Monday, March 26, 2007

Fuzzy Feet and North Country Culture

There's a project I never blogged about this winter because I finished it in one day. I finally made a pair of Fuzzy Feet from Knitty.

I have a really nice warm pair of slippers, so I never thought to make these, but they are perfect for North Country winters. There really isn't anywhere to go out to here, so we end up spending a lot of time at friends' houses. Winters are very cold and snowy, so we are always wearing boots, and our boots are always covered with snow and sand/salt. So as soon as we get to someone's house, we take off our shoes. But people here don't heat their houses very much (the average indoor temp here is probably somewhere around 55 degrees F, and basements stay around 35-45 degrees, so floors are cold). So most people bring slippers with them when they go to someone's house. Fuzzy Feet are perfect because I can stick them in my jacket pockets or in my purse, and don't need to carry a separate bag for them. These were made exactly according to the pattern, out of Brown Sheep worsted weight wool/mohair. I bought the yarn at my "LYS*", because somehow I didn't have anything in the stash that would work.

* My "LYS" is actually a pretty small craft store, that sells everything from rubber stamps to a very small selection of quilting supplies, but they do have a whole aisle of yarn. That yarn is not organized in any particular way, and you really need to dig around, but if you look hard enough I think you could usually find at least two matching skeins of just about anything they sell. It will work for small purchases of basic wool, but I think the internet is still my main yarn store.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Needle Holder

I was so impressed by Stephanie's craft room organization, that I decided to do some work on mine. I can now vacuum in there! Sadly, that's an improvement. I still need some better storage, but I did manage to take care of one small problem: my circular needles. I copied Stephanie's idea of sewing a walll-hung organization system. Here's the result:

I made the pockets a bit too deep, so my smaller needles fall all the way in. But at least I know where to look for them, and I won't need to check too many needles with my needle sizer before starting a project. It's a huge improvement over the (ripped) ziplock bag I had been using. I also added in some pockets at the top for notions. This way I have some hope of finding a tape measure or stitch holder if I need it.

An added bonus is that it covers some of the mint green of the walls (it's actually a worse color than this picture makes out- think true mint green). This is one of the 5 colors of green that the previous owners painted inside the house. Sadly, it isn't the worst shade of green that they used, so we haven't gotten around to painting over it yet.

I still need to get a dowel rod and some clear fishing line to hang this properly. As a temporary fix, I used a curtain rod that the previous owners left and some scraps of yarn. Hopefully I'll get to it this weekend.


Sweater Progress

I haven't had lots of time to knit, but I've been knitting steadily. And I've made some progress!

I'm really close to finishing my red sweater.

I'm working on the raglan decreases for the second sleeve. I think I have a block against finishing this sweater. First, I'm a bit concerned that it is coming out just a little bigger than I would have liked. Second, I think there might be a problem with the raglan shaping on the back. I'm not really sure I want to find out whether these problems exist or not.

So instead of doing the last little bit of that sleeve, I've been working on my Hand-to-Hand Aran. I'm really close (one more repeat of the big cable!) to finishing the sleeves/yoke of this sweater. Just to orient you a little bit, the neck opening is at the top center of the picture, and the sleeves are bent at approximately the elbow. I'll knit the body of the sweater by picking up stitches along the bottom edge (along the part that has the honeycomb repeat).

Knitting these cables with the closed ring patterns was challenging at first. I was able to close the rings just fine, but when I tried to open a ring, I got big gaping holes. You can see an example of this near the bottom of this picture.

I finally figured out what the directions were saying a few repeats in. You can see the difference in the ring opening near the top of this picture. I decided not to rip anything out. If the holes are still there after washing (this yarn still has its spinning oil, so some holes might appear smaller after washing) then I'll sew them up from the inside.

As soon as I finish the last bit of the yoke I'm going to give it a wash. I can't wait to see how it looks!

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