Friday, December 21, 2007

Size Does Matter

In knitting anyway. As in, smaller items finish faster than larger items. Who'da thunk it?

Today's gift knitting tip of excessive obviousness brought to you by the following:

Not one, not two but three Knitty nosewarmers for gifts - two went off to my daughter's school (teacher and principal) thus cementing our reputations as the crazy ones - and one for my long suffering SIL who lives far enough away that she won't have to be seen in it ever if she doesn't want to. Unfortunately in a fit of complete flakiness, I forgot to photo the two headed to school and they are long gone. Oddly, they looked very much like this one (for my dear SIL) only done in the nice sober solid red that matches the scarf for the teacher (since they were made from the remainder of the skein). The principal was confuddled. If nothing else, he has a dining out story (as my family terms such things - the blog fodder of an earlier age - earlier than mine even) now.

apparently I'm shedding again - oops
An iPod case for part of a niece's gift. I kinda like how the colors stacked. I think if you're 13 it might look not too un-cool. I hope so anyway. The 20-something I showed it to seemed to like it. I think at worst my neice will like the iTunes card that is going to go inside even if the case itself is not so cool.

whoops, I forgot to tell you you'd need sunglasses

I realize this photo lacks scale but it is the closest color match so you'll have to trust me that a video iPod will (probably - I didn't actually have one to try) fit in here. The button is an almost antique out of my grandmother's button tin. I think it is not older than me but it's darn close to it.

I scratched another thing off my list by deciding to give something to weave with instead of a woven something for this year's guild meeting. It appeared to be a satisfactory offering and I made out like a bandit. More on that another day.

I finished the Remembrall's socks. They still need to be wrapped because they took forever to dry since I had to hide them while they did. But they are done.

Look! Twinsies!

Hers are the small ones. The big ones are mine that I finished a while back. I hope the twinsies thing isn't a problem for her because I kinda like my socks.

The FoUI's socks on the other hand. Not so close.

Look stripes!

No wait, limpid pools! ... "Oh bother", said Pooh.

But then he's got something like 4 times the surface area on his feet so size really does matter and hers should be done first. Of course, his should be down to the heel on the first sock and they ain't yet. Not even close. But I haven't given up hitting my Christmas goal for that one. (I like denial. It's a nice place to live.) The photos are both sides of one sock just in case anyone was thinking I had gotten started on the second already. Sadly, I haven't. But now that I think about it, I should. I've decided I don't care what the colors do. Striping or pooling or little puddles amid the stripes or what, it's all good. (See. Denial solves all sorts of problems.) I kinda like the way they couldn't seem to decide in the ribbing anyway. There's not enough of the stockinette section to see what they are going to do there yet and it might be different.

The knitting conundrum that continues to conund is trying to think of something to knit for my best friend. Well, something I can actually finish in the time available. I really need it done no later than Twelfth Night. Which is getting closer faster than I am figuring anything out. I am otherwise set except for a bit of shopping. Well, and SIL's vest which may be a Twelfth Night thing too or may end up being a Valentine's present. We'll see. But I'm not gonna stress about any of it.

What is surprising to me is that I am actually quite enjoying knitting things for people for Christmas/Holiday gifts. I've got quite a long list I'm considering for next year so I think come the New Year I may start on next year's gifts. Well, some of them. I have this really good idea for my best friend but it will take almost all year I think. Which is why she doesn't have it yet despite my having bought both yarn and pattern in the spring.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Gift Knitting Conundrum

Actually there's a whole lot more than one conundrum isn't there? There's the one where you wonder if the prospective recipient is going to like the item. And the one where you wonder if they are going to appreciate it as "I loved you so much I made it myself" instead of "I was too cheap to pay someone else to make it for me". And then the one where you wonder if you're insane for trying to do so much gift knitting. And then the one where you acknowledge that yep, you were insane but what do you do about it now that you've basically promised hand-knit/woven/sewn items to people. Even if only in your own mind. And then, a new wrinkle for me this year, and the reason for such a long time between posts this time: What do you blog about if you're doing gift knitting and you're worried that the recipients might see your blog? Because there's at least two who might...

Too cowardly to face any of the other conundrums, I've decided to deal with the last one by just going ahead and blogging things. If people see something they realize is for them then they can nag me to do my holiday knitting and I'll get it done faster. Or you know, not if they think it's a crappy idea I guess. Anyway this way I can solicit opinions from any readers (thank you all for reading by the way - it still amazes me that people actually do - I'm very grateful) to help me hurry up and decide about stuff already. So, if you're expecting a gift this year and you want it to be a surprise back away now.

I have a couple of FOs to show. Well, except one of them needs tweaking I think. This is more of that one step forward two steps back thing that happens to me sometimes. And some WIPs to talk about. And some ideas to be talked out of or something.

The first FO is a pair of Maine Morning Mitts (from The Knitter's Book of Yarn link is direct to PDF on Knitter's Review) made for my DSIL for her birthday. She's got them now so I can show them without having to worry about that last conundrum at all in this case.
Maine Morning Mitts in Noro Kureyon color 88

This was my first experience with Noro yarns (other than the Hana silk which I have seen and used before although not to knit with) and I had no idea the color run was so long in Kureyon. I find it rather intriguing actually and I may have to get some more to play with hats or more mitts or vests or something down the road. After the holidays.

More FOs:
There's actually two even though only one is pictured.

Yes I know they are silly. But they do keep one's nose warmer than without. And that isn't a great photo either - I was in a rush. I made one for my daughter (hereafter to be referred to as the Remembrall because she never forgets anything you tell her - like for example that you'll knit her something such as, by way of example, a nose-warmer - and further that you'll make yourself one too so that you both can wear them while walking to school) as well but she declined to find it when she saw the camera was involved. I think I might try modifying the pattern a bit though because I still end up with my glasses getting steamed up when I exhale. Unless I breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth but I'm not really coordinated enough to manage that all the time.

Holiday Gift Knitting:

I had this scarf about half done for the Red Scarf Project last year but realized it wasn't going to be wide enough for requirements so stopped working on it. I dragged it out last month and finished it up for the Remembrall's third grade teacher.
Mistake Rib Scarf in Cascade 220 Superwash actual color is more red and less wine
I hope he'll like it. I'm not sure what he's gonna think about the matching nose-warmer that the Remembrall wants me to make for him. I am sure it's gonna need explaining. Since she wants me to make one for the Principal too maybe they will actually both wear them one day. We'll see. That could be amusing.

My husband, hereafter to be referred to as the FoUI (aka Font of Useless Information although actually it really ought to be the FoUIaaP - "Font of Useless Information and also Puns" since the puns come as regularly as the useless information but I decided that was too much typing for regular use) recently actually almost whined (he's really not much of a whiner - another reason he's a total keeper) about when was I going to knit him a pair of socks. So I started some socks out of Blue Moon STR lightweight in "Smokey Blue" and then he said they weren't really thick enough or loud enough (I asked, this wasn't a volunteered complaint) so I ordered this:
Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Heavyweight in "Jailhouse Rock"
to make socks for him out of. I'm not too sure I'm gonna get finished by the 25th though. We'll see. Considering how much thicker it is than the lightweight I have a better chance than if I had stuck with the lightweight socks I think. Still, so far all I have is this:
Seeley Socks for the FoUI

which somehow looks slightly less loud now, especially in the ball than it did in the skein doesn't it?

The Remembrall got her order for hand knit socks in sooner than her daddy did (plus her feet are half the size or a quarter the volume) so they are to this point:
Remembrall's socks

These are just simple toe up socks sort of based on Wendy's generic Sportweight toe up gusset heel pattern but modified for the Remembrall's smaller feet. They are made from the leftover Lorna's Laces from my sportweight socks because the Remembrall is still young enough to be happy about socks that match Mommy's - I hope. And even after making reasonably long socks for her I have a tiny bit of yarn left over from the first skein anyway. I'll probably end up having to make doll socks too at this point.

Mum's socks are at the bottom of the list because she wants thin socks and so they'll take the longest. But I did cast on and get started. Mum is diabetic so if anyone has any good links about socks for diabetics beyond the Knitty article I'd love to have them. Right now I'm trying some Tofutsies socks but they aren't very far along yet:
Do I get credit for starting?

And they'll be slow since they're a fine yarn. I'm using the size needle called for on the yarn label but I think I might need to drop down a needle size. They look a little open really but I can't tell for sure until I get to the stockinette part. But the plus side, is my Mum's birthday is in January so if I miss Christmas I have a built in fall-back.

My DSIL is hard to find gift ideas for but she did confess a desire for a subdued colored vest so I ordered this:
Noro Iro - all 5 are the same color and dyelot even though the front two look quite different

to make a simple vest for her out of. I forgot to get details about what kind of vest exactly she wanted so she's getting a simple side to side garter stitch one for Christmas because there's a vague (practically see through) hope of me actually getting that done in time.

I've also got to come up with a knitted or knitted and felted iPod carry case for my niece. But I think that should be fairly easy. They abound on the net do they not? And after all the point of the iPod is that it is small so that should be totally doable. As long as I can make my mind up of course.

My best friend is a better knitter than I am so it's always intimidating to think about knitting a gift for her. But she gave us each our own knitted stocking last year (stranded color-work ones even!) so I want to give her something just as nice. I have a pattern and yarn I want to do for her but realistically, it will take until next Christmas to get that done even if I had already started. And I haven't yet. So now I'm trying to decide what to do for her this year. She knits and spins and probably also weaves still (she is the one who got me started) and who knows what else she crafts - I can't keep up - so I was thinking maybe I should just try to find some nice fiber or yarn and or a gift certificate to a LYS. So here's the request for suggestions: If you're a knitter/spinner would you rather get raw materials or a gift certificate for a LYS or an actual finished thing?

I'd also appreciate any feedback about my options for making something for this year. My thoughts involving actually marginally realistic options for my knitting her something were the following:

Maybe a simple pair of ruffled cuff mitts from this Koigu KPPPM skein.

Maybe this Falling Water Lace Scarf option.
Or, I thought about noodling up a lacy scarf pattern of my own. I've even charted one I think might look nice in some merino/tencel from a sock yarn club. So I think I will also try that out.

See, this is why I get so little done. I spend so much time pondering. And yet, still never manage to take over the world...