard. Plus my brother is in town this week and we went strawberry picking yesterday morning. My uncle shared some rhubarb with my parents, who passed some along to me, and I picked up our CSA yesterday. Our fridge looks crazy but I’m thrilled with the bounty we already have.
While I was picking those mulberries, I was standing on a five-gallon bucket. It’s the easiest stepstool to carry around into the schoolyard behind our house plus mulberry juice gets on everything so I don’t like to use anything from inside the house.
The bad part of using a bucket as a stepstool is that it’s not the sturdiest thing ever…and I totally fell off of it and scraped my leg on the bucket on the way down. I just got right back on the bucket and kept picking though, so it looks a lot worse than it feels.
My favorite (and only) brother-in-law, Clayton, came over last night to help us mulch our yard. (The last project he helped with was staining our deck, so can I just say I’m amazed he EVER came back?) After spreading one car-load of mulch and warming up some leftovers for Clayton, I had to leave to go to a youth group meeting and I came home to an almost fully mulched yard, the trash (including about thirty brush bundles) already at the curb, and two tired and sweaty men asking me to scoop them some ice cream. I don’t know about you, but I call that a win.