Category Archives: knitting

Making + Listening: Knitting

I abandoned my son’s socks to knit a hat for my nephew for Christmas. I suggested a fish hat (here’s the one I made my son a few years ago), but his mom wasn’t sure he’d wear it, so I looked for something else a bit interesting but not quite that interesting. I settled on Skullcracker, a new Knitty pattern, using Cascade 220 Superwash, because it’s a little softer than the regular version, plus easier to take care of for non-knitters.

I thought the name of the pattern referred to the zig-zaggy line on the hat, but as I knit it, I decided it must refer to the way the pattern was making my head hurt. Also, look at the ends that you have to weave in:

Skullcracker ends to weave in

Too many ends for a hat, I say.

You cut the yarn for each section. The pattern also involves quite a bit of picking up stitches, and I ended up duplicate-stitching over each picked-up segment, just to make sure it was as neat as could be. Phew. It’s a cleverly constructed hat, but I’m not sure I need headwear to be quite that clever.

Here’s the finished hat (with truer colors than the pic above).

Skullcracker beanie at

The pattern has quite a bit of negative ease. This hat fits tightly. I wasn’t sure it would be comfortable for my nephew, so I knit a second hat, and he can have both. This pattern is one I’ve knit for my own kids many times, Vertigo.

Vertigo hat at

This is also a clever little hat, but not nearly so fussy in its cleverness. It’s knit sideways, brim to crown, using short rows for shaping. You use a provisional cast on and weave the live stitches together at the end, so it’s seamless. And it’s awfully cute.

So. Hopefully my nephew will like at least one of these hats, if not both. Extra hats are useful, anyway.

I’m linking up with Dawn for Making + Listening this week, even though I have nothing new to report on the listening end of things. It’s all Christmas music here these days, even in the car. My daughter sings the songs, too, trying to memorize as many as she can, and I find it kind of delightful, because, like me, she often just starts singing in the middle of a song, like it’s been running through her head and she just decided to let it out. It’s always a bit of a thrill to recognize one of your own small habits in your child. “Oh,” you think. “We share that.” Pretty cool.

Making + Listening

Now that Issue Two is out in the world, I really want to get my hands into some off-computer creating. Of course lots of art-making goes on while creating the magazine, but the last push is very much on the computer, and the very last bit is sorting out the tech-stuff, which is getting easier but still gives me a bit of a headache. So it was a treat to put together this card to send to a pen-pal.

notecard at

That’s a hand-carved stamp printed on Kraft card stock, colored in with a colored pencil, surrounded by a glued-on watercolor/salt effect border. Yay! Making things with my hands is so…necessary.

I also started a pair of socks for my eldest, having finished his mittens. (He has gloves, too, but at 12 he still appreciates and wants hand-knit mittens from his mama. Love.)

beginning of a sock at

He isn’t typically a bright-color kid (his mittens are black), but he only wears handknit socks to bed, so I’m guessing that explains this rather bright yarn. We were more concerned if it felt okay. It would be nice to have these finished in time for Christmas, but knitting socks for him no longer means quickly whipping up some kid-sized socks; it’s just the same as knitting a pair for me. His new snow boots, in fact, fit me. (!!) However, he’s a good-natured kid and will happily accept partly finished socks and a promise, if it comes to that.

As for the listening part, I’ve been listening to my youngest nonstop. We’ve also been listening to Christmas music, but when I need a break–and sometimes I do–I turn it to the 80s station to pep myself up a bit. And I’ve been overdosing on Of Monsters and Men and loving it.

How about you? What are you making and listening to? I’m linking up with Dawn again here.

Finished Knit: Tang

All photos in this post were taken by my 11yo. We had fun.

The sitting-down pose.

I actually finished this sweater way back in May, which was not sweater-wearing weather, so it sat in a bag behind my knitting chair until this past weekend, when I soaked and blocked it. We are moving into sweater weather now, and I’m glad to have a brand-new sweater ready to go (especially since the rest of my wool sweaters are in my mother’s cedar hope chest and there’s stuff on the lid and it is just such a process to get at them).

The front pose.

I’m reaching way back to remember what I did here, because I didn’t write it down at the time. The yarn is Dream in Color Classy, which is a worsted, so I am pretty sure I used size US 7 needles. The color is Emerald Darkness, I have no idea how many skeins I used, and I changed the neckline to a regular crew neck instead of a turtleneck. Oh! And this is the link to the pattern.

The back pose.

The sweater grew quite a bit when I soaked it, especially in the arms, so I threw it in the dryer until it was mostly dry and let it finish drying flat, and then it remembered what it was supposed to look like. I was remarkably sanguine about the growing, probably because I finished this so long ago I wasn’t feeling that oh-my-gosh-I-just-spent-a-gazillion-months-knitting-this-thing attachment to the outcome.

The fun pose.

I think I’ll get a lot of use out of this sweater.

(Finally) Making + Listening (Too)

I hit the ground running when I got home from Montana…homeschooling, karate two nights per week plus Saturdays (for the boys), soccer practice and games (for the girl), launching a new venture, and I updated my Etsy shop, restocking pockets with trees, among other items. All of that meant I didn’t pick up my knitting (which came with me to and from Montana) again until last night.

This is a second Azami–you can see my first on Ravelry. It fits better now than it did when I modeled it for those pics, and I really like it. But I hated working with the called-for yarn, which was slippery and splitty, and I fear it won’t wear well. So I decided to make a second one using my favorite work-horse wool, Cascade 220.

This project will be competing for my attention, though, in the rare bits of free time I have lately. I have a stamp or two I want to carve, denim panels I want to embroider for a pouch, and more embroidery ideas in my head. However, when the air gets crisp, the knitting tends to win out.

As for listening, I think I listened to about three R.E.M. albums in a row while driving in the car this week. Today I landed on Florence & the Machine, which perfectly fit my mood. (Even the songs with possibly sad lyrics sound empowering to me, thanks to the music itself.) The day began with a heartwarming review of the Art Together zine by Jen (she’s got a giveaway going on, too). This afternoon I picked up my bib and race packet for another 5K, a big one (close to 5,000 runners) in downtown Providence on Sunday. Exciting! Good, good things.

I’m linking up with Dawn for the first time in a while. She also debuted something big this week–a wonderful nature site in partnership with Annie. Creativity abounds on these here Internets. And you? Any making going on? What’s been on your playlist?

A Finished Baby Set

Well. This is pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself. I had yarn left over when I finished the sweater (pattern: Assisted Hatching) so of course I wanted to knit a hat. I chose Ashen, because of the seed stitch border. I adore the little wooden buttons. I love the autumn colors. The yarn is soft and smooshy and washable. The mama is one of the teachers at my son’s school. One way or the other, everybody there will have gotten something knitted or sewn by me by the time he’s done there. (Three more years! Three more years and he’ll be entering high school! Gah.)

The Before-School-Starts-Thingy is next week, so I can give it to her in person. I like doing that best.

And speaking of which, my next post will be about homeschooling plans, because despite my overall lack of desire to plan a darn thing lately, we’re two-thirds through August. So.

Making + Listening: Knitting

I’ve spent much of my making time this week knitting this. It’s not too complicated and the yarn is luscious–Tosh Vintage–and I’ve craved that combination of comfortable knitting and lovely yarn this week. The pattern is Assisted Hatching, and that opening at the neck will be closed with two buttons, eventually. The sweater is for a baby due in October, whose sex is unknown. I thought a sweater in autumn colors would be just right.

I knit a goodly bit of the body while waiting in a backed-up doctor’s office at the end of the day (I had been fitted in). I was glad I’d brought my knitting and I could just go round-and-round without having to think about a pattern.

Moving on to the listening…since I’m on my own this week, I started Season 5 of Merlin, and did some knitting while watching/listening to that. I haven’t been listening to anything new…these guys, and this band, of course, and going a bit old-school with him.

What are you making this week? Listening to anything good?

Joining up with Dawn, who’s having a give-away this week, so head on over there if you haven’t already!

Weekend Making Session

I certainly didn’t intend for an entire week to go by in between posts, especially since I’ve actually been creating and making lately. I’m working on a February Baby Sweater for one of my husband’s co-workers, who is due at the end of this month. This is what it looked like this weekend, when I was knitting on my deck.

I’m much farther along now. Yarn and needle details are here. Unfortunately the yarn, a cotton/linen blend, is discontinued. I made my daughter and myself matching sweaters from it, and I wear my version all the time. The yarn has worn well and the sweater has gotten more and more comfortable, as linen does. And the yarn itself was extremely affordable.

Also this past week I finally got back to carving stamps and cutting fabric for new zippered pockets. Then, Sunday afternoon, I kicked everybody out of the house asked my husband to take the kids on an outing (he took them rock climbing at a new, local indoor facility) so I could get some work done. The house to myself! What an uncommon occurrence. I turned my music up loud and got to work. I took pictures as I went along this week so that I could use them on my shop about page–and share them here, too, of course.

I cut a bunch of fabric earlier in the week–most of what you see here will become plain, unadorned pockets. They’re pinned and ready for sewing.

This crab stamp, carved earlier in the week, is ready to be printed. It eventually became this pouch. I had a hard time listing that one. I love it, and I love its cousin with the sailboat patch too.

This is a photo in the midst of a stamping session. Once the ink has completely dried–I leave it overnight just to be sure–I heat set it. This labyrinth-stamped panel became this labyrinth pouch:

labyrinth 1

(click on the photo to go to the listing, if you are so inclined)

Sunday afternoon I pinned and sewed with no interruptions or distractions. It was wonderful! I still have that pile of plain pockets to get to during my next sewing session, and several panels waiting to be embroidered. And, of course, a baby sweater to finish and another one to start (for a baby due in October). It feels so good to get that making groove back again.

The Week’s Work

I don’t feel I made much progress with my own making this week. The first part of the week I felt sluggish and like I wasn’t focusing well, and the second part was busy–so busy that I’m joining in with Dawn’s Making + Listening link-up three days late. Nevertheless, we’ve been making things here.

My oldest made a zine to fulfill a class project. I used this as an excuse to finally buy a long-reach stapler. His only supply request was a non-photo blue pencil (because you don’t need to erase your lines after inking; it doesn’t show up on photocopies). I want to make zines too!

I finally finished my Tang in green wool (so perfect for this time of year…um, not!).

It needs a rinse and block, but my utility sink, which I thought would work so nicely for washing handknits, is full, as always, of drying paintbrushes and paint splotches. I won’t wear this for a few months anyway, and perhaps I’ll remember to do a post with modeled shots when I do…

My daughter made me a cardinal sitting in a nest.

This was all her own idea and execution. She asked for my help reaching the red and green card stock and then set to work with scissors and tape, cutting the shapes out herself. (She used the large circle hole punch for the head and feet.) She ran back and forth to check the bird poster hanging on our wall, the one that includes a cardinal. She was detailed about the feet, wasn’t she? That’s one of the bits she double-checked with the poster. This is so authentically a four-year-old’s creation. I adore it.

I also helped my daughter make more goat note cards.

These sets are already claimed and paid for, and we need to make more to fulfill more orders. I’ll talk more about her work in a future post, but for now I’ll say that I’m so pleased she is having success and so grateful to the communities (both online and in real life) that are helping her achieve that success. My daughter never doubted her plan would work, and I’d do well to observe and learn from the confidence of this four-year-old.

Speaking of which, she also made it to the top of the rock wall at her brother’s school fair today.

Climbing to the top.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo that shows the wall in its entirety so you can see how tall it was. It was really, really tall.

At the top.

It was a little hard to look at my last baby dangling from a harness at the top of that thing, but she was so excited to try and so determined to get all the way up; of course I cheered her on. She drew a little bit of a crowd. A rock-climbing gym recently opened nearby (this was their traveling wall), and I don’t think we’ll be able to keep G out of it.

As for the listening portion, my husband was away this week, so while I wove ends into my sweater and tried to embroider (that being the project I haven’t made much progress on), I watched and listened to Merlin. I have four episodes left to go in Season 3. The younger kids finished listening to The Phantom Tollbooth and The Arabian Nights¬†as I read them aloud. And, because we met friends at the zoo this week, we of course listened to Tom Paxton’s Goin’ to the Zoo on the way. This is such a great CD of fun songs. We all like it.

I hope you are in the midst of an enjoyable weekend, with some time to make and listen to whatever makes you happy.