Monday, July 27, 2009

Free Pattern!

What is this curious object??

It is a Marina's Soap Sock, of course! This idea comes to you courtesy of wonderful knittergal Marina, who took my Double-Knitted Felted Clutch Class and then went home and ran with the whole concept of double-knitting. Double-Knitting is a super-cool technique that allows you to knit a tube on straight needles. It's great for small diameter objects (like a Soap Sock!) that wouldn't fit around a circular needle. Marina made Soap Socks for her husband and one for me.

Here she is, displaying her handiwork:

That was the nicest thing a student's ever done for me! It works wonderfully! How did I live my life without Soap Socks for so long? Anyway, serendipitously, my husband suddenly mentioned the other day that he needed something to corral his soap and I immediately thought, Marina's Soap Sock! So I purchased some lovely lime green Lily Sugar 'n' Cream cotton yarn (which was surprisingly nice to knit with!) and knocked out a Soap Sock for him. I added a little I-cord loop so he could hang it up thusly:

You probably need to make a bunch of them - one for yourself, of course and then one for every loved one you can think of. You'll be very popular. It took me about a half an hour to knit this. And hey, here's a thought! A couple of years ago, Gus and I made soap. It's so easy you can't believe it - you can buy glycerin in solid form at your local craft store, plus molds and fragrance and dye. You melt the glycerin in the microwave, stir in some dye and fragrance (if you want) and then pour it into the mold. Voila! You've made soap! Wouldn't some handmade soap and a handknit Soap Sock make a nice gift??!!! You know it would!

Marina's Soap Sock
(fits most bars of soap)

25 yards of worsted weight cotton
#7 needle
spare circular needle size #7 (or any size close)

Gauge: approximately 4.5 sts/1"

Cast on 20 sts. You will now be double-knitting the Sock as follows:
*Knit 1, bring yarn forward between needles, slip next stitch as if to purl, bring yarn to back between needles; repeat from * across the row.

Repeat this row until Sock measures approximately 4" long (or a smidgeon longer than your particular bar of soap). Now you are ready to bind off. Take your spare circular needle and slip the first stitch on the #7 off onto one point of the circular needle (Point A). Slip the next stitch from the #7 needle onto the other point of the circular needle (Point B). Slip the next stitch onto Point A, then the next one onto Point B, etc. Continue this until all of the stitches are now on the circular needle. Bind off until there are 2 stitches left. Work a 4" I-cord, knit last 2 stitches together, leaving a 6" tail. Fold I-Cord in half and sew or knot onto Sock at the base of the I-Cord.

Insert soap and give to loved one. Done and done.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What's On The Needles

This cool gorgeous weather has made me feel particularly knitter-y lately. Usually I knit minimally during the summer, but I've been sitting outside knitting almost every day this summer. What the what?!

I finally finished the Aestlight Shawl. It was quite a drama finishing up the edging. The pattern called for 440 yards and I picked a yarn that had 420, figuring, oh, they always overestimate by a lot. Well, no actually they didn't. I finished the edging with 10 inches of yarn to spare.

Oof. I didn't have enough to bind off the top edge, but that was okay. I found some close-looking brown alpaca and bound off the top. But I wanted the edging to all be in one yarn. Thank you, Guardian Knitting Angel!! Here it is, after THREE rinses (that's dye not dirt, good thing I rinsed it!!):

Here it is, blocked and pinned, with the cats eyeing it suspiciously:

Mary met with a yarn rep the other day and bought a pattern for me to take out for a spin. She and I have been looking high and low for the perfect fair-isle pattern to use in a class in January. Nothing was quite right. Until this pattern!! This is the Meriboo Fingerless Mitt:

The pattern had a lot of errors (just careless omissions really), but they were easy to figure out, and I LOVE how this turned out. I'll tweak some things on the 2nd one, but I love this. I've done tons and tons of colorwork, but never something this fair isle-y, so color-intense.

The pattern also included a matching hat, so I thought I'd try that out as well. I lurve the construction of this hat. It was much easier than the fingerless mitts, so I think this will be the class I teach. Here it is, almost to the decrease section. I think this turns out to be some sort of beret/Scotch Bonnet type of shape, but I'm not 100% sure because you can't tell in the pattern picture:

Finally, I succumbed to the siren song of the instant PDF download and spent a pleasant hour or so browsing patterns on Ravelry. I downloaded this:

Criss-Cross Lace Scarf by Anne Hanson (Knitspot). The yarn is the mighty Sheep Shop 3 - stashbuster! It looks prettier all finished and folded in place, but it's a cute little scarf.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Great Moments in Mighty Momogus Technology

Matthew and I took the plunge and bought Iphones recently. I joked to the salesman at the AT&T store that my old cellphone was like "a Flintstones phone". And was met by a blank stare. He was too young to know about the Flintstones!! So of course that made me giddy, and I couldn't stop talking about how "I had to chisel text messages on a stone tablet" and how "that pterodactyl would carry the stone tablets in its mouth to deliver them" all while the young salesperson is smiling politely and carefully back at me.

Anyway, I love love love my new Iphone. I'm still exploring its technology-y goodness, but I had a particularly 21st century moment yesterday. Gus and I went to the local sports shoe store to get him some substantial knocking around sneaks. We found a pair that we liked, but they were lace-ups, which I know both Gus and I are too lazy to deal with. I made a sad face to the salesguy about no slip-ons, and he said, "Oh we can make any lace-up shoes slip-ons now!" I asked him how this could be, and he said, "We relace them with elastic laces with a bungee closure. We all use them now." Hey, cue heavenly choir of angels!!! No more lace-up shoes ever!

So we bought the shoes, and Gus chose nice neon orange bungee laces. I was so overwhelmed with happiness that I took a crazy leap from Flintstones to 2009 technology. I said, "I'm going to take a picture of your new shoes with my Iphone and then email it to your father with my Iphone." And that's what I did, right then and there on Glenside Avenue. It was a particularly Star Trek sort of moment. Why didn't I just beam us to West Philadelphia to show Matthew in person??!!

Anyway, here are the shoes:

Please note that these are a size 6. When I bought Gus basketball shoes in February they were a size 4. What the what?? He's growing like a crazy bean.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Some Baseball and Some Knitting

Happy Bastille Day!

The Phillies released our beloved Chris Coste yesterday. The Astros picked him up right away (hello, Ed Wade??), so that was good, but we will miss him. We've enjoyed following his career. Here he is on Photo Day, 2006, as a 30-yr-old rookie:

In other Phillies news, it looks like Pedro Martinez is going to become a Phillie in the next few days. This is as (or even more) bizarre than the most bizarre coming-to-the-Phillies-late-in-your-career to date. This man:

(photo courtesy of We Should Be GMs)

Yes, that's Fernando Valenzuela in a Phillies uniform. His signing with the Phillies has reverberated around my brain for years. I had to look up the dates - he spent part of the 1994 season with the Phillies. In 8 games and 45 innings, he was 1-2 with an ERA of 3.00. I can't believe it was that recent - I thought it was in like 1979 or something. My brain is getting squishy. Anyway, Petey's going to be a Phillie! I'm hoping that this paves the way for the Phillies to trade Happ to the Blue Jays, so that Roy Halladay will also be a Phillie. Cross yer fingers.

In knitting news, I've been trying to come up with a one ball Kureyon scarf. If you are anything like me, you will succumb to the siren song of Kureyon's colory goodness every time it crosses your path. I have an unfortunate tendency to buy only one ball, which isn't good for much. I thought if I came up with the ultimate one-ball scarf, knitters everywhere would shout my name from the rooftops. Not much luck, though.

I wanted to do a lengthwise scarf that would take advantage of Kureyon's stripey goodness. This was my first attempt.

It actually looks better in the photo than it does in real life. The pattern is Seafoam from Barbara Walker's
Second Treasury. It's a little narrow, only about 3" wide after blocking, but the length is right, about 60". I may have to sacrifice some length to make it a little more substantial and wider. The pattern is great for a horizontal scarf, but it needs more than one repeat to really look effective and I just can't squeeze that out of one ball. It was a fun process though. Back to the drawing board.

I am heading down the homestretch with the Aestlight Shawl. I have half the edging done and have turned the pointy corner in the middle. I'm a little bit nervous about how little yarn I have left. I don't mind if I have to bind off the top with something different, but I don't want to have to use a different yarn to finish the edging. And I don't want to drop another $20 to buy another ball, just to finish off a bit of edging. Living on the edge:

I finished these a while ago, but didn't post a picture. Cozy Cabled Mittens, an awesomely fun project:

All-Star Game tonight. Many Phillies, beloved Charlie Manuel, who could ask for anything more?!

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th of July, y'all!

Gus and I went for a walk on this glorious morning. Here are some random images from our walk:
What the what?? Why are there chickens walking around our neighborhood?? What are the people going to do who found the chicken? What if I had found the chicken?

As part of our walk, we bought donuts and sat in the Ardsley Cemetery to eat our breakfast, where we saw this:
This is the grave of Chief Bender, Hall of Fame pitcher for the A's and the Phillies. Go here to read more about his remarkable career. I actually happened upon this on a walk a few years ago (the Cemetery is only a few blocks from the house and is a pleasant place for a walk) and was quite startled. I knew that he was a Philadelphia baseball figure, but this grave is set very matter-of-factly in the middle of the cemetery with no special markings or anything. You'd just have to know who he was.

Here is a pretty purple coneflower in our backyard:

And finally, here is a cherry pie. Sour cherries (we get one box a season, so they are extremely precious) from our Herrcastle Farms CSA, recipe from Mark Bittman, courtesy of dear friend Lisa. This pie is the operative definition of ding dang DELICIOUS!!

Happy 4th of July, everyone!!