Monday, June 18, 2012


Bee's favorite things to do right now:
go to the pool
dig in sand, dirt, and gravel
drink watered-down juice
climb... also, climb
watch trucks haul, scoop, or convey stuff
hang from bars, pull-up style*
interact with big kids
talk energetically about this one time when we saw a parks crew
   employee get lifted up into a tree by a cherrypicker

*She doesn't have a ton of opportunities to do this, but she makes the most out of playground equipment and drawer handles.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Bunny Puppet

Man, some parts of parenthood are really fun. Apparently I get to assemble a (secular) Easter basket for Bee every year! So, here's one for 2012: pai
l, sand toys, bunny puppet, marshmallows, orange scarf for crazy toddler dancing, and some wooden musical instruments.

I knit the bunny puppet -- and finished it with a full 24 hours to spare before Easter. I know, go me. And I'm happy to share my pattern with you. (For personal use. You know the routine. Please don't make these and sell them, or sell the pattern.)

Worked in one piece with the exception of a very quickly-finished bobble-esque tail, the Bunny Puppet is nearly seamless, and the knitting itself is uncomplicated: stockinette stitch with a moss-stitch border to prevent curling. It's knit from the bottom to the top. The only technique that is at all off the beaten path is the shaping of the ears, and even that is pretty straightforward -- similar enough to knitting the fingers of a glove, actually. Choose any smooth worsted-weight yarn you like for the body, and any white- or cream-colored yarn (fluffy is nice) for the tail -- only a tiny amount is needed for the latter, so definitely look through your odds and ends.

Bunny Puppet

knitting in the round on dpns
stockinette stitch
moss stitch (*k1, p1, rep from * around)
kitchener stitch
a basic embroidery stitch of your choice for facial features

5 #5 dpns
2 small stitch holders
stitch marker
1 skein worsted for body
small amount white or cream fluffy novelty yarn for tail, worsted weight
Embroidery wool for facial features

CO 49
Join and pm.
Work moss st for 6 rounds.
Work st st until piece measures 8" from CO edge.
Sewing needle and thread to match bunny's tail or body (you choose)

Shape the ears:
You need an even number of sts when you shape the ears, so dec 1 st as follows:
k tog the last st and the first st of the round (you'll have to remove the marker to do so). Replace marker after the k2tog. Work to last 4 sts of the round, then k the last 4 sts on a new needle. Slip marker and work the next 4 sts. Keep these 8 sts on their own needle. Break yarn.
Place next 16 sts on holder, place next 8 sts on another holder, and leave the last 16 sts of the round on their own needle.
So, now, just to check in: you have 8 sts on one needle, with a marker in the center; you have 16 ear sts on a stitch holder; you have 8 sts on another holder; and you have 16 "live" ear sts on a dpn. It is these last 16 sts that you are going to work in the round for ear #1.
Ear #1: Rearrange the 16 sts on 3 dpns. Attach yarn and work in st st for about 18 rows (or desired length of ear). Place ear sts on two dpns and use kitchener stitch to close.
Ear #2: Return to 16 sts on holder arrange on 3 dpns. Attach yarn. Knit and close as with ear #1.

CO 2 sts loosely.
R1: (kfb, k1) in each st. 6 sts. rem.
R2: kfb each st. 12 sts rem.
K for 8 rows (or 6 rows for a smaller puff).
NR: (k2tog) across. 6 sts. rem.
NR: (sl 1, k2tog, psso) twice. 2 sts rem.
Fasten off: Pass 1 st over the other, then pull last st. through.

Use kitchener stitch to graft the remaining 16 sts at top of bunny's head.
Weave in ends. Lightly stuff tail and sew to back of bunny.
Embroider facial features as shown, or take this opportunity to design the bunny face of your dreams.
Above: don't hop away, little bunny puppet! we loves you!

Friday, March 02, 2012

Candleflame cowl.

Tired of goldenrod yet? Me neither! Here's my first of two goldenrod cowls. What a cute pattern (Rav link) and a fun knit! If you knit it, be sure to use a really stretchy bind-off; I went up a couple needles sizes for the bind-off, and it still wasn't enough. But it fits over the head, so we're square.


Ben, Bee, and I had a super-flu of PURE EVIL for a little over two weeks. Ben, who never misses work, stayed home for three days, two of which were for the purpose of taking care of the toddler while I languished in my sickbed, delirious and dry-mouthed.

Not to boast or anything, but I had it the worst. I can really do a flu (and sinus infection) up right, guys! At one point, I felt that I did not even have the energy to lie there, and it fleetingly occurred to me that probably more than one soul has left this world (although maybe not due to a sinus infection) because they just didn't even have the energy to lie there anymore. I also suffered some terrifying fever dreams, and at one point dissolved into tears because I was heartbreakingly thirsty and felt certain that my husband did not love me enough to ever come in and check on me again, much less bring me a glass of water.

Midway through my illness, during a brief coherent period, I did find the physical power to get up and try to perform some basic hygiene exercises -- and, Dear Reader, I truly and honestly thought I was going to have to cut the knots out of my hair after lying motionless in my sickbed for four days. It took a quarter of a bottle of hair conditioner to get me out of that mess. (Did you know you can just put rinse conditioner in your hair and leave it there, and the hair care police will not come and arrest you? Voilà! Leave-in conditioner and a narrowly-avoided pixie cut!)

If my Facebook feed is any indication, this flu and/or ones like it have been sweeping the nation and reducing families everywhere to wool-blanketed lumps. So wash your hands a lot, and freeze some soup in case it hits you. Okay? Please! I admit I've been avoiding other humans* for the last several days, for fear of reinfection. Ours was one of those bad and apparently highly contagious chest/sinus/head flus, not a throwing-up thing, although poor Bee did have one inexplicable night of puking. (Ben sat up with her and played the intro to Fraggle Rock over and over. Netflix Instant saves the night.) But, we're all better now. I've got a bit of a lingering cough, no biggie, and Bee and Ben are both back to normal. And I once again have the energy to exist, if only just.

* More than usual, and especially children.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Stay-put, long-cuff toddler mittens

Determined to knit Bee a pair of winter mittens that she couldn't pull right off of her hands, I devised these long-cuff, thumbless toddler mitts. They're knit from the top down, ending with a stretchy bind-off. For maximum stay-put power, the mile-long cuff is very close-fitting. And the simple colorwork chart is the easiest intarsia possible -- about as much colorwork as I can handle without causing my brain to burst like a water balloon. Enjoy!

Size: 12 - 24 months

#5 dpns
#3 dpns
1 skein Rowan Cork in color A (or other yarn in same weight)
small amount of Rowan Cork in color B, for intarsia pattern (or other yarn in same weight)
tapestry needle for weaving in ends

white = color A
black = color B
(click chart to enlarge)

CO 4 with color A. Join to work in round, but don't PM.
KFB every st until 26 sts rem.
Place marker to mark new beginning of round.
R1: k12, KFB of next st, k12, KFB of next st
R2: k
R3: k13, KFB of next st, k13, KFB of next st
R4: k
R5: k14, KFB of next st, k14, KFB of next st
R6: k
R7: k15, KFB of next st, k15, KFB of next st. 34 sts rem.
R8: k
Work chart, using colors A and B.
After finishing chart, work 16 rounds.
Dec for cuff:
K2, k2tog, k12, k2tog, k to end.
NR: *k2, k2tog* around. 24 sts rem.
NR: k1, *k2tog, k4* to last 3 sts. End k3.. 20 sts rem.
Switch to size 3 needles and work 1/1 rib for 4".
BO using JSSBO and a size 5 needle.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pescovegetarian goldenrod.

Goldenrod being my idée fixe, I've got another g-rod FO to show ya'll. Finished these great mittens from the Pescovegetarian pattern (Rav link) for myself a couple of months ago, using the same Patons Classic worsted described in my Intuitive Goldenrod post. I love them truly.

The pattern is really lovely, and it's easier than it looks. But don’t use kitchener to finish, because it looks terrible on these mitts; to get the cute little point on each mitt, just pull through the last ten stitches as the pattern instructs. Trust me… I ended up blocking these using some sturdy twine to reshape the tops from the inside after realizing how crappy the grafting looked. And I normally love kitchener.

Used 8s the whole way through, with worsted held double. (Went down a needle size to fit my thin hands and for serious warmth/density.) The chart can be seen a little bigger if you click on the photo in Veera’s blog post. It takes you to her Flickr album. I mention it because some Ravelers complained that there’s no key (x = purls). But the key is visible in the Flickr image.

Other mods and stuff: to fit bony hands, CO 24. 1/1 rib for 18 rounds for a close-fitting cuff. Maintaining rib patt, increase to 30 sts in final rib row (work 4, m1, rep). Knit 2 full chart repeats before starting gusset increases. Where it says “Work two rounds. In the beg of 2nd needle k1, m1, k4, m1, knit to end of rnd,” work 2 FULL rounds, then do the M1s on the next round. Start top decreases when there are 10 ‘arrows’ on the mitten (not counting the little half one at the bottom), ending with a chart row 4.

Oh, and there’s a typo in this instruction: “Always make a ssk decrease in the beg of 2nd rnd and a k2tog decrease in the end of 3rd rnd.” It should say ‘needle’ instead of ‘rnd’ -- i.e., do a ssk at the beginning of needle 2, and a k2tog at the end of needle 3, every round. You’re done when 10 sts remain. The thumb was about 12 rounds long before decreases.

This is one of those "reverse shaping for the second mitten" set of instructions, so we're on our own with the left thumb gusset. Here's how to do it:
Knit sts on 1st and 2nd needles as usual. On 3rd needle, knit to last 3 sts, then m1, k2, m1, k1.
Work two full rounds. NR: on needle 3, k to last 5 sts, then m1, k4, m1, k1. Work two more full rnds.
NR: On needle 3, k to last 7 sts. CO2. Slip 6 sts to holder, k1.

And, believe it or not, I still have TWO MORE goldenrod things to show you. Dear Jesus! What is wrong with me!

Intuitive goldenrod.

Early in the winter, I determined that the best way to turn my magenta cold-weather coat from frumpy to arty is to trim it with a slew of winter accessories in goldenrod. (Hey, in art school I learned that magenta and goldenrod go together. It's color theory, friends.)

So, above you can see one piece from my personal "goldenrod collection" -- and, of course, me, looking like a burnout. Nice matted hair, Shaggy, where's Scoob? But anyway, this is my new favorite hat, perfectly slouchy and cute and goldenrod (or, as the creative minds at Patons term it, "yellow"). Despite the openwork lace, which, incidentally, was really fun to knit, this hat is warm because of the ear-covering ribbing, thick wool, and sheer amount of fabric involved in the slouch. I modified a Rav pattern called "Intuitive," adapting for bulky yarn -- more accurately, worsted weight held double.

Next post will feature my Pescovegetarian Goldenrod (mysterious, right?). Yes, sharing a pile-up of knitting FOs means a series of blog posts with titles that look like Captcha "are you human?" tests.