Life, Knitting and the Pursuit of Roller Coasters

Coaster Geek turned Knitting Geek

Christmas Eve

Posted on December 24th, 2008 in baby, Christmas, family, gift, hat, mittens, pattern by bethtoons || 1 Comment

For as long as I can remember, Christmas Eve has been spent with my dad’s side of the family and I’ve been on the kids list for gift exchanges. You just don’t graduate to “adult” until you’re married. So, this year, I drew the baby to gift in the exchange.

Max is nearly two, and he’s very into trains.  So, in addition to a toy train, I had to knit something.  And since I’ve been on a personal pattern binge, I didn’t go out looking, I designed something.

FO: Max’s Train Mittens and Track Hat

Pattern: My own. (I have two other patterns for the same age range that use the same mitten base, so I may just publish all three mittens and the hats as a set, but that won’t come til after the new year).

Yarns: White, Brown and Black Dale Baby Ull, The Red/Yellow/Blue is Knit Picks Simply Stripe Crayon colorway, and the smoke is Paton’s Kroy in Linen. I had intended to do the whole thing in Baby Ull, but the grey I ordered was too dark, and the colors I ordered were backordered. Because I used the striped yarn, the white/yellow faire isle name and year didn’t show up, so I added the overstitch outline in black. I’m kind of glad the other yarns were back ordered, as the striped train is more interesting than a solid blue train would have been.

The train continues onto the palm with a box car, and the smoke trail follows it around as well.  And the hat is simply lined with an enlarged version of the track.

My fingers are crossed that they fit. I had assurances from two coworkers with children around Max’s age that they looked like they would fit a 2-ish-year-old and I browsed around for hand and head sizes as much as I could, but those things are so variable at that age, it’s still a bit of a gamble.

I don’t expect much reaction from Max since he’s so little, I expect him to be far more interested in the toy train that is accompanying this gift. We’ll see how well it goes over tonight.

Merry Christmas!

The voices, make them stop!

Posted on October 10th, 2008 in hat, mitts, pattern by bethtoons || 6 Comments

One of the side effects of putting a lot of my yarn on a bookcase at the foot of my bed is that I’m looking at it all a lot. And it’s begun to call to me in the quiet moments of my days. Some of it is very chatty yarn. It makes it difficult to keep my number of active projects within a reasonable scope when there are all those little “knit me” voices calling from the shelves. Especially since most of the yarn on that wall is meant for projects for me, and I’m currently ramping up the gift knitting for the holidays.

I did succumb to a ball of white karabella aurora bulky from the shelf that had begun yelling at me and keeping me up at night. I got the yarn pre-wound in a ebay lot a couple years ago and it was enough yarn, and knotted up enough, that it was likely two or three balls strung together.

It really wanted to be a cushy hat. It really really loudly wanted to be a cushy hat. I have encountered some chatty yarn and some stubborn yarn and even some of that stuff that puts on the puppy dog eyes in the store then turns nippy and mean once you get it home, but this ball was just downright demanding and obnoxious and I was beginning to lose my resolve to fight it. Telling it to stay on it’s shelf until I was ready just wasn’t working anymore. It was like fighting with a three-year-old. So I did the only sane thing I could do.

I stopped fighting it and started a hat from it last weekend using the Robins Egg Blue Hat pattern and finished it up on the drive to Pittsburgh on Friday. It was a nice quick knit and resulted in a great hat, plus the yarn quieted down for a bit. I thought I had my sanity back once it was done. And the yarn wasn’t wrong, it definitely makes a great cozy winter hat. I did make some mods to the hat… 15 rows of seed stitch total and I just kinda did my own thing with the top decreases once I got there.

Then on the drive back home on Sunday, I was going to take a break from knitting and read, but as I was fishing through my bag for my book, the leftovers from the hat saw their opportunity and started to speak up again. It didn’t even start at a low murmur or a whisper this time. As soon as I opened the bag there were shouts of “Finish me! Finish Me! You need Mitts too! I don’t care if you don’t have a pattern! Make something up!” Since my resolve for this ball of yarn was so low and I knew I was still in for a long drive in a confined space with this yarn taunting me, I once again gave into it’s demands. I was done dealing with it and was ready for it to just be done so I could move on. I whipped up a really quick pair of fingerless mitts to coordinate with the hat and breathed a sigh of relief. That seemed to finally do the trick and there is so little yarn left that I don’t think it’s even whispering anymore. It is very pleased with it’s new life as cozy cool-weather accessories.

…Now if I could just figure out how to organize the stash so the sock yarn will stop multiplying (it just needs some temporary birth control, not a permanent solution).

I could also use some help in union negotiations, the sweater yarn and lace weight are starting to protest for equal knitting opportunities.

I’ll write the mitts pattern up here quickly as a freebie in case anyone else is holding on to an especially chatty ball or two of bulky-weight yarn. They’re a good companion piece for some of the bulky-weight hats floating around the web and are very quick to knit.

Chatty Bulky Mitts

On Size US 10.5 DPNs, with the bulky-weight yarn of your choice (or the bulky weight yarn that has chosen to torment you) Cast on 27 stitches

Join in the round being careful not to twist.

Knit 7 rows in seed stitch (k1, p1). Because your stitch count is an odd number of stitches there will be no visible “seam” in the seed stitch rounds and the seed stitch pattern just keeping going around.

Knit another 15 rows in stockinette (knit around). Or how ever many you would like before placing the thumb.

On the next round, bind off 3 stitches and knit remaining round.

On the next round, cast on 3 stitches and knit the remaining round.

Knit another 8-9 rows or as many as you’d like before the fabric hits just below where you’d like the top of the mitts to hit on your fingers.

Purl one row, then bind off purl wise.

Repeat for the second mitt and weave in your loose yarn ends.

Wear and enjoy the peace and quiet and warmth of yarn that is finally content to be something other than a ball of yarn.

Happy Easter, Happy Blogiversary and a FO

Posted on March 23rd, 2008 in blog, blogiversary, hat by bethtoons || 71 Comments

My blogiversary this year is falling today, on Easter. Happy Easter! Whether you celebrate the religious events of this day or you’re all about chocolate bunnies and eggs or it’s just another Sunday, enjoy!

It was today two years ago that I started my blog. I’ve also mentioned once or twice, that I started the blog within a couple weeks of my mom’s worst accident to date. She fell and hit her head and suffered major bleeding around her brain. She also somehow survived the whole thing with minimal side effects. She still has a bunch of medical issues unrelated to that accident, but she’s a fighter and she’s still here and I’m grateful.

Of course, it’s a blogiversary, I have to have a contest. Leave a comment on this post before April 12th and you’ll be eligible. So, what’s worth your comments? Well, for the knitters I have two prizes. Both will win a copy of my Kiss That Frog Mittens pattern plus their choice of two colorways of either Paton’s Classic or Cascade 220 to make a pair. As for the non-knitters, I pretty much expect them to be comprised of my coaster geek friends mostly (and I may figure out an alternate prize if the winner isn’t one of my coaster geek friends). So, the non-knitter prize is a set of one each of the amusement park themed dishcloths that I’ve designed knit in the colors of their choice including the three I haven’t quite gotten around to finishing up yet (a total of 6 knit dishcloths).

I also have a new FO to show off. I suppose it’s my Easter hat since I finished it last night. Shedir from Knitty in the called-for yarn, Rowan Calmer. I love it, it fits pretty well, but its a little too deep for my head. If I make it again, I’ll leave out a cable repeat on the sides. It was a nice not-sock interlude between sock madness rounds. I actually had started it before Christmas, and just picked it up and added a couple rows here and there over the last week or so. Fairly quick for the most part, and really lovely finished. It’s just hard to take photos of the top of my head!