Though most of the country is covered in snow, and I'm sure it is ideal knitting time, our house is getting hot enough in the afternoon to make you sweat!  Not exactly motivation to pick up wool.  But I've been able to get several small projects out the door despite the not so conducive temperature.  
My bow tie wearing husband requested a knit necktie like his brother's.  I took to heart the lessons I learned from the first knit necktie I made: a.) it takes a lot longer than you would think to knit a long skinny strip, but b.) what really take a long time is sewing down the ribbon backing!  No, I kid, (but those things are true and should be taken into account if you are planning on knitting a necktie.)  I did the actual knitting for this project over Christmas break, and then stuffed it in a bag, with the already purchased ribbon backing, dreading giving up the knitting time to sew on the backing.  The perfect opportunity presented itself when we hung out with friends on the only cozy rainy Saturday we've had all winter.  I was able to sew on the backing ribbon without thinking too much about what I was doing or how long it was taking due to the good company.  This tie did go faster than the last tie because the yarn was a little heavier weight, a discontinued Knit Picks sport weight, and so, because of the heavier weight yarn, fewer stitches were required to get the same width.
One of my co-workers, who works in rare book preservation, and her husband, who is a sculptor, built a tree-house dollhouse for their granddaughter.  I haven't seen pictures yet,  but she described it to me, and asked if I would make some animal dolls for it, specifically a black cat doll.  My co-worker's granddaughter has a pet black cat named Chubby that she loves very much, and my co-worker had attempted to find a black cat doll, but hadn't had any luck.  I asked her about what size, she said "egg sized."  I'm always happy to make requests, and mostly with this kind of project, I just want to make sure that I'm spending my time making something that the person will like.  I first went to Ravelry and searched for tiny cat, tiny bear, etc, to get a good sense of the patterns already available.  I settled on this cute little bear pattern, which was only slightly annoying for having to seam up the back of the body and the back of the head.  I did i-cord legs and tail, and adjusted the ears and eyes to give them a more cat-like appearance.  Though the legs aren't hinged, the tail provides ballast, so that the cat does sit up.  My co-worker relayed that her granddaughter recognized this little version of Chubby right way, so, mission accomplished! 
A UFO is knitting speak for an Un-Finished Object.  I'm not sure, however, if that label can be applied if the project never got started to begin with.  I had this beautiful madelintosh yarn sitting around since February 2013 to make a cowl for myself.  It was one of those projects where I saw the sample and just had to make it.  I started the project as Christmas knitting on planes and by the fire, etc.  It was a simple to memorize stitch pattern, only one yarn used at a time, and just going around in a loop.  I worked on it off and on, not really sure how wide I was going to make it.  I started noticing that most cowl patterns were 7 1/2 inches wide.  I finally measured the cowl that was just hanging out and realized i was only 1 1/2 inches away from being done.  So I finished it in on sitting.  But then, I just wasn't right for me!  And it really was one of those "not right" situations where you just know it isn't getting better.  I know I picked out green yarn because  I don't wear that much green, but, I still don't wear that much green!  So I sent it off to a friend and it has found a happy home.  
Finally, birthday socks for my sweet Valentine of a mother.  These were a fun pattern, definitely improved by using the Felici yarn from Knitpicks with it's wide stripes.  It's a great yarn for socks, very soft, and excellent for esoteric patterns.  These socks are started at the cuff, then knit the entire back, and then pick up stitches in a U shape around the opening and just knit back and forth, decreasing, until a final long graft closes up the front.  I know that probably sounds like garble, but trust me, picking up the stitches evenly was the only annoying part.  I even got the color repeats to basically match up!  

 
 
Some elements of Christmas crafting were right down to the wire this year!  I finished two gifts on the 23rd.  Whew!
I started with the best of intentions.  In September I began socks for my father-in-law.  He is tall, so he has size 12 feet.  I always forget and then slowly remember that it takes twice as long to knit a men's size 12 as it does to knit a woman's size 6.  Math, I know, but it always comes as a shock to the time budget in my head.  
I'm very pleased with the way these came out.  It is my own pattern.  I started with grey toes and a red foot, but quickly realized that it would be much better to have a grey foot with a red toe.  All the color transitions are joggless.  It is one of those little touches that make you feel good.  
The stripes around the top were the trickiest part.  I knit the first round of the color change without purls and then did the next row in the ribbing pattern.  The result is that there are no jogs and no purl bumps to disrupt the straightness of the lines.  It's the small details that keep this knitter interested.  I would just like to mention that the grey yarn is KnitPicks Stroll.  I was pleasantly surprised at how soft and pretty this yarn is and I would definitely enjoy making more socks with it.
Two years ago we went on a day trip to Western Massachusetts to visit my brother-in-law.  Of course we stopped by to visit Webs, the Northampton brick and mortar location for yarn.com.  I had had a small amount of forsight and tried to pre-plan some projects to shop for.  One of them was a cute fox hat for my brother-in-law.  I've had that yarn sitting in the "ready to go" project area of my stash ever after.  This year, I decided that I would bring the project along, and try to complete it before we went home from our holiday visit.  Well, surprise!  This project was started on the 21st and finished on the 23rd.  Maybe my time estimator is just broken.  It was wrapped up and under the tree on the 24th and was warmly received!  I was worried because the recipient has now moved to New York City, but city living can’t make him fancy and he's still the same guy at heart.  He was excited to receive it and I was thrilled at how much he wore it while we were there. 
I loved the yarn on this project.  It had subtle color changes, but because I was holding the yarn doubled, there really wasn't any pooling and it is nice and thick and squishy.  The yarn is now discontinued, which is why it was in the sale room at Webs.  
And finally, this is one of the loveliest things I've made in quite a while.  I absolutely did not think I had the time.  All the time that the fox hat yarn has been staring at me, so has some very fine white cotton crochet thread.  This year, I intended to make a crocheted edge on a linen bread cloth for my mother-in-law. I had an antique pattern I loved, but when I finally sat down to work on it, like most antique patterns, I could not get the gauge.  My little squares of fillet crochet came out very rectangular.  I came to this realization on December 15th, and we were flying out on the 20th.  I hope to go back to the project, but at that point in the holiday season, I simply did not have the heart to fret over something that might never work out.  I had seen this china doll pattern at the end of October when it was first posted on Ravelry, and immediately knew it would be perfect for my MIL for Christmas, but even then I didn't think I would be able to finish it in time.  Well, after the fillet crochet debacle, I decided I was just going to get the doll done.  Late nights for a week and I did almost have it finished.  Somehow, mine came out slimmer than the pattern must have intended, because the clothes didn't fit.  But the construction was simple enough that I was able to decrease stitches around and increase rows so that she has some very nice fitting underthings.  The pattern is from Rabbit Hole Knits.  She has lots of cute patterns, including a walking suit for the doll.  
The main alteration I made to the pattern was to make the doll blonde instead of brunette.  For her eyes and mouth I used bits of yarn from my father’s socks from last post.  The dyes leaking into each other just made the most beautiful subtle colors, and I’m happy I got to feature them.  Her cheeks were painted on with watercolor paint, which seemed like a very authentic touch.  I love the use of bobbles around the hairline to give her curls.
And finally, the last of my little projects, Christmas Tree Christmas tree ornaments.  Again, this year things were not timed out well, and I had another pattern I wanted to do but ran out of time!  I like the ways these came out though.  The tree was quick to do, and these used up all my stash of green sport weight yarn.  I used a glue gun (not my favorite) to attach tiny buttons for ornaments and lights or garland.  They fit nicely into flat mailers.  
 
 
This is going to be a photo heavy one!
In October, we dyed yarn!  Yarn dying always seemed a little more messy than I like, but it also seemed like a fun way to interact with the fiber.  As regular readers may have noticed, I make a lot of socks for my mom.  It is easy because her feet are the same size as mine, it is quick because those feet are little, it is fun because she likes funky stuff so I have a lot of freedom.  Also, because she lives in the southeastern US, she doesn't have much use for anything else made of wool!  She is also super crafty, so I knew she would enjoy dying the yarn for her own socks.
We ordered dyes and sock blanks from Knitpicks.  Sock blanks are pieces of pre-knitted fabric that have been knit using two strands of sock yarn held together.  They basically look like long loose knit scarves.  The idea is that you dye them, and then unravel them and knit them into socks two at a time.  The particles of dye are not healthy, so we suited up and mixed up the dyes.
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My pretty momma!
From information we found online, we dyed the yarn in patterns with a basic idea of what was going to happen on the socks.  Stripes might translate to dots or stripes depending on their direction and thickness.  Blocks of color on the block might make blocks of color on the sock, or they might make general ideas of color broken up and mixed with other colors in thin stripes.  I like control over my projects a little too much to love this, but it was fun.  My mom dyed two blanks, my husband dyed one trout inspired blank, above on the left, and I dyed one, begrudgingly.  I felt stressed out about it all the way through, but I like the way it came out in the end.
All per instructions, after we dyed the yarn, we wrapped it up in plastic wrap,
and steamed the little yarn wraps to lock in dyes.  The smell was not great, and the pots can never be used to cook food again, but we were able to pick up the pots for not much at the Salvation Army before hand.
Here is what a sock blank looks like in the process of knitting.
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Stripes becoming stripes.
And before I get on to the result, here are some socks I made for my mom to give her on this trip.  They were an atonement for us not going home for Thanksgiving, but also, they were super fun to make!  They are the Kalajoki pattern (the Kalajoki is a river in Finland, and these definitely have a flowing vibe).  They knit up very quickly and required enough attention to keep them interesting.   I changed the pattern a little bit by using the yo-yo heel.  Also I finally got to use this beautiful Trekking yarn that I had not been able to make work in other patterns.
So, here are some hand dyed hand knit socks:
I went with the old reliable Skew pattern because I know it fits my mom's feet, and also I wasn't sure how the yarn was going to act.  I think the nicest thing was the depth of the coloration of the yarn caused by the inconsistency of the dye application.  There were some light spots, and some colors that weren't part of the original dye scheme, but came about through the dyes combining on the wool.  I can certainly understand why, years ago, they were so thrilled to be able to get machine dyed, consistently colored yarns.  Now we want to see the hands and the process.  Especially in something you dyed yourself, it is fun to see the hands.  I'm sure an experience dyer would not be as pleased, but thankfully my perfectionism doesn't extend that far.
I also did a pair for my dad!  This is just my old reliable "man sock pattern" that I've been developing and feel pretty satisfied with.  Finished just moments before mailing, they came out great!  These were the result of long vertical stripes of dye.  I'm dying them in the shot above on the right.  Again, really pretty surprise colors showed up where the dyes overlapped.  That overlapping happened because we didn't add vinegar to the dyes before we applied them.  No regrets here on that front!   
And the bonus project for this time around is a rather old one, but they came out great, so I'm sharing.  I was planning to make 4, which, is just not going to happen for a while, so here they are, I'm calling the project finished.  Here we have an example of inadvertent pooling that I've resolved to be okay with.  I hope they have a festive vintage feel, cause that's what I was going for.  They are 100% cotton, crocheted from a free Red Heart pattern.
 
 
In March I started making a pair of socks for my husband.  I came up with a pattern that I thought I liked and made most of one sock while on flights back and forth to the East Coast.  I finished the toe of one of these socks over the 4th of July and didn't like it any more.  I had started at the top, working towards the toe, and the self stripping yarn had ended in a color that I didn't like on the toe.  I put the sock away.  
I recently had the chance to be with my father for his birthday.  I wanted to make socks for him, and so I started, again, to discover a good formula for a men's sock using self striping yarn.  The self striping yarn puts on enough of a show, and so, I think, challenges the knitter to come up with something simple to let it shine.  I like the Felici yarn from Knitpicks because it is soft and seems to be long lasting (also it is not too expensive, especially as the color ways are retired.)  I'll be linking to the tutorials I use for each section of the sock formula.  I've been using some of these tutorials for years.
Before knitting, I pulled enough yarn out of each ball so  that I could match up the colors, and then trimmed one off so they matched.  
I needed a place to start, I could feel myself getting overwhelmed, so I turned to Toe-up Socks for Every Body by Wendy Johnson for some help on how many stitches to start with for the toe of a man's sock.  I did toe-up so I would have more control over the toe color, and after all, on the leg, you can just keep going if you don't like the color it is ending on.  
Using the toe from the Manly Aran Socks pattern I made both toes and loaded them onto the needles so that I could make the socks two at a time so I would be sure to finish them.  I suffer greatly from Second Sock Syndrome, which isn't really an acceptable excuse to not getting a birthday present finished.  For a 9 inch diameter sock, I had 36 stitches on the front and on the back.  I didn't want to do a simple 1x1 or 2x2 ribbing, and after poking around online, I found inspiration in a ribbing that had thin and thick sections.  I devised something that had thin and fat ribs and would fit into the allotted stitches.  
I decided I wanted to use the Jo-Jo heel because it has a similar appearance to a short-row heel, but is a little deeper to accommodate a man's larger foot.  The difference is that in the Jo-Jo heel, there are a few rounds that go all the way around all the instep and heel stitches half way through the heel, so there were a few very skinny stripes of color on the front of the ankle, but I'm at peace with them.  
I kept going up the leg, and then finished with 1 1/2 inches of 1x1 ribbing, and used a sewn bind-off so everything is extra stretchy.  
I was so pleased with the result when I finished my father's socks, that I immediately re-started the socks for my husband, same toe up, two at a time technique.  I didn't bother taking the other sock apart, I just knit the yarn as it unraveled.  The sock made with the unraveled yarn looks a little looser right now, but one washing and the socks will look the same.   I'm sure there might be some tiny difference in tension, but I can't believe that my husband will notice it.  
 
 
This blog has been silent for a little while, while I try to figure out what to do with it.  I've decided that an exercise in daily writing is a good way to get out of this indecisive phase, and as an example, the following is writing from Friday night and Saturday night.   I've thrown in some photos of finished items for the last little bit of time to keep things light :)  Each photo is linked to the pattern if you're interested.  Here we go...
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Baby sweater for sweet baby Mara (sweater from a LYS, not on-line)
Friday night:

Oh my gosh, knitting frustration!  I have at least 9 work-in-progress projects going on right now.  And I don't want to work on any of them.  Is the solution to start a new project?  It certainly seemed hopeful.  The first project I tried to start called for size 13 circular needles.  I checked, and I have no regular set of 13 circulars.  I have two interchangeable needle sets, one of which goes up to size 11, and the other one does have size 13s.  Good news, except that I only have the shortest cable available for that set.  It is 9:30 pm at this point, so I can't run to the store.  Husband points out that I could order another large cable.  This wouldn't help me in the moment, but, I tell myself, I can endure this crazy for a few more days, so I order one from Amazon.  But I still want to knit to relax and I still don't want to work on any of my current projects.  
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Hot Fudge Sundae Socks for my mom
Maybe I could start something else that is ready to go.  Maybe a hat that I bought the yarn for last Christmas.  Let's see, that wants size 10 double pointed needles.  I don't have those, but I can come up with two size 10 circulars on the short cables between the two interchangeable sets.  Let me just check gauge before I'm off and running on this... oh, I have 8 stitches per inch instead of the 6 required by the gauge.  And, the fabric already seems like it is too loose, and when you stretch it, you can see through the "holes", no good for a hat.  Going up in needle size to get the right gauge would make the fabric even looser.  Could I hold two strands of the yarn together?  Yes, but then I wouldn't have enough yarn to finish the project, and this yarn is actually discontinued I've had it in my stash for so long.  
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Thank you gift for the wonderful woman who made my husband's kilt
Hm, maybe I should start some complicated doily, because I finally have some size 30 thread.  No, I know that is a bad idea for what is now 10 pm.  I'll just work on this reversible project that I started in 2009 and picked up again recently. It is a little tedious because there are so many stitches per row, but it has a certain appeal.  You know, after the gauge being so off on that hat, maybe i should just check it on this for a lark.  Oh, I'm 2 stitches off on the vertical and horizontal gauge, oh, and I also just learned a much prettier way to join the sides.  So, I guess I should take it apart?  but each row takes around 20 min.  I don't want to take it apart, but on the other had, I still have much further to go on the project than I've already gone.    
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Christmas ornaments
Saturday night:

After a morning of continuing to bemoan my situation, I awoke from a nap to a mail delivery of the most lovely Icelandic yarn from a friend who just came back from a trip.  
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Beautiful surprise wool from Iceland
The colors are beautiful and the sentiment is charming.  Alright, I'm feeling better.  I planned to go to a bagpipe jam session with my husband that night, and had thought I would bring a project to while away the hours, but in my current state I was beside myself as to what that project would be.  
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Observe, I had the perfect eye stalk button in my button box!
Ultimately I decided to go back to a wedding gift project that is due in August that I hadn't worked on since October (a conservative estimate).  What a good project to return to!  Cables to keep things interesting, 100% wool yarn, one eye calming cream color.  Pleasant music, and a lovely bunch of German women who happened to be there who lavished my project with ego boosting praise and then descended upon me trying to show me how to do a continental purl stitch.  
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Friend commissioned baby two-toed sloth
There were three women, two were mother and daughter, and each had her own slightly different continental purl technique and each felt her own way made the most sense, and it was such a nice moment of knitter fellowship and so charming to be literally hugged from behind by one of the women while she grabbed my hands and  attempted to lead them through her version of a purl.  So i'm back in the game, inching my way back to relaxing knitting.  
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Everyone cuddles when they're cuddly!
And that's why i need to write every day here, because the experience of knitting is so mercurial to me and I want to try to document it, maybe for 2 weeks?  
 
 
Socks are fun to knit.  While there are some knitters who never knit socks, there are some who only knit socks.  A basic sock leaves a lot up to the discretion of the knitter.  There is a cuff, a heel, and a toe, with leg and foot between them, and because there have been people knitting for hundreds of years, there are lots of different ways to create these parts.  I love that socks are based on measurements, and that you can make a sock that fits just based on the wearer’s shoe size.  I love to find a favorite method for each part, use it a few times, and then find a new favorite method.  I’ve been knitting socks since 2005, and plunging head first into the knitting part of the internet since 2009,  and I still come across new ways to do things that tickle my fancy.  I’m looking at those numbers, and they don’t seem long enough ago to encompass what I feel I’ve learned about fiber arts in those years, but, to put it another way, I spend an average of 3 hours a day on fiber crafting, and so those years add up to 5,000-10,000 hours.  

I learn new skills with each new project I undertake and with each old project I do a 2nd or 3rd time, and spending 50 straight days a year crafting means that I’m learning a lot.  Even so, I’m surprised to see how things I made, even a year ago, feel far away and foreign.  Places in a pattern where I had to make decisions look strange to my eyes now, because I’ve learned new techniques that I would use instead.  

I’ve been busy recently working on projects for folks at Thanksgiving and for folks at Christmas, and for weddings that are happening in August (yeah, I know, but it is better to be ahead than behind I say!).  I’ve gotten through everything I wanted to do for Thanksgiving, and Christmas still seems far away, so I got inspired to finish a project that has been hanging around since May 2011.  The project is a pair of socks that were supposed to be for an August 2011 birthday, but instead they will be for a 2012 Thanksgiving.  
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Hard won toe
Technical Notes: My goal is to avoid taking the first sock apart and have two matching socks at the end of the process.  I did not, however, make it simple for myself.  In 2011, apparently, I hadn't yet learned to keep detailed notes about pattern changes, because I looked at the finished sock, looked at the directions I had stuffed into the bag with the extra yarn, and had some troubles.  After trying to start the sock cuff-down and knitting a few rounds, I figured out that the finished sock is knit from the toe up.  I can still access vague memories of being so enamored of Judy’s magic cast-on that I would use any excuse to employ it, and also being so interested in the Interlock Bindoff, that, again, any excuse or pattern tweak seemed reasonable.  The Interlock Bindoff looks almost, but not quite like a Twisted German cast-on, thus my cast-on confusion.  They may, very well, operate under the same principles, because they are both very stretchy.  Figuring out how many stitches were cast on was another challenge.  Well, less of a challenge and more like I didn't look that closely at the toe of the first sock before I plunged ahead, so, a completed toe later, I realized that I had cast on 28 stitches on the first sock, and only 20 on the second, so I ripped it back again.  Now I’m on the almost right track and should be able to finish the foot without further incident.  
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Dissatisfying heel
I did an afterthought heel on the first sock (a heel knitted after the rest of the sock is finished).  Now, as you would expect, I have a different favorite heel, which is knitted during sock construction.  The afterthought heel I did has a thicker side seam than I would like.  I’m torn because I don’t want to do a bunch of ripping back, and I can’t employ my new favorite heel technique anyway, but if I can find a satisfactory solution, which I think I have, then I’ll be pulling out the heel on the first sock and doing something a little more elegant.  


The pattern for these, by the way, is Jaywalker.  
 
 
My friend has a joke that her blog is a “blog for moms.” Not that she writes for moms, but that her main readership is her mom, a friend’s mom, her boyfriend’s mom, etc.  I think it is mostly a way of expressing the confusing feeling of writing for the internet.  You don’t really know who you are writing for, besides your mom.   
Personally, though I don't always know who all is reading, I know that my mom is my most dedicated reader, and also my most dedicated harasser when I fall behind in my posts.  One of the reasons I fall behind is that I get it into my head that I have specific things I want to say about my projects, and I can’t say them to my own satisfaction.  My mom always has tons of nice stuff to say about what I’ve made, so I decided to just let her say it this time, and also clean out the backlog of projects I needed to share with you all, and then maybe I can get motivated from here moving forward.  I've included links for the patterns.  Some are only on Ravelry, one is on Lion Brand and you have to log in to see it.  
So, without further ado, here’s my mom: 
Sarah just finished making me this beautiful silk shirt.  Last February, I took a trip to California to visit the kids and go with Sarah to the Stitches West Show in San Jose.  There, we found this pattern and yarn.  It sat around until late July when we gathered in Paradise (Michigan), and there, Sarah started working on the project.  So soft, so lovely. This pattern can be adjusted for any body size.  And of course, Sarah made it so it fits me perfectly.  [pattern]
The cute red and white placemat is 100% cotton, and 100% LOVED by Sarah’s cat Mona.  I guess you could say that it is a catmat…  The pattern is a free pattern from Red Heart.  [pattern]
Lovely wool socks for the fisherman.  Sarah’s father-in-law loves to fish – and loves to keep warm.  These socks work for both!  I love the red toes and the heals as well as the ultra cool pattern on the leg. [pattern, though I did a jojo heel, which is not in the book.]
Mom and Mom-in-law both got a pair of these paneled socks.  The blended yarn worked in sections really makes for some cool socks.  [pattern, above with a short row heel and picot hemmed cuff, below with a heel flap heel and ribbed cuff.]
Having such a talented daughter, I tend to make a lot of special requests.  Sarah really went out of her way for a dear friend of mine.  With a new German Shepherd in the family, I thought it would be nice for my friend to have a knit German Shepherd for her collection.  So I sent photos of the puppy to Sarah, who went through her stash to try to match the markings of the actual dog.  She did a fantastic job (of course).  The odd thing was that the dog was scared of the knit dog.  She wouldn’t stop barking at her miniature.  Sarah thought this might have happened because she made the dog while dog sitting.  Maybe the dog could smell the other dog on the yarn?  Who knows? [pattern]
And the HATS. 
My husband has worn a knit hat forever.  His mother was an amazing knitter (as is his daughter).  When Sarah was researching the perfect hat to make for her Dad, she came into a quandary.   There were TWO hats that she liked.  The best solution was achieved.  Sarah knit two hats for her Daddy.  One for really cold weather, one for medium cold weather.  Both lovely (although the patterned one is my favorite).  Both blue (because that is her Daddy's favorite color).  Both wool (because that is what Daddy loves).  [and I never got a finished photo of the one on the right!  left: pattern, right: pattern]
Okay, thanks Mom! for guest blogging.  I’ll be back next week with a post about a new project. 
 
 
Thought I might not post frequently, I always keep busy!  Here are some pictures with their origin stories.
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Zombiedillo
Meet tiny Texas Zombie!  

I combined two of Anna Hrachovec's wonderful tiny patterns.  The armadillo is from her book Teeny-Tiny Mochimochi, and the zombie is from a separate pattern collection.  I changed the pattern for the zombie just a little, making the legs longer, and making the shirt white.  I made up the little hat.  It is crocheted, starting at the top, making a little tube, and then increasing in every stitch to make the brim.  I should write up the pattern for those that want a tiny hat, but I haven't yet, so I would just say, trust your gut, and let the tiny hat flow from you naturally.  I put some wire into the raised arm so he could give a proper yee-haw, which shows a little in this photo, but just think of it as yarn zombie bones.  The reins are embroidery floss.  He now lives on the desk of a co-worker who is from Texas and loves zombies.  
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Rainbow Trout Socks
A little treat for my husband who lends emotional support to all the projects you see on this site.  When projects start to go south, he listens to me talk it out, and he calmly accepts a bedroom destroyed by trying to find that one ball of yarn that just can't be found.  This pattern may look familiar.  It is the Sidewinders pattern that I've knit several times already.  I knit it with Mini-Mochi which was a lovely experience.   I was very pleased that the pink stripes landed on the sides of the socks so that it really looks trouty.  For fans of non-traditional sock construction (I know I'm not the only one!) I recently happened upon Hypercycloid's blog where she has been up to lots of non-traditional sock construction.  I've saved several of these patterns for future use.  
Kilt Hose, click on the images to make them larger
More husband socks!  My husband has been taking bagpipe lessons for almost a year, and he played in a competition for the first time recently.  Not only have I learned a lot of about the instrument in this time, but I've also learned about the parts of traditional Scottish dress.  Eventually he will have his own kilt, but in the mean time, he rented one, as well as all the fixings.  Of course, I was darned if he was going to rent or, perish the thought, buy the hose to wear with the kilt.  Also of course, I only came to the realization that I would need to make these hose 3 weeks before the competition (I ended up finishing them the night before).  No problem!  I found this lovely free pattern through Ravelry.  I chose the toe up version of the pattern because I knew I would have to make a few modifications to fit my husband's larger calves.  The hose are knit with worsted weight yarn (Cascade 220) but on US size 1.5 needles.  When the socks are on the leg, my vertical gauge ended up being 15 rows per inch, which is quite a few more rows than I think the pattern was intending.  Instead of two balls of the 220, I ended up using almost 4, but the result is a pair of very nice dense hose, no holes between stitches (which was my husband's main concern).  Besides doing many more rows for the leg and cuff, the only other modification I made was to do two more rib increases on the back of the calf, instead of the suggested single center rib finish.  (Sorry, I'm not sure how better to describe that, look at the picture of the back of the calf and I think you'll see what I mean.)  I want to try kilt hose again, and he is competing again in September, so, more kilt hose might show up here in the future.  
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Ood!
Last, but not least.  I had had my eye on this pattern on Ravelry for some time, but had no reason to make it.  Enter the reason,  I had the opportunity to go to a Dr. Who themed party.  Hurrah!  This is a crocheted Ood.  The Ood are hilarious and also full of pathos, and so, they are favorites of mine.  This pattern was super quick and super easy, it took me about 2 nights of work.  I had all the yarn in my stash, so, good de-stashing project if you have some left over sand from an under the sea blanket and some left over coral color from making sea horses.  The pattern is also brilliant because there is a mouth opening behind the tentacles for breathing and eating.
Okay, and we're not caught up yet!  I have a lot of gifts to give in the near future and then there will be a catch up gift post!
 
 
Whenever anyone tells me "Hey, I like your blog," I feel compelled to say: "I don't post enough!  But I just like crafting more than I like writing about it." As a result, a lot of projects never make it onto the blog because they were finished so long ago that by the time I get it together to write a post, I'm onto something totally new.  But I've done a lot of projects recently that I like, so I'm just going to overwhelm you with a big smorgasbord of finished projects.  Dig in! 
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Completed Under the Sea Blanket
Here is the finished Under the Sea blanket.  Though I am pleased, and my friend who received it is pleased, it somehow never lived up to my elaborate conception, (which was much more sculpture than blanket).  All of the items button on with toggle buttons, and so they can be re-arranged and moved around.  
More socks for my mom.  They are both from patterns that you've seen here before and that just work particularly well.  I liked the Sidewinders pattern so much, that I knew I wanted to make a pair for my mom.  I used some Felici self striping yarn and it ended up coming out so perfectly!  The last pair of Skew socks got rave reviews for fit, so I thought I would make another pair.  This time around I used an acrylic blend so that they won't be quite so warm as wool.  A summer sock.   
More socks!  This time socks for my husband, who, you may have noticed, doesn't get a lot of stuff.  The items in the cue for him are long and varied and he is very patient about it, so I got the lead out and actually finished something for him.  These were designed by the witty little knitter, and the pattern is here.  I was worried about tightness in the ankles, so I did the all of the white accents on the leg in duplicate stitch.  I hadn't really ever given a lot of though to the technique of duplicate stitch, but thankfully and serendipitously, smartygirl at the filmcraft blog posted a link to a Watermelish tutorial on duplicate stitch which was awesome!  And everything came out much neater than my original attempt.
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The completion of tiny seahorse!
Tiny seahorse is finished!  I put it off for so long because I was worried I wouldn't be able to pick up the stitches for the belly.  I hadn't even considered how absurdly small the back fin would be.  So tiny!  This is, once again, a Hansi Singh pattern.  I didn't have to change the pattern at all, just used smaller needles and yarn.  People's main reaction has been, "how do you make it so tiny," and my only answer is "tiny needles."  The stick supporting the seahorse in this photo is actually one of the needles used to knit it.  They are size 0/6 and I got them from BagLady, where I also got 0/4 and 0/5.  They don't sell 0/8, thank goodness, or I would probably be blind.  
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Imp!
And I know I'm kind of burying the lead here, but ta-da!  Tiny chameleon.  He was inspired by a little guy you may have seen in the news a little while ago:

One new chameleon was found on Nosy Hara, an islet off the coast of Madagascar. Named Brookesia micra, it is the smallest of the four species. Juveniles are small enough to stand on the head of a match. 
Well, I didn't quite get it that small, but pretty close!  Also, chameleons are incredibly fun to look at!  When ever I'm doing a project where I'm trying to match something in nature, I do a lot of image searches first, and that was how I learned the super fun fact that baby chameleons ride around on their mom's faces.  So, then, of course, I knew what I had to do.
Both mom and baby are Hansi Singh patterns.  The mom was knit with sock weight yarn and using 0/4 needles.  The hardest part by far was the tail, but it wasn't impossible.  The legs are knit separately, but the head and eyes are knit with picked up stitches.  There are wires inside the legs so that they are positionable. 
 
 
Happily, another family I know had a baby, and so he is now the recipient of my new favorite baby item:
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Knowing this little baby was a boy, I decided to add some little blue stripes.  I like how they look like soccer socks a little.  I did the Interlock bindoff this time, so the tops don't roll when not filled with a fat little leg, but they are just as stretchy as the correctly named Stretchy bindoff that I used on the last pair.