New Year’s Eve, 2007

2008 is going to be a big year for me. I’ll get into college in 2008. I’ll graduate from high school in 2008. I’ll leave the nest in 2008. I’ll live in a dorm in 2008. I’ll vote in 2008.

It feels good so far.

I’m not big on resolutions. I’m not good at keeping them. I’m going to stick to my 101 in 1001 list, because that’s a big list of goals over a longer period. I’m going to start working out more regularly, especially when my senior project starts and I have the extra time in the day.

But right now, my immediate goals are knitting goals. I want to finish my current projects, done, kaput, before starting anything else ambitious. I’m counting three projects I’ve not yet cast-on in this list.

Priority One:
DSCN1642
Molly’s mom’s fingerless mitts. They look finished, but I’m going to undo the bind off and knit them a lot longer. She bought these from me in late November, so I owe it to her to finish them pronto.

Priority Two:
zodiacBEAUTY2
Zodiac sleep sack for Maisie, promised to Kate at Christmas. I will knit this!
1745876832_b312ec83f1
Elefante stuffed toy for Liam. Also promised at Christmas.

Priority Three:
Rogue
The Rogue Cardi. I am in love with this sweater. I’m knitting the sleeves together, and I’m working on the body as well, because I have these grand bizarre plans in which I attach the sleeves right at the start of the sleeve cap and knit the shoulders all as one. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m approaching the critical time. The sleeves reach my elbows, and the body is approaching the armholes. I’m excited.

Priority Four:
Embossed Leaves
Sockdown socks! The first pair, my Embossed Leaves (Ravelry link) socks are under way. The first sock is approaching the heel, and it is beautiful. I’m knitting it in Crash Into Ewe’s Real Silver sock yarn in the colorway “Topaz.” Sue gave it to me for my birthday. It is stunning. These have to be finished by the end of January to qualify.

The second pair is one I have not started yet, but will cast on in the beginning of January. I’m knitting the Thelonious sock from Cookie A. in Sundara Yarn Sport Merino. Prettyyyy. I have to finish them by the end of February to qualify.

Priority Five:
Seaflower Monkey Sock
Seaflower Monkey socks. They’re almost 75% finished, and I’d like to get them done before it gets too warm to wear them. I started them in August.

Priority Six:
Qiviut Project. They were wrist warmers, but I decided the fabric needed to be fluffier and lacier. I’m thinking a cowl of sorts. With lace. Maybe feather and fan.

Priority Seven:
Mystery Stole
The Mystery Stole. I might rip it. I might keep knitting it. I really don’t know. Votes?

So there you are. That’s what I want to finish up.

Happy New Year! Much love to all.

I’m going to go move firewood.
Rogue + Nelson

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“Warrington” Cast-On

The “Warrington” Cast-On Tutorial by Elinor of Spacekitty!
Photos by S, my sister.

So, this is the cast-on I nearly always use, unless disaster strikes. It is perfect, in my mind. It is stretchy, it is neat, it doesn’t get weird and loopy, it doesn’t come apart, it doesn’t require a predetermined amount of yarn. Unless I find this cast-on somewhere else with a formal name, I’m calling it the Warrington Cast-On. Warrington is my mum’s middle name, and my mum taught this cast-on to me, and Warrington sounds better for a cool name than Ann does. You know how it is.

So, here we go! As always, pictures link to Flickr, and can be enlarged.

Step One:
co-1
Make a slip knot. Leave a tail long enough to sew down later, but it actually doesn’t matter! Now put it on your needle of choice. I’m using DPNs, but that doesn’t matter either. I was casting on for a sock.

Step Two:
co-2
With the needle in your left hand, wrap the yarn around your right index finger and thumb, and grab the yarn attached to the ball with the rest of your fingers. The yarn goes clockwise from the needle at 9, around your index at 12, thumb at about 4, and then to the middle.

Step Three:
DSCN1757
With the tip of the needle, pick up the strand of yarn that runs from your thumb to the middle. Apparently, I also hold down the other stitches with the index finger of my left hand. Pick up the strand from underneath, not above, otherwise you will run into trouble.

Step Four:
co-4
Now get the tip of the needle over top of the strand that runs from index finger to thumb. Imagine you’re aiming, with the tip of the needle, for the first joint of your index finger (the metacarpophalangeal joint, if you want to get technical… ;D).

Step Five:
co-5
Run the needle tip up along your index finger, basically looping the yarn that runs from index finger to thumb around the tip of the needle. Be gentle: don’t stab yourself.

Step Six:
co-6
Drop the yarn around your index finger off of your index finger. Again, be gentle. Your thumb is going to head for the tip of the needle, which is good.

Step Seven:
co-7
Put the loop of yarn on your thumb over the tip of the needle. Otherwise you get stuck. Again, put the loop of yarn that’s around your thumb over the tip of the needle.

Step Eight:
co-8
Drop the loop off of your thumb. You’re still holding the needle in your left hand, and the yarn end in your right hand.

co-9
This is what the stitch should look like as you pull it snug.

Step Nine:
co-10
Pull the loop tight, and re-wrap your yarn to start at the beginning (step 2).

Cast on as many stitches as you need for your project. I do not recommend this cast-on for yarn that is a single ply, like Malabrigo. This cast-on ends up twisting the yarn quite a bit, and I guarantee that it will fuck up your one-ply yarn, specifically by untwisting it and making it break. Use a cable cast-on or a knitted cast-on or something else.

But otherwise, I use this for everything. Sock cuffs, sweater hems, sweater sleeves, hats. It’s good for ribbing and stockinette, perfect for starting right in pattern, and totally neutral. No one side is the knit-side or the purl-side of the cast-on.

Questions? Comments? Leave a comment on this post, and I’ll get back to you. Cheers! Enjoy.

Christmas!

Happy Christmas, everyone. Today’s been lovely so far. I got up this morning and made “I’ll knit you something” coupons for the family (and a “I’ll buy you sock yarn” coupon for my mum). We opened stocking presents, and the extended family came over for breakfast. There was lots of chaos and craziness and little kids and our-house-is-too-small and cows-don’t-go-in-glasses-Liam, but it was nice. J and his family just left too, on their way to their own grand Christmas, and I gave him his Silver Surfer shirt, which I think is hilarious and I’m not sure whether he’ll wear it, but it was $3 at Goodwill, and I have a Spiderman shirt, so there.

Dad gave us all LED flashlight/laser pointers, and guess what the cats have been up to all morning! It’s easy to play with them now, with minimal effort… in the other room! They’re great.

There’s a party later today that I could go to, but mostly I’m hoping for lots of this:
fire!

And plenty of this:
sweater, chilling

(I mean the pile of knitting, not the guitar.)

Hopefully, I won’t feel enough guilt to work on a college supplement, but I might feel inspired today. Otherwise, I’m going to work on a sock pattern.

Merry Christmas!

Winter Break – and a Fingerless Mitten pattern

I swear there’s been knitting!

School just got out for break on Friday, with my last Holiday Concert! Ahh! Then I went to pick up J at his house (he’s not driving because he got his wisdom teeth out and is enjoying the effects of hydrocodone, yeaah), and took him home. We hung out for a while, then his parents came and got him to go to a movie, and I went to a Christmas-bring-your-grown-daughter party. It was a fun party, even though my mum decided the party started at 7, when it actually started at 7:30, and most people didn’t arrive until 8. Awkward. But fun! Mum and I got time to talk finally, which we haven’t done since like, Monday.

This week at school, I knitted feverishly to finish these:
Sam's gloves
and these:
Molly's mitts

Plz to forgive unattractive fingernails.

Also, I’ve gotten 10″ finished on the body of my Rogue cardigan:
Rogue side

It is beautiful! So soft and pretty.

And yesterday, I got to work on my Seaflower Monkey socks (which haven’t seen the light of day for like, ever). They are pretty, and I started the heel flap on the second pair.

Fingerless Mitten Pattern

So, the pattern for the mitts is totally made up. It goes like this (worked on 2 circs, possible on DPNs):

Cast on an even number of stitches (40 for Molly’s, 44 for Sam’s).
Knit in 2×2 ribbing for a couple of inches. Knit straight stockinette for another couple inches.
Begin thumb gusset increasing:
K1, m1, k1, place marker. Knit around to last 2 sts in round: place marker, k1, m1, k1.
Knit a plain round.
Every other round, increase once before the stitch just before the marker (easier to increase here than right at the marker).

Continue until thumb part seems somewhat outrageous (Sam’s is 24 stitches, Molly’s is probably 24 also).
On an increase round, knit to second marker, remove marker, k1, m1, stop. Leaving a fairly long tail, pick up new yarn (the other end of the ball) and knit the thumb stitches. Knit the front thumb stitches with the new yarn (before the m1; you’ll need that for the hand), and stop. With the yarn on the back of the mitt, knit the rest of the hand. You are now knitting the hand and thumb at the same time, as if you were doing two socks at once or something. I like to put the marker back in between hand and thumb so I don’t get the yarns switched, but after a couple of rows they divide and it’s hard to knit the thumb to the hand again after that.

Keep knitting straight for the hand (make sure you have the same number of stitches on the hand as you did before the thumb gusset started). Also knit the thumb straight, until it sits where you want it on your thumb (Sam’s is longer, closer to my thumbnail, and Molly’s sits at my thumb joint because she has smaller hands than I). Cast off thumb stitches. Keep knitting on hand until it reaches the desired length.

Cast off all stitches.

Weave in ends, sew up the hole at the thumb with the end of the thumb yarn. Yay!

Sam's gloves

And my birthday is tomorrow!

Current News

So, I don’t really know where to start: with the happy or the sad. I think I’ll start with the happy so I don’t look like a jerk.

Last Tuesday, I went to my first Weaver’s Guild of Greater Baltimore guild meeting. I joined the guild! They were having their biannual craft show thing, and I puttered around and saw people I knew (Hi Sandi!) and met lots of people. Feeling like I had to (and not resisting that feeling), I bought a 4 oz. ball of Merino top in the colorway “Sky” from the lovely ladies of Spinning Flock Farm. It is lovely and rich and soft. I’m excited to spin a solid color.

Spinning Flock farm

Also, I have been working on some commissioned fingerless gloves for Genna. They are to be Christmas presents for her kids, one of which is a good friend of mine (and Genna is awesome).

Since this picture, I have finished these mitts, and they are long in the finger department. They are lovely.
Molly's mittens

The yarn is so beautiful in the ball, too:
Mirasol Hacho

I’m knitting the second pair now.

The only other thing I’ve been working on consistently is my beautiful Rogue sweater.
Rogue progress

The body’s about 5 inches high now, and I love it. I’m double knitting the pockets, which is a feat in itself, and I’m enjoying it!

Rogue side cable
This is the side cable. My mum made those stitch markers.

So, now to the sad. House fires seem to be big this season. Thursday morning we got to school and found out that one of our sophomore’s house had burned down at 4 that morning, his little sister had died, and he and his father were in critical condition. His mother was unhurt. His two older sisters immediately came home from college and job, and Thursday and Friday were rough at school. His dad was moved from Shock Trauma Friday night to Sinai, suffering mostly from a broken hip from jumping from the house, and spent the night with his family, next to Matt, who was on life support.

Saturday morning, Matt died. I didn’t really know Matt, but he affected a lot of people, and I am sad. I know his older sister, my family knows his family; I feel like I’m once removed several ways. Monday was worse than Thursday, obviously. We had a half-day in the upper school, with an assembly and counseling sessions, and open activities. The tenth grade is hit really hard, and there’s just the ambient grief that can’t be avoided. I don’t know what the rest of the week will be like.

Sequential Sun articles are here:
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_city/bal-fire1207,0,573993.story

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_city/bal-md.ci.fire08dec08,0,4928125.story


http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/baltimore_city/bal-teen1209,0,4047409.story

So, I’m a little run down, but knitting helps, obviously. Just be careful with your fireplaces, everyone.

Pay it Forward

I’d take a picture of the snow we got, but it’s dark by now, and that would be a boring picture. We got about 3 inches, and it stopped snowing (I think?) around 6:30. It might still be snowing, but it’s very hard to tell.

But the real reason we are here! It’s time to Pay it Forward! Like in that movie! Only no one gets shot, I promise.

I hereby pledge to send a handmade gift to the first three people who comment on this entry. No real promises about time frame, but it’ll be within the next 365 days. In return, you have to post the same offer on your blog, and prepare to send a gift to three other people.

What am I working on? I’m (re)knitting a pair of fingerless mitts for a friend’s mom, along with two new pairs for her, which will be Christmas gifts for her children (my friend and her brother). They are very cute, but I should make them a priority instead of getting so distracted by my sweater.

Speaking of which! I’m working, finally, on the body of my Rogue cardi! I’m double-knitting the pockets on, now, and it’s very cool (but rather involved). It makes me feel really smart to sit there in play rehearsal with my three balls of yarn and my two kangaroo-ish-DK pockets. I love that sweater. I have about three inches of the body done, and I love it.

I have some other stuff languishing right now, and soon I should maybe start those Christmas gifts for my cousins(!). Liam, I’m thinking, is getting a cute sweater, while Maisie (new!) is getting a Zodiac sleep-sack. I don’t know if they’ll be finished by Christmas, but I’m going to give them to them. Because those are two cute kids.

I love knitting.

Comment! Pay it forward!