Category: Handmade

Even more striped socks

June 17th, 2010 — 1:48pm

Just finished that pair of beautiful striped socks for Dan:

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The yarn is leftover scraps of light and dark blue Knitpicks’ Risata, and a bit of Regia Bamboo. I split all three balls of yarn exactly in half (yay for Dan’s gram scale) so I could make sure the socks matched exactly. I really didn’t think I had enough yarn, and thought I’d have to finish the feet in yet another color, but I had enough and a little to spare of all three yarns.

They’re worked on 60 stitches on size 0 needles, knit firmly. They are quite snug on Dan’s feet; he says they are fine, but next time I would work them on 64 stitches for just a little more room. I worked in the tails at the color changes as I went, thanks to the Techknitter’s marvelous “overcast” method:, so I didn’t have to do any tedious finishing. The stripes are six rows of light blue, three of dark blue, three of bamboo, three of dark blue, repeat.

I wasn’t sure they’d fit Dan, and I must confess I wouldn’t have minded taking such a lovely pair of socks for myself :) But I’m glad they fit because he really needs more thin socks for summer.

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The fair!

June 12th, 2010 — 11:47am

The fair started yesterday! Henry and Chloe and I got there about 5pm and stayed till 9 and had a wonderful time! We ate some fair food (real food, no Deep-Fried Butter for us, though Henry did try a Deep-Fried Twinkie, gag), and of course the wonderful Squeezers fresh lemonade. We walked through a couple of the commercial buildings, saw some of the kids’ hobbies and art, and spent a long time up in the Home and Hobby exhibits. A really nice Fair lady helped us find all our entries. Chloe got a third place ribbon for her mittens, and that was her very first fair entry ever! I’m so proud of her!

After a lot of searching, we found my four entries. The quilt got a 1st, the lace nightie a 2nd, the purple cardigan a 3rd, and the mittens got a 1st and fancy “Best of Division” ribbon, which means they were judged to be the best hand-knitted item in the whole competition :) I’ll take my good camera next time and get photos of my stuff on display.

We also had fun looking at the collections, and we asked the nice Fair lady lots of questions about our idea for a display of Grandpa’s color photos of the Lustron, and she seemed to think it was a great idea, so I think next year we’ll try to work up an interesting exhibit. We were very taken with a collection of food items made entirely of LEGO. We all gave that collection our votes for “People’s Choice” or whatever it is.

photo photo
photo photo

I can’t wait to go back to the fair!

9 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Knitted stuff

May 31st, 2010 — 9:50pm

Jeeze, when’s the last time I wrote a real post? Well, anyway, I hope you’re enjoying the podcasts. Here are a bunch of things I’ve knitted recently. For more details, click the “Ravelry” button above each photo.

Slippers for Dan (he wears them constantly!)


Heavily modified “Girl Friday” cardi for me (top-down, no seams, elbow sleeves)


Self-stripe socks for Mom’s friend

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Striped socks for Dan, in progress


Next time I’ll tell you about the new flower bed that Dan dug for me, and the veggies growing in my backyard garden bed.

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A few photos

May 15th, 2010 — 10:15am

On Wednesday we all (Susan, Sally, Henry, and me) went to Tango del Rey for the Rockola show and had the best time! Besides listening and singing along in the audience, we got to perform a little bit! I got to do the “Me and Julio” whistling solo, Henry and I did handclaps on “Stuck in the Middle”, Henry played guitar for “Wish You Were Here” and… something else, I forget what. So much FUN!

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On Thursday evening, Bob, Chloe, and Susan all came over to watch Survivor, which was a riot. Dan got a few nice photos; here’s my favorite, but there are a few more on my flickr:


Also I’m knitting a pair of socks for Mom’s friend. Mom chose Felici Sport self-striping sock yarn in the “Ecology” colorway. They’re turning out really nice:

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I’m knitting them both at once on one circ. That way they’ll turn out identical and I don’t have to count rows :)

1 comment » | Blog, Handmade

Hap Blanket, done!

April 2nd, 2010 — 9:44am

I finished the Hap Blanket for pthree’s baby a couple days ago and blocked it. Yesterday I took photos, and today I will ship it off. You can read all about it on the ravelry page, even if you don’t have a ravelry log-in!!




It turned out about 3′ square, so just right for a receiving blanket. And very soft and cuddly.

9 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Hap Blanket

March 27th, 2010 — 10:18am

I’m knitting a Hap Blanket for a friend who’s having a baby in May. Such a simple, pretty pattern! I’m using Knitpicks’ Simply Cotton, which is a great yarn. Soft and nice to work with, and I haven’t found a single knot or flaw. I bought 4 skeins of Malted Milk (off-white) and 2 in Envy Heather (dark green).

My gauge with worsted weight yarn on size 5 needles is 3.5st/inch, so I’m modding the pattern somewhat:

CO 80 using provisional cast-on (the pattern doesn’t say to use a provisional cast-on, but it will turn out much nicer if you do). I prefer to counter garter ridges rather than rows. Double the numbers if you count rows.

Knit 8 ridges in MC, then 1 in CC, 15 MC, 1 CC, 15MC, 1 CC, 15 MC, 1 CC, 15MC, 1 CC, 8 MC (in other words, 15 ridges for the fat stripes and 8 ridges for the end stripes)

This gives you 81 ridges, so when you pick up for the edge, pick up 85 on each side (pick up a few extra, evenly spaced, to make up the difference). The edge pattern is a 12-st repeat (plus one st at each corner) so this will work out perfectly and you won’t even have to think about the extra pattern repeats.

Obviously, you don’t cast-off when you’re finished with the garter-stitch square. Just keep going after your last row and commence picking up edge stitches. Now you will be glad about that provisional cast-on because you can just slide the loops onto the other end of your circ and knit them as you come to them. Don’t forget that you need to end up with 85 st per side, with a marker at each corner.



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baroque socks

March 26th, 2010 — 10:56am

I finished the Baroque Socks, finally! Now, I have nothing against the pattern. It’s well-written and certainly very pretty. And the finished socks are lovely. But oh my, they were not actually that much fun to knit. Terribly fiddly, so no good for casual tv-knitting, and I couldn’t seem to memorize the chart. If I hadn’t promised them to Mom for her birthday, I would have ripped out the first one when I was halfway through. :)

Needles: size 0
Yarn: Knitpicks’ Risata



2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Arden Bag, finished!

January 7th, 2010 — 11:54pm

I love my new purse! It’s the Arden Bag kit from knitpicks. I over-felted mine by accident so it’s a bit lumpy but oh well. Just finished sewing the lining in last night and used it all day and I just love it. I wove the straps on my inkle loom. Here are pictures! And a Ravelry link.



I sewed a special iPhone pocket into the lining so my phone will never sink to the bottom and make me panic. There’s also a larger pocket for keys, pens, pocket knife, etc.


Inside-out to show lining and pockets:



It’s not huge but it’s bigger than my old purse, so I’ll more easily be able to carry along my camera, mouse, laptop power cable, or even a sock-in-progress.

3 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Henry’s Argyle-ish Vest

January 3rd, 2010 — 10:24am

Finally got a photo of Henry in the vest I made him for Christmas. He seems to like it a lot, wears it all the time and even to bed in our chilly house.


Here’s what it looked like blocking and before the buttons were on:


So hard to photograph reds — it’s a lovely dark red, not orange or pink at all. The argyle panel continues over the shoulder and down the back.

Yarn: KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, Cranberry, 6 skeins. Needles size 4 (3 for ribbing). Quick pattern notes:

Starting with 75 stitches CO at neck (provisional)
divide in 3rds
4 sets of shortrows each side, every 5 st
argyle pattern on one side, 4 plain, 17 for pattern, 4 plain (obviously, add on st to left side of pattern to balance)
46 rows (at armhole edge) down back, then pick up fronts.
same short rows.
inc at neck edge until 29+29 then add 5 each side (68 total, remaining 7 will be button bands later)
(Add some stitches at underarm when joining in round, forgot to note this info)
vest is a total of 120 rows (near armhole, more down center back).
24 rows of k2p2 ribbing on size 3 needles
pick up 2 out of 3 stitches for front bands and collar
(inc 2 stitches at front collar corners every other round)
pick up 3 out of 4 stitches for armhole ribbing
8 rows ribbing for bands

More pics on my flickr or the project page at ravelry.

1 comment » | Blog, Handmade


November 28th, 2009 — 9:04am

Today (Saturday) is our family Thanksgiving get-together, yay! I’ve been looking forward to this for so long. Yesterday I made a no-bake pumpkin cheesecake, two apple pies, and a big casserole dish of stuffing (we have a tiny oven so can’t bake anything but turkey today). Today I’ll make the turkey, mashed potatoes, grilled onions and asparagus, and cranberry sauce. Mom is bringing a Big Salad. I only have one actual pie-dish so the apple pies are made in cake pans:


After all that baking I was totally worn out, so I played a little WoW and then watched the entire BBC “Wives and Daughters” miniseries while knitting. It’s so good, just so good.

Oh, forgot to say — a couple of days ago I finished my slinky knitted summer nightie:



The pattern is invented and the yarn is the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece from my old “I Do” shrug, split into 2-ply. It fits perfectly and will be wonderful next summer when it gets hot again. No, you can’t see a picture of me modeling it, it’s far too naughty ;-) The project is here on Ravelry if you want more details:

2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

fruit bowl

November 14th, 2009 — 8:26pm

Dan let me use his fancy digital SLR to take pictures of my new fruit bowl today:


I got tired of using one of my two mixing bowls to store fruit and then having to dump the fruit out when I needed to mix something, so I made a papier mache fruit bowl. I used a basic papier mache goop: 1 part flour/ 2 parts water/ a glug of white glue and a good big shake of salt. I had to buy a newspaper. It’s kind of hilarious that I only buy a newspaper when I need a lot of cheap paper for a project…


When the basic bowl was dry I gave it two coats of white acrylic paint. Next time I will be smart and use white printer paper for the last layer of papier mache. Then I used Mod Podge to apply a layer of yellow tissue paper to the outside of the bowl and then some orange and red flowers. The inside is just white with a coating of Mod Podge.

Hooray for making something very useful and decorative out of almost nothing!

5 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Welcome home, Dan!

November 6th, 2009 — 9:39am

Dan’s coming home today!! He has has been gone for almost a week, learning sysadmin things at the LISA (Large Installation System Administration) ’09 conference. It felt like he was gone for a month and I’ll be soooo glad when he’s finally home.

Poor Henry has been very sick since Monday (some kind of flu — headache, fever, cough, general misery) so all he did all week was sleep and watch tv, and I kept him company. But I got a lot of recording done, too. I finished my recording of The Templars for Ignatius Press, and did a little picture book about the Pope for them yesterday as well. That one was very sweet, with pretty watercolors. I’ll provide links again when my audio is up for sale. I also recorded four chapters of the next part of This Country of Ours (kids’ US history) and another chapter of Alice in German.

I also ripped apart the odd collar of my Slipped Cable Vest and re-knit it to fit a lot better.


And I wove three bands on my inkle loom. I made them the maximum length my loom can handle, a bit over 8 feet. The red-and-black one has already become shoelaces for Henry (with electrical-tape aglets). If you want woven bands for anything (bodice lacing, dress trim, drawstrings, shoelaces) let me know :) I am super-proud at how much my weaving skill has improved. I wove the last one in one quick evening sitting, probably a couple hours or so. My hands have figured out the routine quite nicely.



Oh, and I’m working on a little case for Henry’s iPod Touch, which he won two weeks ago in some kind of game of chance at a bowling alley!!


I am, astonishingly, not sick yet, knock on wood. I’ve been washing my hands obsessively and staying as far away from Henry as I can, poor boy.

2 comments » | Blog, Handmade


November 3rd, 2009 — 10:28am

I finally bought several colors of mercerized crochet cotton for weaving on my inkle loom. I just finished a pair of shoelaces for Henry last night:


And then I started another pair in green and white:



1 comment » | Blog, Handmade

knitted top hat

September 26th, 2009 — 11:28am

I knitted Henry a top hat for his birthday. He loves it!

(Ravelry project page)

Pattern: Hatopia (buy it at or Ravelry)
Yarn: Lion Wool, three skeins
Needles: Harmony circular size 9

Here’s what it looked like pre-blocking:


I knit the hat sides to 11 inches before blocking, instead of the 8 called for in the pattern. Tip: cast off very very very loosely! The hatband is a thrift store belt.

3 comments » | Blog, Handmade

pick-up day

July 8th, 2009 — 11:02am

Monday was entry pick-up day at the fairgrounds. Celia had to get her snowglobe collection from Kids’ Best (she won first place and a special award!) and I had to get my Home and Hobby entries (three 2nds and an Honorable Mention), so Bob, Chloe, Celia, Henry, and I all carpooled up there together, which was great fun! We spent the whole time laughing, I swear. First we went to Kids’ Best in the infield, across the scary shaky one-lane bridge, and got Celia’s collection. With five of us helping, it took no time at all to get the snowglobes safely wrapped up, and then we drove back around to the grandstand where the Home and Hobby exhibits are. We parked pretty far away to avoid the terrible one-way traffic funnel through the fairgrounds, so everyone helped me carry my hot heavy handmade things back to the car. And then we all hung out together the whole evening and cooked dinner on the grill and talked and had the best time.

Photos of my prizewinning stuff:






So! What shall I enter next year?

3 comments » | Blog, Handmade

the little quilt is done!

May 28th, 2009 — 10:03am

I stared a little lap quilt last summer, if you remember. When I was planning my entries for the Fair this year, I thought I might as well finish the quilt and enter it. It’s a sweet little thing. The dates for delivering Home and Hobby entries to the fair were yesterday and today, so the last three or four days I’ve been working non-stop on the little quilt, hoping to get it done in time, and last night I finally finished it! WOOHOO! I pieced it by machine but all the rest was done my hand. My fingers are really sore. I use a thimble on the right middle finger to help shove the needle through the cloth, but the left middle finger gets stabbed a little bit with every single stitch. Yow. My left hand cramped up while I was finishing the edging last night, too.




So in an hour or so I’ll leave for Del Mar to deliver the quilt, the Girasole Blanket, the Alyssum Socks, and the Andean Chullo Hat. Wish me luck :) (Thanks, Mom, for lending me your blanket and your hat. Don’t forget to look for them at the fair! ;-)

5 comments » | Blog, Handmade

inkle loom

March 20th, 2009 — 10:24am

I have a borrowed inkle loom, and just finished my first little weaving project:


I’ve wanted to try inkle weaving for years and years, but never thought it would be worth buying a loom — after all, how many straps and bands and belts and tapes does one need, and that’s all you can produce on a inkle loom. So I was so delighted when our Dehesa EF, Carol, said her mom (a weaver) would lend me her inkle loom! I figured out how to make heddles and warp it, and went to town. And now I have a nice green tape that should make a great drawstring for a summer skirt. Now I’m itching to warp it again and make something else. Anyone need a strap? ;-)

Also, Henry asked me to shave off all his hair so he’d be more streamlined at Kung Fu. No more hair flopping in his eyes, and he doesn’t get quite so hot when he’s in his sparring helmet. He looks a lot different, but still as handsome as ever.


9 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Cinnamon rolls & socks

March 16th, 2009 — 10:31am

I made cinnamon rolls on Friday:


Lordy, they were good, and gone by Saturday afternoon. (Twelve rolls is only 4 apiece!) Here’s the recipe: Ninety-Minute Cinnamon Rolls. I always use butter instead of margarine.

On Friday night the Teen Club from Dehesa, Henry’s new charter school (which we LOVE), met at the mall to go ice skating. Henry had the Best. Time. Ever. and I worked on my Thick Warm Socks:

(these socks on Ravelry)

They’re made of Briggs and Little’s “Tuffy”, an aran-weight 80% wool/20% nylon blend. I love this yarn. It’s a bit rough, still has lanolin and bits of hay in it, and smells of sheep. It seems like it will wear very well.

Sunday night, Bob and Chloe came over and we talked and knitted and watched TV and had a wonderful time. You should see Chloe’s socks — I think they’re even prettier than mine: Same yarn, different colors.

2 comments » | Blog, Handmade

Sweet Alyssum Socks

March 12th, 2009 — 11:30am


This eyelet pattern reminds me of the Sweet Alyssum flowers that grew in our yarn when I was a kid. If I remember correctly, there were white ones and purpleish ones, so if I make these socks again I’ll choose purple instead of orange.

I wrote up this pattern in a way that makes sense to me, but if you find it confusing please let me know and I’ll try to clarify :)

This sock fits my skinny size 7.5 foot with room to spare. The eyelet pattern and the Risata are both nice and stretchy.

One ball Knitpicks’ Risata in Clementine (use Fairy Tale or Marionberry for more botanically accurate socks)
One ball Knitpicks’ Risata in Buttermilk

Needles size 0 (I knit very loosely — you may need to use needles several sizes larger to get gauge)

Gauge in Stockinette: 6.5 st/inch

Eyelet chart:

Cast on 48 stitches. I used both colors and this lovely, two-needle, stretchy cast on: That’s my favorite cast-on for cuff-down socks and mitten cuffs.

Work 11 rounds k2 p1 ribbing in Buttermilk.

Switch to Clementine, and begin eyelet chart.

After 8 rounds of Clementine, switch back to Buttermilk and work next section of eyelet chart. Move round marker forward one stitch so that the eyelet pattern fits within the round. As you knit around, you may need to shift stitches from one needle to another to avoid having to work eyelet motifs between needles. Do whatever makes it easy. Buttermilk eyelet motifs will be centered between the Clementine ones. I carried the yarn loosely up the back of the sock between color rounds so I didn’t have a million ends to weave in.

Continue switching colors every 8 rounds and shifting round marker one stitch forward or back until you have four Clementine stripes.
Work heel flap in Clementine on 25 stitches. Be sure that your heel flap is centered relative to the lace pattern! I like a long heel flap so I worked 30 rows, I think. I used the basic Heel Stitch. Turn the heel according to your favorite method. I prefer a German heel.

Switch to Buttermilk and pick up gusset stitches. Here’s a good way to avoid holes at the corners of your gusset:

Arrange stitches so you have your 24 instep stitches on one needle, and continue eyelet pattern across that needle as established. Keep the sole of the foot and gussets in stockinette and decrease away your gusset stitches every other round, with k2tog just before you knit the instep stitches and ssk right after, until you are back at 48 stitches.

Knit in pattern until you have 5 Buttermilk stripes on foot. Switch to Clementine for toe. (If you have a shorter foot, knit until you have 4 Clementine stripes on foot and make toe with Buttermilk)

Pretty Little Toe (my hybrid of Round Toe and Flat Toe):
k 1 round Clementine
Decrease round: k6, k2tog around (42 st)
k 5 rounds plain
Dec round: k5, k2tog around (36 st)
k 4 rounds plain
Dec round: k4, k2 tog around (30 st)
k 3 rounds plain
Dec round: k3, k2tog around (24 st)
k 2 rounds plain
Dec round: k2, k2tog around (18 st)
k 1 round plain

Arrange stitches on two needles so you have 9 instep stitches on top needle and 9 sole stitches on bottom needle. KNit a few stitches as necessary to get yarn to side of toe. Graft stitches together (tutorial here).

Block to open up eyelets, and wear!


Detail of the Pretty Little Toe:



Genuine Sweet Alyssum flowers. Look, each tiny flower really does have four petals!


6 comments » | Blog, Free Patterns, Handmade

Dan’s gloves

March 8th, 2009 — 9:58am

Dan’s hands get cold while he’s computing, and, though my usual “gamer gloves” are like chopped-off mittens, he wanted his fingers to be almost completely covered, so I knit him some fingertip-less gloves based on the Annemor #10 pattern from Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition. Marvelous book, by the way.

Yarn: Knitpicks’ Palette, black and gray, exactly 50 grams total for the pair.

Needles: Size 00 for the wrist ribbing (I worked 5 or 6 rounds), size 0 for the wrist, size 1 for the hand and fingers, size 0 for the finger ribbing.

Pattern: Annemor #10 from Selbuvotter

These gloves on Ravelry

It took me a while to get the first glove done because I had some gauge issues and had to rip back several times. I started out knitting at my usual loose tension on size 0 needles, but the wrist was way too baggy. Then I started over knitting tightly on the 0s, got up to the finger divisions, and the hand was too tight. Ripped back again to the end of the wrist and switched to size 1 needles and a sort of medium tension and it worked out fine. There are not enough stitches charted for the 13-stitch finger pattern to work out, so I had to get creative and redistribute things differently and do a couple of m1s here and there, but it all worked out ok. The second glove worked up really fast! Dan loves them and they keep his hands nice and warm while he’s running around Azeroth.

(If you’d rather look at the photos on flickr, they start here:

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