Thursday, February 23, 2012

On the Needles...

Over the last few weeks I’ve had a lot of projects on the needles, and while this can sometimes be overwhelming, right now it feels like a good mix of projects.

There have been two pairs of socks. The first is a brown pair in Lion Sockease, that I thought would be good for work (I have to wear brown to work - sigh). They are turning out all right, but I’m waffling on whether or not I really like them.
The second pair is a one that I started when I needed something completely mindless to work on while I ran a meeting. They are in Zauberball Crazy, and it’s the first time I’ve knit with this yarn. I have three balls, and this is the most colorful of the three. It’s entrancing how the colors change from one to the other, much more gently than I thought they would.
It’s reminded me that there’s nothing wrong with knitting plain old socks. So many knitters are working on lace socks now. They’re everywhere. I made a couple of pair in the past, and while they are pretty, they’re just not for me. I don’t like putting holes in my socks intentionally! I am fond of cables and texture patterns, though, and I like knitting them, although they take a little more work and concentration. But for pure satisfaction, you can’t beat socks in simple stockinette stitch. They almost fly off the needles, they’re so easy!

Aside from socks, I’ve been working on more baby booties, washcloths, and catnip toys. These are all the “take-along” projects. At home, I’m trying to finish the second square of the new cat bed, and I unearthed an old toddler sweater that only needed a few rows of button band.

And I whipped up a pair of scuffs from Lopi yarn over a weekend and then fulled them in the washer with the laundry. After three cycles, I’m wondering if they’re done. They are still a little large for me, so do I stop and use them as a gift or sell them, or do I try one more cycle? They may not shrink any further.
I’m still hoping this weekend to pull out one of large sweater projects and make some progress on it, but until a big chunk of time comes along, these small projects are great for filling in. And since I’m still on a mad dash to burn through as much stash as possible, the more knitting, the better!

Monday, February 06, 2012


One of my recurring knitting projects is slippers. They make good gifts, and I like to have at least one new pair for myself each year. I have one pattern that I make again and again, even though I like to try others to see how they compare.

Three years ago I made this pair of slippers for myself. Nothing fancy – one strand of acrylic worsted weight, combined with a couple strands of fine mohair coned yarn. After a few washings they became nice, sturdy slippers.
Now, after two years of wear, I noticed that the soles were just about to wear out into holes, and this time, rather than just toss them and make another pair, I decided to try and do something about it.

This particular slipper design has a nicely defined line of stitches running along each side of the foot. I found some leftover wool/acrylic yarn in a dark gray, and cast on 15 stitches, which by eyeballing it, looked like the right amount. By knitting back and forth in plain garter stitch, and slipping the edge stitches, I ended up with a piece long enough to stitch in place. I did a few decreases at the top where the toe shaping was, whip stitched the patch to the slipper, and voila – slippers restored!
The patch will provide an extra layer of cushioning as well as cover up the thin spots. I suppose eventually it will wear out as well, and maybe by that time, I’ll be ready to toss this pair.

So what did this action save? It saved a pair of slippers from the landfill (they were acrylic – couldn’t burn or compost them). It saved time – a couple of hours knitting and stitching, versus a couple of days making a whole new pair. It saved materials, although, for someone wanting to use up stash, this wasn’t so important. And the small amount of yarn for the patches came from a sweater project that someone else gave me, that I was unraveling, so I guess it saved money by not having to buy yarn.

Besides getting a rejuvenated pair of slippers, I also gained the knowledge that this kind of repair was not only possible, it was easy, and there was no need to “over-think” it (which I had done in the past, until I made my own head swim and gave up without trying). And there’s something about this kind of small accomplishment that gives a sense of confidence. If I can mend slippers, I can do anything!

My world needs more of that – how about yours?