Category: Handmade

Gentleman’s Sock with Lozenge Pattern

November 3rd, 2010 — 10:57am

Just finished up a lovely new pair of socks for Dan. They’re the “Gentleman’s Sock with Lozenge Pattern” from Nancy Bush’s “Knitting Vintage Socks“. Great book.

Yarn: Lang Jawoll Superwash
Needles: size 000

I knit the cuffs on 72 stitches and the rest of the sock on 70. I used the cuff pattern and the nifty “lozenge” pattern, and did my own favorite heel and toe. This is a great pattern if you don’t like to count rows! The purl stripe comes every tenth row in the cuff and the lozenge pattern is very easy to memorize and you can just work as many repeats as you need by just counting diamonds.

These socks are here on Ravelry: (no log-in necessary)




I’ve already started another pair in dark green.

7 comments » | Blog, Handmade

a post!

August 20th, 2010 — 9:13am

The longer I go without writing a real post, the harder it is to get started again. So I just thought I’d write a little something this morning to get myself going.

Today I’ll take Henry in for a checkup, and then I hope we get to hang out with Celia and Chloe a bit in the afternoon, and then in the evening it’s possible that Bob and Chloe might come over to watch “Hud” with us, which just arrived from Netflix yesterday and is one of my favorite movies.

I’m reading my very first Edith Wharton novel, “The House of Mirth”, and it’s fantastic. I’m almost glad I waited this long to discover her,’cause now I have a whole lot of wonderful books to look forward to, if “The House of Mirth” is any indication. I also re-read “The Three MIss Margarets” and “The Hills at Home” last week. Both were as good as I remembered from reading them years and years ago. I’d like to read the two books that everyone is talking about — “The Hunger Games” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” — so I ordered them from my library but it’s “wait time unknown” heh. But I don’t usually like to buy fiction unless I’ve read it once and know I’ll want to read it again.

Knitting — I’m working on a top-down cotton tank top which I’d like to extend down into a little dress-thing if I have enough yarn. Well, even if I don’t I can get a few more balls of Knitpicks’ Simply Cotton in a coordinating color and just keep working till it’s long enough. It’s actually a lot further along than this photo shows. I’m working the body in a sort of seed stitch rib, which is k9, then a panel of k1p1 seed stitch for three stitches, then k9 again.


Also making a pair of Aargh! gyle Socks for a certain boy’s 15th birthday. These are also further along than the photo shows. Hmm, time to take some more photos.


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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:

(no login needed)
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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 :)

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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



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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:

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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.

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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?

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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! ;-)

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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.


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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.

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