Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Feet

John's feet are now comfy and cozy in his new socks.

New Socks and Zeke

Started on November 1 (John's birthday) and finished on December 22. Call them a belated birthday gift or an early Christmas gift.


Basic Stockinette Socks
Short-row Heels and Toes
Worked on 68 Stitches
US 1 1/2 (2.5 mm) DPNs
Mountain Colors Bearfoot
Red Tail Hawk
60% Superwash Wool, 25% Mohair, 15% Nylon

I was able to get a man-size pair of socks from one 350 yard skein. I had a little yarn left over, but not much. Stockinette stitch was a wise choice as it uses less yarn. I might have had enough for a ribbed pattern on the leg, but I'm glad I didn't risk it. I would have been sweating out those last few inches and most likely would have run short.

The only complaint I have with this particular skein of yarn is that the color bleeds a lot when washed. Even after the first wearing and second wash there was an unusual amount of dye in the water. I thought I had fixed that with a vinegar rinse the first time. Anyone know of something else I can do to set the dye? The color is so rich, I don't want it to fade away.


This pair brings my lifetime total of hand knit socks to 20. This is the third pair I've made for John.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Gifts

The Fiber Related Gifts:


--The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn by Clara Parkes
I've only had time to skim through this book, but I love what I see. Very interesting reading for a knit geek like me and lots of great projects too. I want to knit all of them.

--Digital postal scale for weighing yarn or roving
I think this is going to come in handy.

--Line Counter
Originally designed to measure fishing line, but I plan to use it to measure yarn. I haven't tried it yet, so I'm not sure how well it will work. No, I will not share it with John. Wool should smell like sheep, not fish.

The Big Gift:
Last year it was a spinning wheel, but this year it has nothing to do with spinning or knitting. I won't say what is just yet--not until I have a chance to use it and to get good pictures. Here's a hint though--accessories include a milk crate, cargo net and dry bag. Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about. Pictures soon, I hope.

The Best Gift:
Without a doubt, the best gift was having the kids home for Christmas.

Matt and Robyn

It was very windy the day we went to the beach, which made for some interesting designs in the sand.



Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Knitted for Christmas

The Christmas knitting can now be revealed.

My Hat of Choice and Maine Morning Mitts
Yarn: Monos del Uruguay
Color: Persimmon
Needles: US 8 (hat), US 7 (mitts)
Great patterns! I'd love a set for myself.

Cotton Washcloths
Yarn: Lion Cotton
Colors: Maize and Khaki
Needles: US 7
Began decreases after 60 stitches.
Paired with Bay Rum Soap from Herbaria.

Boyfriend Hat
Yarn: Lion Wool
Color: Cocoa
Needles: US 7
Cast on 90 stitches and added one inch to length.
Love the decreases!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Santa Claus is Coming

And it looks like his bag is filled with treats for all good knitters.

Merry Christmas!

A Gift from My Neighbor

Santa Pillow
10" x 13"
Cross-stitch pattern by The Prairie Schooler

Friday, December 21, 2007

Call Me Crazy

I can't stop knitting miniatures.


Minutia Sweater Ornaments
5, 6, 11

Check it out. There are 12 different sweaters to knit.

Make sure you have plenty of ink and paper in the printer. It's a 14-pager.

Cables and Seed Stitch

Stockinette from Handspun

Garter Stitch

Completely frivolous knitting, but it sure is fun!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


We found the perfect cards to send this year.

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Thinking of you and sending the warmest greetings of the season.

Sums up our interests pretty well: birds, beach, shells, knitted scarves...all that's missing is a fish.


I finished spinning the 1/2 pound of Fine Brown Shetland roving that I started back in September.

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It turned out to be a light worsted weight yarn. There's a lot of it. Probably enough to knit a vest.


Putting together jigsaw puzzles was a winter activity in my home growing up. That's why I always get the urge to start one this time of year.

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We probably won't finish it before we need the table for Christmas dinner, so I'm glad we're using a puzzle mat.


As for knitting, I'm trying to finish John's socks and I'm working on a quick garter stitch project.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Still Working On It

Monday at Wool Windings has become the day to show the progress of whatever sock happens to be on the needles.

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I bet you're getting tired of seeing this one. I've been working on it off and on since November 1st. I brought it with me on our drive to South Texas this weekend and was able to knit a few rounds in the car.

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As you know, this sock is for John. It is the second one of the pair. Here I am showing it off on the pier at Baffin Bay. Maybe I should have saved this yarn for me since it goes so well with what I'm wearing.

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I brought the sock with me as we walked through the campus of Texas A&M Kingsville. John and I both went to school here (it's where we met) when it was Texas A&I University. A few years after we graduated, A&M bought the university and changed the name. None of the alumni were very happy with that, but at least the school colors are still blue & gold and the mascot is still the javelina.

Here's what a javelina looks like with a sock in his mouth. Go Hoggies!

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But we weren't there just to take pictures of knitting. We were there to celebrate with John's nephew.

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Congratulations, college grad!

Question: I did not knit at the graduation ceremony, though I considered it. How many of you have knit at an event like this?

Friday, December 14, 2007

More Mini Mittens

There will be mini mittens on the Christmas tree after all!

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Mini Mittens from Handspun

It didn't feel right to give up so quickly, so when Susan shared another pattern, I had to try it. Mini Mittens designed by Leslie Ann Bestor suits me so much better! They are knitted flat and then seamed which is easier to manage and less fiddly than knitting in the round on double pointed needles.

If you are looking for a quick and easy pattern, this is the one I recommend. The first mitten took only 30 minutes to finish and that included the sewing (whip stitch). The more I knitted, the faster I got and before I knew it, three pairs were finished. It was addicting.

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Mini Mittens in Two Sizes

Now all I need is a Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Just One

I came across the cutest Mini Mitten Ornaments the other day. They are knitted from leftover sock yarn. I had visions of knitting several of them until I made the first one.

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It became clear to me right away that this little mitten will never have a mate. So tiny, so fiddly (for me) on double pointed needles that I almost didn't finish the first one. I stuck with it though and an hour later I had an adorable mitten that's not even as big as my little finger.

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Though this pattern is not for me, you might be interested. It's well written and the results are really cute. Others have made several pairs in record time. So don't discount trying it just because I gave up. You'll know by the time you reach the thumb whether it's something you want finish or not.

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When you print out the pattern, you'll have a good idea of how tiny they really are. Mine matches perfectly to the picture.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Thanks to everyone for the tips on washing and drying hand knit socks. It seems the safest way to go is hand wash and air dry, though several of you have good luck with the hand or gentle wash cycle on the machine and a low heat setting on the dryer. I think dryer heat is to blame for the trouble I've had with superwash wool fuzzing up over time.

When this pair is finished, I'll be sure to take special care of them, especially since they are for John.

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The first one is finished and it's fits perfectly!

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Recognize the setting? It's Matagorda Beach. Warm weather and free time coincided, so I spent Friday afternoon picking up shells and enjoying the sights and sounds of the beach. It's just what I needed to refresh my outlook before the chore of Christmas shopping on Saturday.

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The beach is never the same twice. This time the tide had brought in hundreds of Portuguese Man-of-War. It was warm enough to go barefoot, but I kept my shoes on to avoid finding out what their sting feels like.

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Shell hunting was excellent and I was excited to add a Murex in good condition to my collection...

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...along with lots of Sundials (about 35), three nice Whelks, eight Angel Wings, a broken bit of a Banded Tulip and a few of the more common types that I like.

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Fog began to roll in and I decided to turn back.

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A few hours spent walking on the beach and thinking of the one who created it was just what I needed to put all the craziness of this time of year into perspective.

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I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.

I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.

Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?

~Psalm 73:11-13

Friday, December 07, 2007

Under the Ceiling Fan

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Not as charming as Carole's method for drying socks, but effective.

Even though many of my hand knit socks are superwash wool, I've found that the dryer is not kind to them. It's better to let them air dry. And to play it safe, I hand wash them too. Most would be fine in the machine on gentle, but I have a few pairs of 100% wool and I don't trust myself to remember which is which.

The only socks I wash and dry in the machine are the ones made from Online Supersocke Cotton (cotton/wool blend). They've been through the wringer, so to speak, and still look brand new. They receive no special treatment from me--washed with all the other dirty clothes in warm water, regular cycle and dried on medium heat. The only thing I have to watch out for are the Velcro closures on John's fishing shirts. Velcro and hand knits do not play well together.

Does anyone know of a superwash wool that does well in the washer and dryer?

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Wednesday, December 05, 2007


007 Snap a Dozen Days

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Spun by Hand

December is the month I first learned to use a spinning wheel. A year ago, I asked for and received a wheel for Christmas. My first time using it produced yarn that lumpy and uneven, though functional. Over the year, I've practiced and improved.

My preferred way to spin wool is to pick out some roving, sit down at the wheel, and just see what comes from it. There is little planning for me and I like it that way.

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Sue's Luxury Yarn
Hand-dyed Roving

I don't think I'll ever be very technical about my spinning. I'm sure it would be beneficial, but I don't care to know the angle of twist or to count the rotations of the wheel to get my plying just right.

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Wasatch Watercolours
Fine Range Wools
Fish Lake

I enjoy spinning "freestyle". And if you know me well, you are probably surprised by this. Normally I'm a by-the-book, follow-the-recipe type of person.

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Sue's Luxury Yarn
Hand-dyed Roving

But, with spinning I have a carefree attitude, because I've learned that even the most unlovely yarn can be knitted into a thing of beauty.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Back to Normal

The charity items are packed and ready to be mailed today. There is a box full of hats for TPP, mittens for Soaring Eagles and a bereavement set for Emmazing Grace. Being a participant in KUO was the motivation I needed to get it all done.

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Now it's back to my regular knitting. I want to finish John's socks. He's been patiently waiting for a whole month and I haven't even finished the first one. All that's left is the toe. He hasn't tried it on yet, but it seems to be coming out the same as a pair I made before that fit him well. I should know by as early as tonight if I have the fit right this time.

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