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Christmas in July?

Last week, I finished a project I’d started back in April or May…Heartwarming Stockings…a kit I purchased from Knit Picks.

I’d made a set of these stockings for the Mr. and me last fall.  When Rooster got engaged, I offered to make his girl her own stocking, which she eagerly said yes to.  Then, I decided to make Rooster a stocking as well so they would have a matching set.

I had almost enough yarn left over from my first set to make this set; however, I had to order a couple of skeins of yarn for Rooster’s girl’s stocking, so I cast on his while I waited for her yarn to arrive.

The great thing about this pattern is that you can customize it.  The pattern has a template, and you pick from various patterns offered for each section.  Rooster’s girl picked out everything, and I went from there.

When I finished Rooster’s stocking, I got to work on his girl’s.

I absolutely love the flowers on this stocking.

When I finished, both stockings got a lengthy bath to ensure that every fiber was soaked through.

Then, I blocked them.

I don’t know if you get a sense of how large these are just from looking at the photos.  I had written down the measurements, but I’ve lost the paper!  Ha!

Rooster’s girl asked if I was going to line them.

I said no, because I didn’t know how, but then I started thinking.

And I started Googling.

And after watching a couple of YouTube videos, I decided that I’d give it a shot.

After I took some measurements, I went to JoAnn Fabrics.

The colors I selected looked great; however, I should have taken a stocking with me, because I made a novice mistake and didn’t double my measurements (hello, this would be an inside lining…like a tube…hence double the amount of fabric required).

Money wasted.

And time.

Ugh.

By this time, Rooster’s girl had come to the house.  I can’t remember what we were doing, but she wound up running with me back to the store, where I got the correct amount of fabric.

I traced around each stocking with a permanent marker, giving myself about a half-inch extra space all around.

Now, I had the bright idea to use my sewing machine to stitch the two halves together.  I’d used my sewing machine, obtained as a gift from a yard sale eons ago, maybe once or twice over the years.

It’s a handy thing…folds down underneath the table.

This thing was d-i-r-t-y.

Look at all of that dust!!

Once I got it plugged in, I made sure it worked by turning on the light.

I got out the manual to make sure it was threaded correctly from the top and ran into a problem when I couldn’t get the bottom bobbin to thread properly.  Maybe my thread was too old…it did keep breaking.  Regardless, I spent at least an hour trying to get it to work before throwing up my hands in surrender.

I’d do things the hard way, thus continuing to live out my mom’s words from years ago…”If there’s a hard way to do something, you’ll find it.”

So, I got out my needle and quilting thread and used a whip stitch to stitch both halves together.

Then, I stuffed each lining into its respective stocking and stitched around the top of each stocking, just under the i-cord.

I was actually really pleased with my small, somewhat even stitches.

When all was said and done, I had two lined stockings.

I am so honored that Rooster’s girl allowed me the privilege of making something so special to commemorate what will be their first Christmas together as a married couple.

 

A Yarn Treat

I received the new Knit Picks catalog in the mail early this past week, and as I flipped through the pages, my attention was drawn to one kit in particular…

That, my friends, is the Heartwarming Stocking Kit.

Oh word, but I just knew I had to have it.  The Mr. once asked if I would knit some stockings for the house, so I figured this was the perfect opportunity…especially since the kit was on sale.

I ordered it, and my box arrived today…

I eagerly dug in…

Isn’t it pretty?

Take a look at what you see when you turn the bag over…

Oh, yarny goodness!!!!

I didn’t dare open the plastic wrap to touch the yarn in fear of totally losing my wits and forgetting that I had lesson plans to write.

The plans have been finished, and I have one day of fun before the week begins (along with another ESOL class).

I have decided to play with yarn on Sunday.

No, I will not cast on, because I have two other projects going.  However, I will cradle the yarn tenderly, loving on it…holding it close to my face…dreaming of when I can put the first stitches on my needles.

The colorwork scares me, but I’ve got some time to get over my fears.

I have much to do in the way of real life work and such.

Still, the joy from the yarn treat, though a bit frivolous, will linger, giving me something to look forward to when things slow down.

Throwing Down the Gauntlet

First, a definition of the phrase, courtesy of YourDictionary.com:

This expression alludes to the medieval practice of a knight throwing down his gauntlet, or metal glove, as a challenge to combat. Its figurative use dates from the second half of the 1700s, as does the less frequently heard take up the gauntlet, for accepting a challenge.

Now, I’m not exactly challenging you to do battle.  Not in a negative sense, that is.

Think red…green…Christmas colors…

These are the five stockings I’ve finished thus far ever since reading about a special project on Dustina’s blog.

You might remember that last year, I knit up a bunch of mini stockings that were part of a larger effort for the troops.

Dustina worked on that project as well and decided to adopt it as her own grass-roots effort for local children who will not get much for Christmas.

I think that this will be a tough holiday season for a lot of people.

Maybe you’ve never made a pair of socks, and the thought scares you to death.

Let me encourage you by saying that this small stocking pattern is PERFECT for you!  By using worsted weight yarn, the project flies right off of your needles.  The instructions are very easy to understand.  She wrote them for two magic loop/two circulars and double-pointed needles.

I am using leftover yarn from last year’s stocking project.  This project requires very little, so if you only have one skein, you can probably crank out three or four easy.  Probably more.

Now…the challenge.

Would you be willing to knit ten of them?  If ten of my readers (do I have this many readers, by the way?) were to knit ten, then that’s 100 stockings!  I have a goal for myself, which I don’t want to share because I’ll feel badly if I don’t meet it.  It’s more than ten though.  So, added to my amount, we can put a dent in her goal of getting 1,000 made.

Please, visit her blog and read more about it.  She will accept fabric stockings as well, so if you’re handy with a sewing machine or needle and thread, this might be just your thing.

Knitting Up More Stockings for the Troops

Boy, is this project addicting!  The mini-stockings project that I started working on yesterday has quickly taken over my knitting life. Thankfully I’m subbing every day this week, so I’ll use my free time (i.e. Planning) to work on them.

Y’all saw the first one I made in yesterday’s post.  Here are three more that I’ve completed since then:

I Love This Yarn - Color #530/Green Camo Stripe

I Love This Yarn - Color #530/Green Camo Stripe

I Love This Yarn - Color #40/Red

I Love This Yarn - Color #40/Red

I Love This Yarn - Color #672/Mistletoe Ombre

I Love This Yarn - Color #672/Mistletoe Ombre

I’ve been playing a bit with the loops, trying to figure out the best way to make them.  I tried i-cord, but it’s tedious.  Then I tried casting on 30 stitches and then casting them off.  This made a nice cord, but it’s a little too thick.  On my third attempt, I crocheted a single strand of stitches.  I think I like this method best.  I can do it using the tail from my cast on, and it’s thinner too.

I’m going to take a small break from knitting these stockings to work up a little something for a friend.  I joined a Cold Weather Drink Swap over on the Virtual Knit and Spin forum on Ravelry.  My partner is figaro, who is also a buddy on KH.  There’s a $5 limit, and all items must fit into a padded 9×11 mailing envelope.  The challenge is fun, and I love how creative it’s causing me to be.

So, no pictures of what I’m cooking up for her.  I think she may read my blog, and I wouldn’t want to spill the beans.

Knitting ADHD

I think I have knitting ADHD.  Do you know what I’m talking about?

I have always been a one-project-at-a-time gal, but lately, I find myself dreaming of other projects.  The project I currently have on my needles are the Knotty or Knice socks from the latest issue of Interweave Knits.  I’ve completed the first sock and have worked two pattern repeats of the second sock.  But I have to admit that I’m getting distracted.

Perhaps I could blame it on the holidays…except that I’m not planning on doing much holiday knitting.

Nope, that’s not it.

I think it’s simply that I’m tired of working on the socks.  I’ll jump at any chance to put them aside.

A few days ago, Rockin’ Rooster asked me if I would make him a beanie.  I’ve had this pamphlet laying around for a few months now:

I bought it at Hobby Lobby and have made one hat out of it already.

Needless to say, I was extremely pleased that a member of my immediate family would ask me to make them something.  The next day, I headed straight to the store to find the perfect yarn.  Look at the pamphlet above…at the fourth beanie on the second row.  That’s the one that Rooster wanted me to make him.   He wanted it in green and orange.  The official name of the pattern is Nothing But Ribbing Beanie.  I bought two skeins of  Lion Brand Wool-Ease.  The colors are Paprika and Forest Green Heather.  I was a bit unsure…thinking that the colors would be too dark, but Rooster gave me the green light to proceed, so I did.  Here’s the result:

I modified the pattern a bit to allow for the striping, and I am pleased with the way it turned out except for the places where I carried the yarn up.  I’ve got to figure out how to do this in such a way that there’s not a heavier “seam” going up the hat.  The average person wouldn’t notice it, but I do.  Anyhow, I worked three rounds of the green and then one round of the orange…all the way up the hat.

With the hat finished, I turned to my next project.

I recently learned of an effort to provide mini stockings to the troops serving overseas.  You can read more about it here.  The thing that touched me about this project is that these stockings are going to servicemen and women who are not receiving mail.  Believe it or not, there are many who receive little to no mail.  That must be very sad.  One of the gals at KnittingHelp.com has organized an effort to contribute to this project.  The response has been incredible.  We’ve already made over 100!!

Here’s my first one:

I’m subbing for four days in the same classroom this week, and I’m going to ask my students if they want to decorate note cards for us to place inside some of the stockings.  I’m hoping they decide to do it.  Of course, this will have to be done at home as I don’t want to interrupt the work already planned by the teacher.  However, I have faith that the kids’ hearts will be touched, just like mine was when I heard about it.

Excited about this project, I went shopping for more Christmas-colored yarn today.  I ran into Ms M, and we went from one craft store to another.  She’s been crocheting some stockings too!  Here’s the yarn I bought at Hobby Lobby today:

Fortunately, the store manager kindly found a 40% coupon, so I saved some money on the purchase.

And here’s a skein of yarn I bought at Michael’s (with a 40% coupon):

I’m going to make the hat on the label.  Soccer Chick’s sports trainer (who was also her physical therapist after her sugery) is expecting twin girls in January.  When I paid for this yarn, another 40% coupon printed out, so I’m going to go back and buy another skein, in a different color.  Mr. AuburnChick wasn’t even mad when I told him.  He wants to give these as Christmas gifts.  Whew!

So, do you see what I mean?  My focus is totally gone.  I want to knit EVERYTHING!!!

Sigh…

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