Thursday, November 29, 2007

Working on Christmas

Do you think that when people originally planned to celebrate Christmas as a holiday that they expected all of us to work so hard at it? I don't think it was what they planned at all! They just thought it would be a nice time for families to get together. I have gone a bit overboard. I am not only knitting many, many gifts, I also have some other projects I'm working on. Here is my current list:
1. TJ's socks (these are more than halfway done. One sock is done and the other about halfway up the foot. They are toe-up obviously.)
2. Richard's Socks (The yarn is bought for these but they aren't started as they are waiting for the needles from TJ's socks.)
3. Teri's socks (These are started but are top and one is about halfway down the leg.)
4. Mike's Felted Clogs (These are nearly finished. I have one sole and sewing up to do on these. They are hideous to me but they are John Deere colors so he should love them.)
5. Gunner's Felted Clogs (These are for a two-year old so they should be fairly simple to do.)
6. Brianna's Felted Clogs (These are for my ten-year old niece and I haven't decided if they should be knit or not. We'll see where the time constraints lie.)
7. Emma's Felted Clogs (These are for my two-year old niece and again, I haven't decided if I will actually make them or not.)

Non-knitting but just as important projects:
1. Delia's blanket. This just needs to be quilted and it will be done.
2. Julia's purse. This is quite a project. When I sew purses, I design them too so I need to figure out how it's going to look and then execute it too. This should be interesting.
3. Shelly's Dragon Picture. This is for my step-sister. She bought a house this year and I noticed she has a small area with a bunch of dragon figurines so I am going to draw, color and frame a picture for her to hang above them.

I still have a wee bit of shopping left to do but I'm pretty sure that it will have to wait until hubby's bonus check comes in. We'll see I guess. If I can squeeze the budget tight enough, I might be able to finish sooner.
I have no pictures of any of this stuff so you will just have to wait. Meanwhile, I will be celebrating my 28th birthday tomorrow so I will be busy not knitting probably.

Also, great news. My cousin, who is the mother of the ever-cute Gunner, just gave birth to her second baby last night. She was 7 lbs. 15 oz. and 19 1/2 inches long. Her name is Hayden Elizabeth. I am so, so, so excited to go see her!!! I have to make something for her too. (I promised my cousin not to start anything because of the magical quality of knitting and she had some health issues with Gunner so she didn't want to have the baby early. I promised and have therefore only planned a few things. Now I have to finish Christmas projects first though. BLAST!!)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More Finished Things

I just love getting to post things that are done. I finished another pair of felted clogs
These are New Denim Patons Classic Wool Merino on the bottom and Denim Marl Patons Classic Wool Merino on the top. These are meant for my father-in-law and now all the gifts for him are done!

I have since finished another pair of these but I am getting kinda sick of showing you the same things so I think I will forego posting them and just move on.
While brainstorming ideas for gifts for my three female cousins for Christmas, since we all always exchange a small gift, I came up with the idea for this Christmas ornament. I think it's really cute.
It's pretty small too. Here's my hand for scale.
It's knit with Knit Picks Palette in White and Ivy. I am thinking about making 3 or possibly 4 more. Maybe making it a yearly tradition where I make a different style each year with the year on it? We'll see if I get that ambitious though.
Since I have this parade of finished things, I do of course have something new. Here it is;
These are intended to be socks for my brother-on-law that will replace the unfinished socks from earlier this year. The others were scratchy and stiff. These will be better. These are Knit Picks Essential in Terrain Twist and despite the picture, they are actually on the needles.
I'm getting closer and closer.
Does anyone else have an unrealistic goal for the next 41 days?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We Loves the noggin around here.

So lately I have been on this hat kick. It all started with my idea for a hat for my brother for Christmas.
It's a flame hat. Since it's double knitted, it also looks like this;
if you turn it inside out. So it's reversible. I think it turned out pretty well and it means I can cross another thing off my list for Christmas knitting.
Then I wanted a hat for myself so I started digging through magazines. I ended up knitting the Tweed Beret from Interweave Knits. I think it was the summer 06 issue but I will have to check. I have unfortunately lost the picture of that hat so I will have to take another one.
The need for hats was apparently rampant in the knitting universe because the Yarn Harlot was knitting a hat too. The Unoriginal Hat. I just happened to have some yarn in the stash that I knew would work well so I knit this one afternoon;
It's knit out of Lion Brand Landscapes yarn in Rose Garden. It's a little over one skein. I think it turned out really cute and it's snug on my head but I like it a lot. It was super quick too so I am thinking about making several for extra gifts for those people whom I don't know what to give for Christmas. We'll see though.

In other news; Judy asked for the pattern for my Father-in-law's socks so here goes:

Materials: 1 skein Zitron Trekking XXL Sock yarn (about 450 yards)
Size US 2 needles Set of 5 dpns.
Leg: Cast on 72 stitches and divide onto 4 needles as follows; needle 1: 20, needle 2: 16, needle 3: 20 needle 4: 16. It is broken up that way so that it will work out easier in the ribbed pattern.
Knit in K3, P1 rib for about 6 inches. On my own socks I go seven inches but the foot is longer as they are men's size 10 and I didn't want to run out of yarn so I made the leg just a bit shorter.
Heel Flap: Working with half of the stitches; 36 (they can all be moved onto one needle if it is easier that way) work the following 2 rows back and forth approximately 18 times or until the heel flap is square;
Row 1: (RS) *Slip 1, Knit 1, repeat from * across.
Row 2: (WS) Slip 1, purl across.

Heel Turn: Working with the same 36 stitches from the heel flap, work the following rows back and forth.
Row 1: (RS) Slip 1, k 20, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 2: slip 1, p 8, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 3: slip 1, k 9, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 4: slip 1, p 10, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 5: slip 1, k 11, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 6: slip 1, p 12, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 7: slip 1, k 13, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 8: slip 1, p 14, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 9: slip 1, k 15, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 10: slip 1, p 16, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 11: slip 1, k 17, ssk, k1, turn.
Row 12: slip 1, p 18, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 13: slip 1, k 19, ssk, k1.

This brings you to the end of the heel turn. You should now have 22 stitches on your needle. Pick up and knit approximately 18 stitches down the side of the heel flap (Use your best judgement. I usually end up with more like 20 because I don't like holes in the sides and I tend to make them with less than 20.)

Gusset Decreases: You should now be back to the front of the sock, where it is worked in ribbing. This is needle 1 and should have 20 stitches on it. Work them in k3, p1 rib. Work needle 2 in knit 3, p1 rib also. Now pick up and knit approximately 18 stitches on the other side of the heel flap. (It's up to you but I find it works best if you pick up the same number of stitches on both sides of the heel flap.)
Take the stitches from the heel turn and divide them evenly onto the two needles that hold the picked up stitches from the sides of the heel flap. There should be 11 added to each needle.
Work the following 2 rounds until you have 72 stitches again. They should be divided up as follows: Needle 1: 20, Needle 2: 16, Needle 3: 18, Needle 4: 18.

Round 1: Needles 1 & 2: *Knit 3, p1, repeat from * across.
Needle 3: K1, ssk, knit to end of needle.
Needle 4: Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k 1.

Round 2: Needles 1 & 2: *Knit 3, p1, repeat from * across.
Needles 3& 4: Knit all stitches.

Foot: Now work the following round until foot measures between 1 1/2 to 2 inches shorter than total length of foot.
Needles 1 & 2: *Knit 3, p1, repeat from * across.
Needles 3 & 4: Knit all stitches.

Toe: At this point we will be changing to stockinette stitch to work the toe decreases so you will want to slip two stitches from needle 1 onto needle 2 so all needles begin with 18 stitches. Work the following 2 rounds until you have 4 stitches remaining on each needle.
Round 1:
Needle 1: Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k1.
Needle 2: K 1, ssk, knit to end of needle.
Needle 3: Knit to last 3 stitches, k2tog, k 1.
Needle 4: K 1, ssk, knit to end of needle.
Round 2: Knit to end of round.
Once you have a total of 16 stitches left (4 on each needle) close the toe with kitchener stitch or some other seam.
Repeat for the second sock and;
Voila! you have another Christmas gift finished. Please note that this pattern was pulled out of my head so if you have a problem please ask. I may have written something wrong.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Completing Things

I spent some time riding in a car this weekend and while it allowed me some knitting time, it wasn't a ton. I did manage to finish something though.

Are we sick of these yet? I sure am! These are a pair of felted clogs knit for my brother-in-law for Christmas. I don't remember why I wanted to knit so many of these this year. I must have gone completely crazy.

I have been working on these too;

These are a pair of socks for my father-in-law for Christmas. They are moving along and look pretty good so far. I am still thinking that I can get everything done in time for Christmas. Especially since I have been working on it so long already. Unfortunately I seem to be letting time slip by me.
Since today is the Fifth of November though, I'm going to go watch this and knit. That should move things along, huh?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Dyeing Adventure

The following is the account of kalkette's dyeing adventure. Plus a dinner recipe. We've got it all over here at Chez Kalkette. Some time ago a dinner-making kalkette noticed that the color of beets is the color that is the favorite of kalkette's mom. Kalkette's mom has put up with many things from kalkette over the years and it was determined that she deserved a nice gift for Christmas of her favorite color. Kalkette decided to try her hand at dyeing for her mom. This is the result. The plan was to make this I thought it would be beautiful in a nice magenta/fuschia color. So, I took a lesson from here and got started. I skeined up a ball of Patons Classic Wool Merino and soaked it with 3/4 cup vinegar:

It's supposed to soak overnight but I soaked it from the morning until it was time to start dinner. About the same amount of time.

I then took one bunch of beets and removed the stems and peeled them.
Then I julienned them and put them in a large (microwave safe) bowl.

Trust me, they are way more fuschia than this picture. Then I covered them with just enough water to completely cover them;
I put this bowl in the microwave for about 10 minutes, checked them and then another 10 minutes. This was to leach the color into the water and also to cook the beets. They are much denser than the other ingredients and I didn't want them coming out raw.

While it was cooking I peeled and julienned a sweet potato.
Now I took out the wok and added a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. (Please note that olive oil is not recommended for super hot cooking as it has a lower smoke point than other oils. I use it for the health and because my stove doesn't get super duper hot but if you are going to use an electric wok or an open flame or something hotter, then use another kind of oil.) I put the sweet potato in the wok and stir fryed it.

I added another tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and added this:
It's a bag of fresh veggies. Carrots, red cabbage and broccoli. They are raw and ready to be made into a broccoli slaw but I use them as a stir fry. Yum yum.
By the time you add the broccoli slaw mix, the beets should be done. I took out a metal colander and a large pot and set them up like this
I set it in the sink but I wanted to reserve the water for the yarn dyeing. Now add the beets to the stir fry and fry them up. This is more for texture than anything. This will make the other veggies turn sort of magenta too. That's okay. They still taste wonderful. I like to serve mine with some brown rice and a little soy sauce. It makes about 6 servings.
Now drain the yarn and squeeze out the extra water. Put the yarn in the bowl and pour the water over it. Add 1/2 cup vinegar. If there isn't enough liquid to cover the yarn, add more water. Otherwise, place the yarn in the microwave and microwave until the bowl is hot and almost boiling.
I microwaved it for ten minutes and the water was steaming so I knew it was quite hot. Then I left the yarn to sit in the microwave for 15 minutes (with the door closed to keep the heat in). You may want to reheat it at some point during this time. It depends. You want it to remain as hot as possible for that length of time, without boiling as that can felt the yarn. Once that time has passed, remove it from the microwave and allow it to cool. Then rinse it well and remove as much water as possible.
Here is the yarn ready to be hung to dry.
I hung the skeined yarn in the laundry room sink to dry and the following day I had this:
It didn't turn out at all the color that I wanted so I'm not sure what to do with it and it is very lightly variegated between a darker red and a lighter red. It was a very fun adventure though and I had a blast. :)
Back to the Christmas knitting, we have less than 8 weeks now you know. Anyone panicked yet?