Monday, December 31, 2012

FO: Happy Reindeer

Santa had no trouble finding my house this year, thanks to the shiny red nose of this very happy crocheted reindeer!  I started this little guy three years ago and I work on him every December, never seeming to finish... until this year.  I finally did it!  Yay!!  Check him out, the happiest little reindeer ever:

yarn details
various worsted weight acrylics from my stash

safety eyes... 12mm?
polyfill stuffing

project details
pattern: "Happy Reindeer" by Lion Brand Yarn, free pattern available here.
hook: size F
gauge: I don't think I even know how to count gauge in crochet, even if I felt like it....
yarn used: I have no clue....  not very much.
finished size: I'll have to get back to you on this one.....
duration: November 20, 2009 - December 22, 2012

  • I have no idea what possessed me to knit this thing with an F hook!  The hook was way too small for the worsted weight yarn and it was very hard to deal with, which is part of the reason it took me so long to finish it.  (The other part being that I'm lazy and I don't really like to crochet...)  The pattern calls for a G hook.  I'm guessing I couldn't find my G hook at the time I started the project, so I made do with an F.  If I had to do it again, I would probably use an H hook, which I think is the most comfortable size for crocheting worsted weight yarn.
  • Embroidering the smile was a bit of a challenge.  There was a trick to it, which I no longer remember because it was three years ago... sorry.

2012 Wrap Up

THE END IS NIGH.  The end of 2012, that is.  I've been going over some of my old blog posts and I thought I'd share some of my favorite knits from 2012 with y'all.  I don't really get a lot of visitors to this blog, I write it mostly just for me, but, for what it's worth.... my most popular post of the year is the knitter's gift guide that I made.  The highlight of my blogging year is that I participated in two linky parties and I was featured in the wrap-up posts for both of them!  Yay!  The low point of my blogging year has to have been in April, because I only wrote two posts that month... oops.

Hands down, the Hello Kitty Mitts were my favorite project.  (Pun intended)

And the runner up for favorite project is my adorable knit cactus.  He just makes me so happy.

And I think both the Happy Reindeer and Sheldino deserve special recognition because they were on the needles for three and four years, respectively, before finally seeing the light of day this year.

And now for my 2013 knitting goals:

1.  I'd like to learn how to knit continental-style.  Even if I don't switch to it permanently, I think it would be fun to try it out and see what all the fuss is about.

2.  I can already sense that finishing the Dancing Cranes Stole is going to be a challenge for me, so I'm going to just go ahead and set the goal that I need to finish it up before one year from today....

3.  I want to improve my crochet skills, which I plan to do by knitting up some cute little critters by Stacey Trock of Fresh Stitches.

4.  And finally, I want to write up a pattern of my very own.  I have a few ideas already, I just need to get to  it!

Friday, December 28, 2012

FO: Fluffy Little Sheep

I just love knitting little critters and this fluffy little sheep is no exception!  I saw him on Pinterest a few weeks ago and I knew immediately that I had to make him mine!  I've never knit a loopy stitch before and it was super fun.  I recommend all knitters make one of these little guys for themselves, pronto.

The hardest part about this project was waiting for the yarn to arrive so I could get started!  I looked at a few projects on Ravelry - some that used roving yarn and some that didn't - and I knew I wanted to use the roving yarn because it made such a nice fluffier looking sheep.  I just bought the pattern-recommended yarn, Martha Stewart roving wool, and I was pretty happy with it.  The only thing that bugged me is if you pull too hard on it, it will break, but I think that's probably true of most roving yarns, so I won't blame Martha.

And now the details:

yarn details
Lion Brand Martha Stewart Crafts Roving Wool in Snowdrift
dye lot 59040
100% Wool
50 g / 58 yds @ $5.49 per ball

Lion Brand Martha Stewart Crafts Roving Wool in Umbrella
dye lot 59124
100% Wool
50 g / 58 yds @ $5.49 per ball

project details
pattern: "Fluffy Little Sheep" by Lion Brand Yarn, free pattern available here.
needles: size 7 straight needles
gauge: are you kidding me??
yarn used: apprx 26 yards of white and 16 yards of black
finished size: a little bigger than my fist...  about 3 inches tall and wide, 4 inches long.
duration: knit in a few hours on December 23, 2012

  • I have enough yarn left over to knit one more of these little guys.  Maybe I will try adding eyes to the next one?  It's kind of a crazy idea, but I think it might look cute if he had more of a face than he has now.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Very Happy Reindeer

Look! I finished the Happy Reindeer, just in time for Christmas!  Isn't he a cutie pie?  I'll write a formal FO post eventually, but I just wanted to share him with you now.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Crochet Crap

I located the Happy Reindeer and I was trying to work on him this weekend, but I was having the hardest time with it and I got so frustrated that I put it away.  Well.... I was just sitting here and it occurred to me, "am I doin' it right?" So, I just watched a video online and it turns out that I was NOT doing a single crochet, but instead some sort of strange single/half-double crochet hybrid.  I don't even know what I was thinking.  It's been so long since I crocheted anything, I really should have looked up the instructions again before I attempted it.  Oops!  Will try again this weekend!!

p.s. this may be why my wine tote looks kind of strange too....

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Quick Check In

Dear Blog, I haven't forgotten about you!  ... okay, maybe I forgot about you a little bit.

Since I last checked in, I have knit a couple of Christmas ornaments (like this one) for craft swaps - I forgot to take pics of the first one, but I will post a quick pic of the second one later.  I also traveled to San Diego to visit my mother for Thanksgiving and I started another pair of Jaywalker socks on the plane - I haven't done anything with them since I got home though.  Finally, I have worked a tiny bit on the baby blanket.  I need to really buckle down with that one - the baby is coming soon!!  I haven't done any more work on the wine bottle tote, nor have I attempted to locate the Happy Reindeer, as I promised I would in my last post... d'oh!  Oh, and Scott's scarf?  Yeah, that's going nowhere fast.

In other news, my etsy shop is on fire this holiday season!!  Yay!!

And there is my quick check in!  I'll be back soon!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Giving Up the Ghost and a Ghost from Christmas Past

So, you may notice that the hexacomb cardigan and the Tess cardigan are no longer in my WIP sidebar... did I finish them??  ... Yeah right!!  I finally just decided that the finishing of these projects isn't going to happen any time soon and I'm sick of them staring me in the face every time I log in to Ravelry, so I decided to put them in official hibernation status.  And then, while I was down at that end of my project list, I noticed a little fella who is ready to come out of hibernation: the Happy Reindeer!  I started him about three years ago and I really, truly am going to finish him up before Christmas this year!!  ...that is, IF I can find him somewhere in my pile of unfinished projects.  Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

FO: Fan Shawl

My mother recently moved to Southern California where a lot of the time the days are warm but the nights are a bit chilly.  She asked me to make her a fairly heavy weight shawl that she could throw over her shoulders when she was out on chilly nights, so I made her this small lace fan shawl out of DK weight yarn:

The neat thing is that the shawl is a modular knit, which means that I knit each little fan separately and just picked up stitches along the side of a finished fan to start a new one.  It was kind of cool, though this method produces TONS of ends that need to be woven in!  (Which we all know is my favorite thing to do!)

Here is a close-up of the lace pattern because you can't see it very well in the pic above.  It kind of looks like crochet, no?

All said, it's definitely not my favorite thing I have ever knit, but I think it turned out okay.  I would have preferred a lacier look, but my mom specifically requested something made out of a heavier yarn, so her wish was my command.

And now the details:

yarn details
Lion Brand Microspun in Ebony
dye lot 66577
100% Microfiber Acrylic
machine wash cold, tumble dry at any temp, do not iron
70 g / 168 yds @ $4.99 per ball

project details
pattern: "Panda Silk DK Fan Shawl" by Gail Tanquary, free pattern available here.
needles: size 6 nickle plated circs
gauge: I am opposed to measuring gauge on a project such as this...
yarn used: 3.67 skeins (about 617 yards)
finished size: apprx 56'' wide and 17'' at the longest point of the triangle
duration: February 27 - July 7, 2012
cost: about $18

  • This is definitely a project where you want to weave in your ends as you go. Otherwise you will hate life when you are done.  I stopped every few fans to weave ends.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Checking in...

It seems like it's been a while since I have blogged about actual knitting and not just silly other stuff, so here is a quick update on what's going on with my needles (& hook!):

1.  I've been primarily working on the crocheted wine tote that I started two weeks ago.  I'm almost finished with the body of that... I tend to work on it for about half an hour and then get frustrated and put the fiber arts away for the rest of the day, so maybe that's not a good thing.  But it will be finished soon and then I will have a spiffy new wine tote for BYOB parties!

2.  I have been ignoring my brother's scarf because I'm frustrated with the intarsia.  I keep screwing up and it's no fun.  :(

3.  Baby blanket is still where it was last time I checked in.  I'm excited because I'm on the second half now so every row is a decrease - it's like knitting downhill!  I'm not in a huge hurry to finish that up because I have until January and I'm sure I'll have lots of time to work on it during Christmas since I'll be taking a few days off work. (Yay!)

4.  This weekend I am knitting up a special secret project!!

5.  I'm thinking about starting a new pair of socks and trying to pick a pattern.  I may just end up knitting a new pair of jaywalkers.

6.  FO post for the fan shawl is coming your way soon!!

In other news, my kitty is sick.  :(  I took her in for a bunch of diagnostic tests this week to try to find out what is wrong with her, and waiting for the results is killing me!  ... please think good thoughts for us!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Snail Mail Fun!

I participated in the C.R.A.F.T. blog's package pals program last month and it was SO MUCH FUN!  Here's the deal: you sign up to be part of the program, Jamie pairs you up with someone cool, you make gifts for each other, the gifts go in the mail.  How much fun is that?  It combines two of my favorite things: crafting, and getting mail.  Neato!

I was paired up with Lizzie - you should check out her cool paper crafting blog!  I already posted earlier this week about the Hello Kitty Mitts that I made for her.  I also made her some cool buttons of all her favorite things and a nifty box decoupaged with an old sci-fi pulp fiction cover.  Did I take a picture?  *D'oh!*

But, I took pictures of all the fantastic stuff Lizzie sent me!  It was a whole box jam packed with awesome.... even the box was awesome, check it out:

Why yes, that IS a box covered in glitter!!  I'm sure the mail carrier loved it!

And now, the contents....

Can you believe there was that much awesomeness in this box??  Get a load of all the great Hello Kitty stuff!  And look at the amazing hand made card she made me, sitting on top of the box...  I meant to take a closeup of the card, but apparently I didn't....

Here is the darling necklace she made me, which I wore to work last Friday and got tons of compliments!

I love this gorgeous altered mini composition book she made me:

And guess who doesn't have to buy Christmas cards this year??  Me!  'Cuz the ever-talented Lizzie made me some!

... finally, the BIG present is my very own Smash Book and a ton of supplies to fill it up with - lots of little embellishments, stickers, glitter, the works!

Now I need to study Lizzie's blog very closely to learn how to Smash!  I'm so excited to try it out!

Package Pals was so much fun!  Thank you Jamie for putting this exchange together!  I can't wait to do it next time too!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Circular Needle Organization

I really need to do this to organize my circular needles.  What a great idea!  I wonder if a similar concept would work to organize my dpns too?  Right now they are all in ziplock baggies held together with a binder clip.  Not the most clever organization system in the world.....

Source: via Pepper on Pinterest

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tweet Tweet!

Yes!  Let's Get Crafting Magazine just retweeted me.  I'm so cool!

Monday, October 29, 2012

New Project!

I saw this on Pinterest yesterday and I had to have it... immediately!!

I know, I know, I hate to crochet, but seriously... how cute is that??  Apparently, the pattern used to be free on her blog, but the designer is now selling it for $3 in her etsy shop - which is totally a reasonable price, if you ask me.  And she emailed it to me super fast so I could get started right away.

Here is what I have so far....

Can't wait until I have this baby finished!  Then I want to make a million more!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

FO: Hello Kitty Mitts

When I signed up for the Package Pals craft swap over at the C.R.A.F.T. blog, I initially thought I would knit a hat or something small for whoever I was paired up with.  That was until I learned that I was paired up with a fellow Hello Kitty fanatic!  No plain old knitted hat would do for such a unique individual, so I scoured Ravelry until I finally saw this pattern and knew immediately that it was "the one."

And now, without further ado, I present the Hello Kitty Mitts!!

yarn details
Green Oak Acrylic in White
Worsted Weight
100% Acrylic
100 g / 200 yd ball
... plus bits of pink, black, and yellow yarn for the face and bow.

project details
pattern: "Hello Kitty Mitts" by Jo Ryan, available free on Ravelry at
size: medium
finished measurements: circumference at cuffs is 6'', length of mitt is also 6''
gauge: 20 st x 28 rows over 4''
needles: size 8 dpns
yarn used: about 78 yards
time span: this was a quick two-day project... about five episodes of Buffy, October 6-7, 2012

  • Used K2P2 ribbing on the cuffs.
  • Knit both ribbing and main portion with size 8 needles, did not use a smaller needle on ribbing as called for in the pattern.... because I couldn't find my smaller needles....
  • On the bows I followed the pattern instructions for the main piece, but instead of using the little strip of garter stitch to wrap around the middle to form the bow, I just used plain old yarn.  This allowed me to pull it tighter and create a more defined bow shape.
  • I used a picture of Hello Kitty as a guide to embroidering the face rather than copying the mitt in the pattern.  The main thing I did differently was to start the whiskers at the side of her eyes, rather than below the eye.
  • For the increases I only used M1L, as I was getting unattractive holes with M1R.
And guess what?  This post was featured in two linky party wrap-ups!  Yay!


Friday, October 26, 2012

Fan Shawl on the Blocking Board

After months of putting this off, I am finally blocking the fan shawl.  See, here it is on the blocking board:

As you can see, my blocking board wasn't quite long enough, so I brought in my handy-dandy foam blocking squares in to finish the job.  I'm so glad I bought them!

Unique Gifts for Crocheters

You know who is NOT hard to shop for?  Crocheters.  Why?  Because I made you this awesome gift guide of cool gifts that any crocheter will love.  (And, of course, it includes my new crochet pinback buttons and my wine charms for crocheters!)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Giveaway Fun!

When I'm not knitting I love to read craft blogs and I love to enter their giveaways!  There is an awesome one right now that I want to share with you.  It's a MASSIVE giveaway blog hop consisting of 50 blogs with lots of great goodies to win.  It super easy to earn entries, all you have to do is leave comments, tweet about the giveaway, like someone on facebook, etc.  You should do it... but be forewarned, it's seriously addictive.

I think the best prizes in this giveaway are being offered by Confessions of a Bookworm and Ashley  Brooke.  Ashley is giving away a sweet Martha Stewart Glitter Set and Stephanie is giving away a set of Martha Stewart Paint!

You might also be interested in the giveaway being sponsored by My Merry Messy Life, who is giving away a Red Heart Yarn grab bag worth $175.

Also cool is the giveaway by Tutus and Tea Parties.  She is giving away some Craftsy classes, among other things. There are lots of cool knitting classes and KALs on Craftsy so it would be super fun to win!

If you go to any of the giveaways mentioned above and scroll down to the bottom of the post, you can see a list of all FIFTY blogs that are participating in the giveaway blog hop.  All the giveaways are worth checking out!

Good luck!  Tell 'em the Spicy Knitter sent you!  lol.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Yarny Gift Goodness

How cute are these new ready-to-wrap yarn gift boxes from Knit Picks?  Seriously, what a fabulous idea.
Boy, I sure would love to receive one of these for Christmas....  like this one full of handpainted sock yarn ... or this one full of those pretty tonal sock yarns that I love....

Because we all know that what I really need in this world is MORE YARN!

New Fiber-Lover Buttons in my Etsy Shop!

I listed two cute new items in my Etsy shop over the weekend....

A second set of funny buttons for knitters:

And a set for crocheters, because I know y'all were getting jealous:

The sets are only $6 plus FREE shipping!  Can't beat that.  Oh wait, yes I can!  "Like" my shop on facebook and you'll get a discount code for 10% off.  Neat, huh?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Weekend Update

My creative juices were flowing this weekend, but not exactly in a knitty way, so I spent a lot of time this weekend on other crafty pursuits such as scrapbooking and button making.  Still, I got some work done on my brother's scarf on Saturday.  I finished up the "s" and got started on the "m" in "smokinskip" (Yes!  I have a lot of letters to go!)  Here is a pic of my progress so far:

So far, working the "intarsia" in the round isn't going too badly.  I put "intarsia" in quotes because I'm actually stranding the yarn behind the work, but I'm knitting it "flat" and then connecting the ends together with wrapped stitches, as per the instructions for intarsia in the round.  The joined areas were looking a little sloppy, but I found a little trick that works for me:  on the first stitch of the row you are purling, pick up a leg of the stitch underneath the first stitch and purl it together with that first stitch.  This tightened up the tension for me to make it a much smoother join.  You can still tell there is a "seam" there, but it's not very noticeable. (I used a lot of quotes in that paragraph, no?  Clearly I'm not 100% sure of the terminology of what I'm doing here.  I just know that it works.)

Oh, and, working from a color chart can be hard.  That's why I have a special helper to help me read the chart.  She sits on it, then tells me what to knit.  Works flawlessly...


Thursday, October 18, 2012

It's Pillow Mania!

I was browsing through my Ravelry queue this morning and I was reminded of how many super cute pillows I've been dreaming about knitting for a few years now.  Pillows are a great option to knit when you are looking for a small project but you are tired of knitting hats and scarves.  I've got a few too many things on the needles right now, but I think as soon as I finish something up, I'm going to start on one of these pillows.  A few of them even have the potential for some stash busting, which would be oh-so-awesome.

I'm torn about which one to knit.  I think the Plushy Pillows and the Fair Isle Pillows are my favorites, but they also have the least stash-busting potential.  On the other hand, the Bespoke Pillow has the most stashbusting potential.  I'll have to mull it over some more.  Of course, none of these can ever top my pillow tribute to Star

What's your fave?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Miss Me?

I just got back from a wonderfully relaxing and *romantic* vacation in New Hampshire.  We got in lots of leaf-peeping and tax-free shopping, but NO knitting!  Can you believe it?  It was our anniversary, so it was all about doing things together and knitting is kind of a solo sport.  But now I'm home and ready to get back in the game.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"Who" Has an Owl Obsession?

I just spied this ADORABLE blanket on Ravelry and I had to share because it makes me smile.

Cute, eh? I am rarely inspired to crochet, but this is doing it for me.  Not only is it darling, but it uses Knit Picks Chroma yarn, which I love.  The pattern is only $6 at the designer's Etsy shop, TheHatAndI, so go check it out.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekend Update

I spent most of the weekend working on a super secret project that I cannot reveal until later, but I also got a little work done on the baby blanket.  I'm exactly at the half-way point now.  I'm a little worried I'm going to run out of yarn because I bought 6 balls, and I started on ball #4 about two rows before I hit the half-way point.  It seems like that is a pretty definitive sign that I'm not going to have enough yarn to complete the project, but I think I'm just going to keep on going to the end and see what happens.  Maybe there will be some sort of miracle.  Anyway, the baby isn't due until January, so I'll have plenty of time to order another ball of yarn, if need be.  Sometimes I just like to live on the edge.

And on the subject of running out of yarn... my friend Sarah and I have noticed that when we're running out of yarn, we start knitting faster... as if that's going to help!  lol.  Anyone else do that?

Friday, October 5, 2012

FO: Diagonal Lace Socks

Hooray for my first pair of toe-up socks!  This was a super-simple knit and I think they turned out really cute.  I enjoyed knitting toe-up because it was really easy to size the foot, but I wouldn't really say that I'm a total convert now.  I never thought that knitting top-down was really a problem, so knitting toe-up doesn't really solve any issues.  Still, it was fun to try something new.  And isn't this yarn pretty?  I'm such a fan of these tonal yarns from Knit Picks.

And here is a close-up of the lace pattern:

yarn details
Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in Springtime Tonal
Fingering Weight
75% Merino, 25% Nylon
dye lot 01759
Washing Instructions: machine wash, tumble dry low
$7.99 for 100 g /462 yd ball

project details
pattern: "Diagonal Lace Socks" by Wendy D. Johnson, available for free here.
size: Medium

finished measurements: leg of sock above heel flap is 5.75'', leg of sock from bottom of heel is 8'', foot length is just shy of 8'', circumference of foot and leg is apprx 7.5''
gauge: 16 st x 24 rows over 2'' in stockinette (this is, amazingly, the same gauge the pattern calls for, but that's mostly just a coincidence, as I didn't swatch...)
needles: size 2 dpns (set of 5, bamboo)
yarn used: 0.7 skeins = 323 yards
time span: January 2012 – March 2012


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Breast Cancer Awareness Sale at Interweave

This is a little late, but if you make a purchase today or tomorrow from the Interweave store, they will donate 30% of the proceeds to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

I'm thinking about buying some of the Sockupied mags.  I have the Spring 2011 issue and it's really cool.  The only thing that's stopping me is that I don't know if I should buy the versions for the PC or the ones for the iPad.  I don't actually have an iPad, but I'm pretty sure I'll get one for Christmas...  *hint, hint* @Mom + @Eric....

Oh, and because I can't help plugging myself...  check out the pink ribbon wine charms I sell in my etsy shop...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Doin' it the easy way...

I picked up the scarf last night with all the tangled bobbins and got completely overwhelmed.  Rather than untangle them, I just ripped out the whole thing back to the lifeline I (luckily!) installed right before I began the lettering.  Then I began again and I'm just stranding the yarn along the back.  I know this is cheating, but what can I say?  I prefer to do things the easy way.

I'm only about four rows into the first letter.  I'll post a pic for you once I get a little further along and the picture starts to develop.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

So it begins...

I began the intarsia portion of Scott's scarf last night.  The whole intarsia in the round thing is pretty easy. I am using the method demonstrated in this video by Planet Purl.  What sucks is that intarsia in the round is still intarsia... and I forgot how much I hate that.  It's not that it's hard to do, it's just a pain in the ass dealing with all the bobbins hanging off the work.  I only got four rows done and already my bobbins are a tangled mess.  Rather than dealing with them, I just threw the whole thing in the drawer and went to bed.  :(  The idea of stranding this entire thing is sounding less and less crazy as I go along... lol.

Monday, October 1, 2012

OMG... Martha!

FYI: Martha Stewart makes yarn now...

It's Smokin'!

I began my brother's "smokinskip" scarf yesterday and I'm already a good nine inches into it.... yay!  Here's a pic, taken around the five inch mark.  I'm not going to start the wording until I'm 10'' in, so I decided to add two purple stripes to the end for decoration.  It's a little hard to see the contrast between the black and purple in this pic, but it's easier to see in person.

You can see my "S" chart in the pic... you have NO IDEA how long it took me to chart this thing out!  I tried using the intarsia chart generators out there, but I just couldn't get them to do what I wanted them to, so I ended up making the chart in excel.  Maybe I'll do a tutorial some day on how to do that.... it's not a very fun process, but it's a good thing to know, I suppose.

In other news, I've been doing some research on how to do intarsia in the round and I think I'm up for the challenge.  (I was originally just going to strand the yarn all the way around the scarf to knit it fair-isle style... but that's just so obviously a bad idea that I know I need to try something else).

p.s.  I can already tell that I bought WAY too much yarn for this thing and I'm dreading the thought of adding more yarn to my completely out of control stash (138 balls and counting...).  *sigh*

Sunday, September 30, 2012

FO: Elefante

UMMM....  I always wondered why I didn't have an Elephante FO post.  I knew I wrote one and I just figured it disappeared somewhere in the vast internets.  Well, no, it turns out that it was just in my draft box.  Oops!  Wonder how that happened.  Anyway, I just found it today, so here you go... a few years late.....

 I knit this darling little elephant for my mom's birthday this year. She loves elephants and I thought this little guy would be cute in her office. I saw the pattern while I was browsing Ravelry and I was instantly attracted to all the bright colors and this guy's cute shape. Best of all, it was a total stashbusting project.

Here he is getting into my plant - I wanted you all to see his cute tail! I think that may be my favorite part of this project.

yarn detailsI busted out the acrylics:
Red Heart Super Saver in Pink
Red Heart Classic Solid in Parakeet
Red Heart Soft Solid in Tangerine and Navy
Caron Simply Soft Brights in Limelight
Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Ranch Red

black safety eyes (10 mm), polyfill, polypellets

project details
pattern: "Elefante" by Susan B. Anderson - it's free!
needles: bamboo sock needles in size 5
hook: E (for the ears)
yarn used: hardly made a dent in any of the skeins
duration: May 4th - July 14th (though maybe 10 hours of actual knitting?)

- Gauge & Needles: I wish I had knit in one needle size down and on metal needles - not the bamboo. This is knit at a really tight gauge and the bamboo needles just weren't pointy enough to grab the stitches with any sort of ease. I also wish I knit it at an even tighter gauge because on the end product the polypellets work their way out occasionally.
- Escaping Pellets: To fix the escaping polypellet problem I would line the pieces with old nylons or something next time. That's what I use to keep the catnip in Roxy's toys, and I bet it would work even better to keep pellets in.
- Jogless Stripes and Weaving as I Went: This was the first time I experimented with jogless stripes and with weaving in the ends while I knit. I used the instructions Stephanie Pearl-McPhee gives in her sock pattern Tiptoe Through the Tulips in the Spring Knitty. Parts of the body look really messy while I was learning the technique, but I think I finally caught on. Weaving in the ends as I went sure as hell was easier than doing it afterwards with a tapestry needle!
- Modification: I left out the plain knit row within the decreases on the bottom of the feet - it made them more flat, but in the end I don't think it really mattered because his feet are weighed down with the pellets, so he wouldn't fall over even if his feet were round.
- Yarn: This guy was supposed to be a stashbuster, but I ended up purchasing the red and turquoise yarns. The red I had in my stash was sport weight and didn't quite work right and the turquoise I had was bulky weight and I had the same problem.
- Head Positioning: People don't seem to like his head down with his trunk hitting the floor like he is pictured in the pattern (and below). We seem to keep sitting him upright, but it's a shame because that hides his darling tail! For the next one I might consider positioning his head higher and just weighing down the body a ton so he won't topple over. I can't quite decide. This picture illustrates that my Elefante doesn't stand quite as steady as Anderson's. His trunk is a little long and his back legs are a little short. If I decide not to sew the head higher, I will at least have to pay closer attention when I am pinning the head and legs on to make sure they all meet the floor correctly. It might even be a good idea to go ahead and shorten the trunk a bit.

(I've already got a second one of these little guys on the needles as a gift for a special little girl, more later...)

Reinforcements Have Arrived

Yay!  My Knit Picks order got here yesterday!  And look what they sent me....  a kitty!!

Ha ha, just kidding.  Roxy just LOVES boxes.  Here's what they really sent me:

As you can see, I'm now the proud owner of a pair of sock blockers.  I think that's my favorite thing in the order.  I also broke down and finally bought some Soak wash for my knits.  I usually just wash them with Woolite, but I've heard so many good things about Soak, and I like that you don't have to rinse it out.

... and what's in the back there?  Yes, I bought a set of foam blocking squares.  I love my blocking board because it has the measuring grid on it, but it's a pain when longer items like scarfs don't fit on the board.  The only problem now is that I'm going to have to figure out where to set these babies up in a place where Roxy can't get to them.  I know she'd just love to sink her claws into that nice soft foam.  Aren't kitties + knitting always a challenge?

Finally, I got the yarn for my brother's scarf and an extra cable and set of needles for my interchangeable circular set.  Funny story: I've had the set for at least two years now but I've never used the size 9 needles, until a few weeks ago when I grabbed them to swatch something and realized that KP screwed up and gave me two sets of size 8 and no size 9 in my kit.  Boo!!  I thought about contacting them to see if they'd give me some size 9 needles, but, honestly, it just sounded like more trouble than it was worth, so I paid the $5 to just get the size 9 needles and be done with it.