Thursday, January 13, 2011


One very happy client came in today to pick up the coat, and she loved how it turned out.  Even though it was warmer today, she went out the door wearing it so everyone she worked with could see it!  I like happy endings, don't you?

Today was spent doing mostly small-ish jobs:  prepping & hand-hemming some pants for another client.  I have another list of jobs that need to get started/worked on/finished, but that darn disc of mine is doing the watusi again so I've needed to lay low a bit.  I did manage to get up to the high school to do fittings for about 34 percussion ensemble kids - by myself.  Meaning I was bending, leaning, stretching, and getting down to the floor to take measurements.  Come to think of it, that's probably why my back is screaming right now.

Just for your amusement (and because photos of hemming & taking measurements are really boring), here are some pics of one of my previous year's goals: hand-knit socks.  I was always afraid to knit anything more difficult than a plain scarf (or when I felt daring, one that had a cable in it).  But about five years ago or so I decided that every New Year's I would choose a couple of goals for the year and then spend all year learning how to accomplish them.  My goal one year was to learn to knit socks (and break out of my knitting rut), using double pointed needles.  I had bought a book by Stephanie Pearl-MacPhee titled Knitting Rules which keeps me in stitches - literally and figuratively.  She has an amazing sense of humor, and also possesses a manner of writing that makes you feel like you can knit just about anything.  Armed with her book and some self-patterning yarn, I proceeded to follow her instructions.  Finishing up that first pair of socks made me feel absolutely incredible - I honestly wouldn't have even attempted this without having her clear directions & encouragement.  Goal accomplished!

Here's the first pair:
Exciting self-patterning yarn - you want to keep knitting just to see what it does next!

My son liked them so much he asked for a pair, so I knit a very similar set for him in browns/tans.  He wore them so much that, alas, they exist no more.  

I did knit a few more pair for myself, using variations in yarn.  This pair came out well, are super soft and were done in a microfiber yarn - I think Michael's sells it as Microspun - but they are just too thick to wear in regular shoes.  You can see a really cool pattern in the heel area called Eye of Partridge - done with alternating slipped stitches.  

Thick - but soft, soft, soft!

I thought it was high time to get some "real" sock yarn, so I went to a local yarn shop & bought some cotton/lycra stretch sock yarn (on sale) in several different colors and one multi-color.  I knit this pair first, because I wanted something colorful.  I wore them once.  I hated them - they are really stiff and uncomfortable.  I am donating them in case there is someone out there who can't feel the bottoms of their feet that much.  I'm going to have to donate the rest of that kind of yarn, too, as I can't see matters improving much in a different color.  

Cute.  But uncomfortable. 

In between all of these pairs of socks, I decided to give my son & my husband some better socks - so I went back to the yarn store & bought good, washable WOOL sock yarn.  My husband got a pair to wear in his hiking boots.  Only he didn't like them, he thought they were too thin.  So they sit in his drawer.  For my son, though, I bought a striped superwash wool, and I can't get those off him - he literally wears them all the time when he is home.  Couldn't take a picture, either - they are blue and stripe in red, green and turquoise.  I am working on another superwash wool pair for him (with another pair coming shortly thereafter) so he can alternate them and not go through the heels & toes so quickly!  Here is the one finished sock:

Back to the self-patterning stuff - it's still just as much fun!

The next pair for him will be self-patterning with shades of blue in it - the yarn is beautiful and the socks should turn out very nicely. (I bought two more skeins for myself, same type of self-pattern. I couldn't help it.)

My older son wouldn't be caught dead in a pair of hand-knit socks from his mother.  Oh, no.  So to change things up a bit, he asked me if I could design & knit a pair of fingerless gloves for Wednesday night practices in marching band (he played the flute and his hands were always cold out there).  Took me several months to plan, design, and graph the pattern for them, but I did finally get them done in time for his senior year in the band.  I knit these, intarsia style, in a bamboo yarn that feels like silk and was a joy to knit.  The washing, not so much.  You have to hand-wash these, and lay them flat to dry.  Even so, they were a hit.

Zebra knit!

Wouldn't even have DREAMED of trying to design & graph my own glove pattern if I hadn't been so successful with the socks!  If you knit and haven't seen her book, you should check it out - she will make you laugh out loud!

More crafting to come!

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