now that usps has done their part

 stack of presents

One of the best things about knitting for another knitter is that you know they will appreciate the gifts – one of the worst is you can’t talk about it/work on it anywhere they might be (like Ravelry).  Today I learned that all the packages I sent out last week arrived and so I give you an outline of my secret crafting from last year.

December 2007 I decided to make crayon rolls for two girls I know; I went out and bought the supplies but never made them before Christmas.  Later that year I discovered Craft Apple’s tutorial for a Little Artist Drawing Case (since then she has removed the tutorial and has included it with a pattern you can purchase) and decided to make these cases for the girls instead.  And that sat and sat until one little girl came to visit me (I started the project the weekend before her arrival and finished it while she was at my house). One drawing case done (November 2008) and one to go.
Tomten FinishedLate December 2007  I also started knitting my first tomten from Elizabeth Zimmerman.  The pattern didn’t really appeal to me until I started seeing great examples on Zimmermania.  Since I wasn’t sure who was going to get this sweater I did actually blog about some of the progress.  I finished the knitting sometime in the spring but it sat and sat waiting for the zipper to be sewn in, so finally in October (?) I told my friend A that I would send it to her – I put the zipper in and then it sat some more waiting for ends to be woven in and washed again to be certain it wouldn’t fall apart.

Peapod Baby Sweater

May 2007 (oh noes I better start knitting before the baby arrives in June) I start knitting the peapod baby sweater.  I was one of the lucky ones who grabbed it from Knitting Daily before it was removed from their files (the pattern is currently unavailable to the dismay of many Ravelers).  The knitting went fairly quickly and I was so happy that I was going to get this gift to Tattva1 in a timely manner.  Then the sleeve+gauge fiasco hit and the sweater sat for a long time.  Finally this fall it occurred to me that Pigeon was going to be 6 months old in December and my theory of a size 6 months should fit somewhere between October and April was going out the window.  But I had to finish her sister’s turtle.  Oh yes, and the drawing case…

Pretty Pink Princess TurtleJune 2007 I started knitting what I dubbed the Pretty Pink Princess Turtle.  I’m glad that I learned that Ladybug was interested in a red room in her new house because she almost got an Eeyeore themed turtle (I had bought dusty purple and dusty blue yarn for it but found out about the love of red in time for an exchange at the LYS).  This too started out as a quick knit.  But somewhere along the way it got shuffled to the bottom of the pile and I procrastinated putting it together.  It lived in my yarn bag for a long time, but every time I took it out I would realized I was missing something (generally the stuffing).  Finally I grabbed all the supplies I needed when I was invited to go for a day trip to Seattle.  And so 6 months later I finished the turtle. Which brings us back to January 2008.

February 2008 Just last week I finally put together the second drawing case (to be packaged up with two of the hand knits shown above).

Drawing CaseDrawing Case - open

February 18, 2009. Tags: , , , . Knitting, Sewing. 3 comments.


I started knitting a Tomten at the end of December.  It took a couple years for this pattern to grow on me, the pictures in Knitting Without Tears are just not all that appealing, but then I found the Zimmermania blog and started seeing gorgeous cute Tomtens on gorgeous cute toddlers and decided that I had to knit it.  I decided to knit it for one of my fellow alums' toddlers (not really sure who yet, as I can think of 6 fellow alums with toddlers) in our school colors.  I don't think any of us were really big on the whole dress with school spirit thing, but the maize and off-black cotton-ease yarns appealed to me and are sort of spirit-ish without screaming "I've got school spirit yes I do, I've got school spirit how 'bout you?"  So I bought 3 skeins of Cotton-ease in maize and one skein in the off-black.  880 yards should be enough for a toddler sweater right? [cue ominous music]

The tomten is a really fun pattern when it isn't completely boring.  I knit a rectangle with just over 1-220 yard skein in garter stitch before I got to any of the interesting bits of the pattern.  And last week, I finished the hood (don't try to graft/kitchener after 11 pm is my advice) with 7 inches of the second skein to spare.  But this is where I ran into a problem: my vision for the tomten involved knitting the entire body and hood in the muted yellow and then finishing it with an attached i-cord in the off-black.  And if one skein of yarn gave me 24 1/2" by 8 1/4" (or 4,256 square garter ridge stitches*) I didn't think I was going to get two sleeves that start out 6 1/2" deep (or approximately 2,380 square garter ridge stitches each).  So I had a dilemma.  How should I knit the sleeves? 

All off-black (letter jacket-eh)?  Black and maize stripes (bumble-bee)?  Neither option appealed to me so I took the third route: hunt like crazy for another skein of maize in the same dye-lot as the 3 skeins I already have.  The crazy, one-in-a-million route (well, thanks to Ravelry I did have slightly better odds if I stash-stalked). 

Before I started digging through the mountainous number of cotton-ease owners on Ravelry (2164 entries in "stash") I checked at a fabric store I happened to be at that also carried yarn, no luck.  And as we headed home from dinner tonight I asked The Husband to stop by Michael's, I mean it is where I bought the yarn four months ago.  The bin with maize cotton-ease was pretty full and I pulled each one out to check the dye lot number and stashed them in other bins, they had between 15 and 20 skeins of this color.  The very last skein, when I was convinced I was going to knit the Tomten sleeves in a contrasting color, ended up being my dye-lot number – it was the only one of that dye-lot.  Hurray!  In disbelief I checked the number again.  And then I put the rest of those skeins back in their bin and headed to the register (5 minutes to closing no less) and then I triple checked that number while waiting to check-out.  But silly me decided to tell you more happy ending instead of actually knitting.

*garter ridges stitches are a completely fake unit of measure that I made up for purposes of figuring out if I had enough yarn.  I simply calculated the area of the primary body rectangle and the area of the sleeve trapezoid using stitches and garter ridges as though they were inches/feet/your preferred measurement unit for length.

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February 3, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Thoughts. 1 comment.