Knitting the Light Fantastic

Knitting, spinning, dyeing and other crafty goodness

Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Merino Dreams and Snausages for All

Posted by notthatkat on December 28, 2007


Hope you all had a very Merry. I had a good one hanging out with Lucy and the rest of the family. The hand knit gifts got a very good reception. I think the biggest hits were the sweater for Lucy and Patrick’ s pirate hat.

Lucy Sweater Back

Lucy wore her sweater all day, and seemed to like it rather well. (If she doesn’t like a sweater, she will rub and roll and pull until she gets someone to take it off.) Patrick wore his hat for a while during the day as well, but it was too hot to wear indoors for very long. While I think it could have been a tad longer, Lucy didn’t seem to mind its slightly cropped nature one bit.

Lucy Sweater Side

Isn’t she a character? My sister keeps talking about maybe getting a second dog, but I’m not sure how Lucy would feel about that. She is used to her pampered lifestyle and tends not to play well with others (dogs). So far, Marie has resisted the urge, but I think every time she goes to the local pet store and sees the adoption dogs, she is tempted.

Merino Lace Socks

I finished my Merino Lace Socks on Wednesday night, then stupidly forgot my camera to do a lunchtime (daylight) photo session at work yesterday. The joke was on me, because it rained buckets today, so I had to do indoor photos anyway. Not that I’m complaining. We so desperately need the rain, it can rain as much as it wants to.

Merino Lace Heel

My favorite feature is (still) the heel, with the lace patterning extending down the flap. I’m not sure how it will do in shoes with backs, though, so these might need to be reserved for clogs and other backless shoes. These were fun to knit, and not hard at all once the lace patterning was established. These will almost certainly be my last FO of the year, as I don’t see completing any of my other OTN projects in the next few days.

Colortweed Socks

I cast on these socks once I finished grafting the others. This is Meilenweit Colortweed – the yarn was a gift. This is my first time using it. The colors are not my typical colors, but they are working up nicely. I did a picot hem at the top à la Claudia. Otherwise I am doing a simple stockinette stitch sock. Will probably do the usual heel and toes, but I’ve been wanting to try a band heel for a while, so maybe I’ll do that instead.

Thermal Sleeves

Thermal is back in rotation, with the sleeves growing a fair bit early in the week. I’ve done 11 increase rounds of 17, so maybe about 2/3 of the way to the underarm divide. The tape measure agrees, as I’ve got ~13 inches out of a recommended 19.5. I think my modifications for row gauge are working out swimmingly so far. I think the real test will be the sleeve cap shaping, though, so I’m not celebrating too much yet.

I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to jump back into this project at this stage after being dormant so long, but thanks to good notes and markers (note the safety pins up the side of one sleeve) it didn’t take long at all to find my way again.

Alas, my poor Bee Fields hasn’t had a stitch worked in recent memory. Maybe this weekend, or New Year’s Day. I’m off to Atlanta to visit friends this weekend. See you all on the other side!


Posted in animals, Christmas, Merino Lace Socks, socks, Thermal | 1 Comment »

Christmas Preparations

Posted by notthatkat on December 23, 2007

I’ve been feeling a distinct lack of excitement about the Christmas season this year. I don’t feel Bah Humbug about it, so much as just not getting into it. I suspect this ennui where the holiday is concerned stems, at least in part, from the extremely un-winter like weather we’ve had until recently. The last week or so, we have cooled down (as well as getting some desperately needed rainfall), but last week we were having temperatures in the mid 70’s to low 80’s. There are also some other factors that come into play, but I don’t want to get into them at this time. Hopefully things will work out for the better in the near future.

Ice Queen

I did manage to finish up Ice Queen for my Mom on Tuesday and gave it a gentle blocking. My love for this pattern remains strong, and I highly recommend it. I will be making more in the future.

Ice Queen Mirror Shot

Here’s a (slightly blurry) mirror shot. It can be worn around the neck, like I’m doing here, or pulled up around the face like a hood.

Beaded Picot Bind Off

I especially like the beaded bind off around the bottom. This really gives the edge zing.

Lucy Sweater

I cast on for Lucy’s sweater on Friday evening. (I didn’t knit more than a couple rounds on my current Sock-in-Progress in the interim) . This is where it was last night, just before placing the leg holes.

Lucy Sweater

I finished it this evening, although I still have a few ends to weave in. It is an original design I came up with on the fly. It includes a central braided cable, flanked by two OXOX cables. There is a simple 4 stitch cable running down the chest. The sides are in reverse stockinette. It is pretty similar in basic construction to the one I made her last year, but I changed the cables. I chose to do this since last year’s sweater fits her so well.

Leash Hole

One of my favorite touches is a small opening at the back of the neck, just big enough to slip a leash clasp through.

I braved the mall yesterday to get some last minute shopping done. I don’t actually mind being in the mall, even with all the crowds. The part I object to is the parking. I wouldn’t even care about hiking in from the back of beyond, but getting any parking space at our local mall this time of year is next to impossible. I literally had to circle a good section of the lot for a good 20 minutes before I found a space at all.

Once in, I got the necessary shopping done, then decided to do a bit of shopping for me. I needed a nice outfit for some upcoming functions. I tried on lots of pants and skirts along with tops and a few suits, and was about to give up on finding something that I loved, in favor of something that would do, when I found a great pant suit. It fits well, and is flattering, and suits my needs perfectly. And it was a roaring bargain at 65% off. The only downside is that the suit required the addition of new shoes to the wardrobe, as nothing I had would work quite right with it.

Mary Janes

I wandered over to the shoe department and picked out these. They work fantastic with the suit, and I love, love, love them. I’ve always had a thing for Mary Janes, which I can’t entirely explain. I have no vivid childhood memory of wearing them, or of wanting and not getting them.

Mary Janes

These are basically very grown up Mary Janes. (Those are the pants from the suit in the photo too). They are surprisingly comfortable, given the height of the heel, especially since I rarely wear heels over about an inch and a half. They were deeply discounted as well, although not quite as deeply as the suit. All in all a great shopping excursion for someone who is often ambivalent about shopping in general.

I doubt I’ll be posting over the next couple days, so I hope that those of you who celebrate it have a very Merry Christmas.

Posted in Christmas, Ice Queen | 1 Comment »

Christmas Knitting in Full Swing

Posted by notthatkat on December 14, 2007

The mad dash of Christmas knitting continues. While I deliberately chose not to knit any big items (sweater, big lace, afghan, etc) for anyone this year, I have made little things for everyone in my family.

The clogs were finished Friday night. At least the knitting was finished. Before felting they looked like this (my size 8 foot added for scale):

Unfelted Clogs

After about 20 minutes in the washing machine, they had shrunk down to the proper size:

Felted Clogs

These are the Felt Clogs from Fiber Trends that practically everyone and their brother has knit (at least it seems like practically everyone in the knit blogosphere has knit them at least once or twice). These are quick and easy and come out just great. That Bev Galeskas, she’s a genius, I tell you.

These are for my Dad. I was going to give the bottoms a non-stick treatment, but I think I’ll wait and make sure they don’t need to be felted down a bit more before doing so. I erred on the side of possibly being a smidge too big on the theory that they could always be shrunk down a bit more if need be.


Then on Saturday, I started a pair of Dashing mitts for my brother-in-law. These are a quick and easy knit, and look so nice. They are knit out in Moda Dea Washable Wool in Taupe. I shortened the cuff by a cable repeat (10 rounds) as I felt the length of the cuff as written wouldn’t appeal to the recipient.


I made a dog sweater out of this yarn last year and was surprised by how much I liked it. It has a soft hand, a nice drape, and holds up fairly well. The cabled construction makes stitch work show up very well. And machine washability is an important consideration in my sister’s household. Big thanks to Khebhin for his input on color and letting me use his arm for sizing on Saturday.

Merino Tencle Lace Weight Redux

At my fiber guild meeting on Sunday, I started the second bobbin for my merino tencel lace weight. (This is the yarn I’m spinning for Spun Stitches, if you’re new or don’t remember.) I enjoyed the break I took from it, but I’m looking forward to getting this yarn done. This is how much I managed to spin over the course of the three hour guild meeting. I haven’t managed to spin any more. Hopefully I will make more progress over the weekend. However, no matter how much I want to finish, I still have a ways to go for this. I am not a production spinner in general, but spinning this fine takes extra care and attention and the first bobbin felt like it took forever. Here’s hoping I can get the second one done more quickly.

Alpaca Cloud

A bit of stash diving turned up some lovely grey Alpaca Cloud and I found some nice beads to pair with it. They are clear, but black lined and although I’m not sure they look as good in the picture as in person, they look so great with this yarn. I have lots more of this yarn and might have to use this yarn/bead combination again. On Tuesday night I cast on Ice Queen for my Mom.

Ice Queen

She is almost done. I’m adding a bit of extra length (16 rounds) as she seemed a bit short when I had completed the main part as instructed. I know she’ll grow once blocked, but I’d rather have her a bit on the long side than too short. I am making the garter stitch version, mostly because I like the bead placement better for that one. When I make one for myself, I might make the stockinette stitch version, but use the bead placement from the garter stitch one.

Ice Queen Closeup

Here’s a close up of the beads on the lace. It’s a simple feather and fan pattern and it has gone pretty fast. I love this pattern to an embarrassing degree and could see making several more down the road.

Once Ice Queen is done, I will have only one more item remaining in my Christmas knitting queue – a sweater for my sister’s family dog, a Jack Russell named Lucy.


This is Lucy modeling last year’s Christmas sweater (the one made with the Washable Wool) I make her a sweater every year for Christmas, of original design. I started several years ago when Marie commented on how difficult it is to find sweaters or coats to fit her. Typical of her breed, she has a very deep chest relative to her length. Sweaters that fit her chest tend to be too long, while those that fit her length tend to be too tight. This one was a big hit with both Lucy and the family. I have some more of this yarn in Raspberry for this year’s sweater, but I haven’t even begun to think about what I want to do with it. Oh well, I have a bit over a week to figure it out and get something worked up.

Then it’s back to my neglected Thermal and Bee Fields. They have been patiently waiting their turns to come around again. Soon, my pretties… soon.

Posted in Christmas, Dashing, felt, Ice Queen, knitting, lace | 2 Comments »

*Cough, cough, wheeze, hack*

Posted by notthatkat on December 7, 2007

I woke up Tuesday morning  and there was no denying – I am sick.  Nothing serious, I think, but rather than the typical head cold this has manifested as a sore throat and cough.  Most of the week has been spent just getting by – I spent most of my day off in bed, and the rest of the time it’s pretty much been work and bed.

I have managed to get some knitting done, as I sit or lie in bed and watch TV and count down until I can take more cold medicine.

Branching Out

I managed to get the Branching Out scarf I made for my sister done on Wednesday, although I didn’t manage to get it blocked until this evening.

Branching Out Center

I worked both sides out from a central provisional cast on, rather than working it end to end as the pattern calls for.   I love how it came out, and may have to make this one again.

Branching Out Close

One more picture, because who can resist the magic of blocking? The yarn is Knit Picks Shadow in Lost Lake, a lovely deep heathered green.  I knit this on 4.0 mm (US6) needles rather than the 5.0 mm (US8) called for in the pattern, since I was using laceweight yarn rather than DK.  The scarf ended up being 5″ wide by 64″ long, which I think is quite a respectable length for a lace scarf.

Anyone in my Fiber Guild who doesn’t want to ruin the surprise for the Yankee Trade Sunday best look away now…

They gone?


Next I knit a couple dishcloths to be used as part of my Yankee Trade gift on Sunday.  I’ll add a couple bars of home made soap to these and will feel good about my contribution to the gift exchange.

Lacy Dishcloth

This is the first one I knit and I like it so much, I just may have to knit one for myself.

Lattice Discloth

Next I knit up this one.  It has a neat little double lattice, and the texture will make it good for dishes, but the pattern is a bit fussy and I didn’t love knitting it.  I’m not sure this one’s gonna get repeated any time soon.  Both of these are knit in Sugar n Cream on 5.0 mm (US8) needles.  I’ll find pattern links and put them up when I update my FO page (soon, but not tonight).

As if that weren’t enough, I cast on a pair of felted clogs for my Dad for Christmas.

Unfelted Clog

The first one has been completed, but not yet felted.  Although I didn’t include anything in the picture for scale, believe me when I say it’s ginormous.  If I hadn’t felted a fair bit already, including several pairs of slippers, I would be leery about these shrinking enough to fit.  But I have confidence.  The second clog is barely started, but these are a quick knit so I’m not too worried.

Didya see the smoke ring in the new Knitty?  My Mom might just be getting one of these for Christmas it I don’t run out of time (otherwise, her birthday is in February).  I’m going stash diving tonight, then on a bead hunt after work tomorrow.  Now I’m off to see how well I can knit clogs on narcotic cough syrup.

Posted in Branching Out, Christmas, FO, lace, WIP | 3 Comments »

Where Does the Time Go?

Posted by notthatkat on December 3, 2007

Sorry for appearing to fall of the edge of the earth recently.  I’ve been busy, busy and haven’t spent much time online at all.  First there was the holiday (Hope those of you in the US had a happy one), then my camera went AWOL.  Plus I’ve been working on a little project I’m not ready to go public with at this time.  (and since such phrasing seems to be practically code in the knit blogosphere – NO, I am not pregnant.  That’s all I’m saying about that.)  There has been some knitting accomplished, although not as much as I would have liked.  As I said – busy.

Pirate Hat

I finished the Pirate Hat for my nephew a couple weeks ago.  I had to sew the lining down twice, as the first time it came out wonky.  The second time did the trick.  I love this hat, and am seriously wondering if making myself one would lower the coolness factor of the hat for Patrick.  He’s 14, so seeing someone his parents’ age wear something might automatically lower the cool level, but I am the “cool” aunt, after all.

Fractal Handspun Project

I also finished spinning and plying my fractal yarn last week.  It’s a bit overspun in places (not usually an issue for me), but overall I’m pleased with it.  I like how the colors blend, and the yellow doesn’t seem too overwhelming in the skein.  I’m looking forward to seeing how it knits up.


I decided to work my Thermal sleeves at the same time, using Magic Loop  I have re-figured both the increases and the cap shaping for my smaller row gauge.  They are about a third of the way to the underarms, and so far so good.   I’m still loving this project, but it’s about to go back burner to make way for gift knitting.

Bee Fields

My Bee Fields is almost halfway through the Bee in Field section, which is the last section before the edging.  The rows are very long now, so I don’t tend to get many done at a time.  I consider 3-4 rows in an evening to be good progress.  Ditto the back burner comment for this one as well.

Merino Lace Socks

My Merino Lace socks have managed to get past the heel despite languishing in my Go Knit pouch most of the time and getting very little action.  But when I do work on them, they are tough to put down.  The temptation to keep adding just one more row/round is strong in these.  I had a bit of a situation when I reached the heel only to discover I had dropped a stitch in one of the lace sections a couple inches back.  I tried several times to drop back that section and work it back up, only to have it come out wrong every single time.  Finally I bit the bullet, put the error free sock on a spare pair of needles and ripped back the offending sock to before the mistake(about 2 repeats of the wide lace panel) and reknit those couple inches.  Okay, all things considered, I guess I’ve made a lot of progress on these socks.

Merino Lace Socks

I deviated from my usual preference of short row heels and followed the directions which carries the lace motifs down the heel flap.  I don’t think I’ll ever be a big fan of flap and gusset heels, but in this case, I like the effect.

Branching Out

I cast on Branching Out for my sister on Friday night.   I decided to start from the center with a provisional cast on and work both sides out so they would be symmetrical.  It’s about 2/3 done, with 12 more pattern repeats to go.

Branching Out

It has practically flown off the needles with very little effort on my part.  The yarn is some Knit Picks Shadow that has been marinating in my stash for a while.  I debated long and hard about lengthening it, but decided to go with the number of repeats directed in the pattern.  I know it will grow once blocked, and don’t really think it would look good super long.  Once blocked, I think it will probably go about 4 1/2 to 5 feet, a nice length to tuck under the collar of a dressy coat.

I plan to make felted clogs for both my parents, and possibly something for my brother-in-law (not sure what, but I’m considering options), but overall, my gift knitting for this year in not very ambitious.  Oh, and I need to come up with something fiber related for my fiber guild’s gift exchange this weekend.  It must be fiber related, and has a  $10 price cap.  Right now, I got nothin’.  I’m considering banging out a couple dish/wash cloths and wrapping that up with some soap.  I’ve had a couple other thoughts, but that’s the leader right now.

Posted in Bee Fields, Branching Out, Christmas, Merino Lace Socks, Pirate Hat, Thermal | 1 Comment »