Saturday, August 21, 2010

Socks - Work in Progress

My first sock is coming along nicely, I think. Not sure if I'm going to finish the pair this weekend (Teddy the Bear sold right away, and I want to go ahead and make another one), but I'm pleased with the results so far. I'll definitely be finishing this sock before I start knitting another bear. I'm almost there!

I had to check and see if they fit...

I think these socks are going to be great once they're finished. And once the heat index drops below 110. It's really too hot for socks here in August. Come December, I think I'm going to wear them all the time.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Socks! (among other things)

I finished the elephant I was working on (his name is Ethan, FYI) and got him listed on Etsy the other day. Have a look:

I've just realized that this is the first elephant I've made that I've actually taken pictures of. The other three were finished the night before they were sold (and night = bad lighting, so no pictures).

I also managed to knit a new teddy bear for my shop.

After that intense rush of business a couple of weeks ago, things have slowed down, but that's ok. I expect things to pick up in the next couple of months, as people begin their holiday shopping.

But toys are not what this post is about. This post is about socks. I am about to (finally!) start on my first pair of socks. I am going to start with a basic worsted weight sock pattern and then venture into more complex (and time-consuming) patterns. I chose Knit Picks Shine Worsted (what else?) in French Blue as the yarn for my first sock knitting adventure. They're going to be great, I can feel it. Hopefully I can get them finished this weekend and show them to you soon. My feet can hardly wait.

In other news, I've also signed up for Dish Rag Tag, a dishrag knitting relay race mediated by Emily of Yarn Miracle (click the button below for details). This is my first time entering the race, and it promises to be loads of fun.

Oh! I almost forgot! My dissertation defense was a smashing success on Wednesday. I won't insist that you call me Dr. LaTina now (but you are welcome to do so if that is your heart's desire).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

To-Do List

That most exciting yet dreaded time is almost upon me - I will be defending my dissertation in three short days, and I am really starting to get nervous. So mainly my to-do list consists of "rehearse defense." Since I can't feasibly rehearse 24/7, I'm also adding several knitting projects to the list.
  • Finish the elephant I'm working on and get it listed on Etsy
  • Knit and list a teddy bear
Then comes the fun, not-for-my-shop stuff. My first foray into the wonderful world of sock knitting! I'm so excited. I found a really easy (looking) basic sock pattern, which I'm going to try first. Then I plan to move on to this gorgeous lace pattern I found for the amazing merino wool/silk blend sock yarn I bought last week. I have quite the stash of sock yarn for someone who hasn't knitted so much as one pair of socks (yet).

After my first pair of socks, I think I'll finally start working on this gorgeous cardigan that I can hardly wait to finish. Or maybe I'll end up starting the cardigan before the socks. You never know with me. I tend to do things on a whim. I'll probably end up knitting gauge swatches for both the socks and the cardigan before I actually start working on either one. That's the really great thing about knitting toys - no gauge swatches (because it doesn't matter if your stuffed animal size is off by an inch or two).

Off to knit a body for my elephant!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Meet Lavender

Lavender the Zebra is up on Etsy now. She's so adorable, and I don't think my photos do her justice. I don't know if I'm just not getting the right background or what.

I made Lavender from my ever-growing stash of Knit Picks Shine Worsted yarn, so she is incredibly soft.

I recently visited a specialty yarn shop here in Mobile (Wellslee's All Strung Out), and for the most part was pleased with their selection. I bought two hanks of sock yarn (their sock yarn section is especially good), but I don't think they can replace Knit Picks as my top yarn supplier. They did have some pima cotton yarns, but they are twice as expensive as Shine Worsted, not nearly as soft, and they don't have as many color choices. More importantly, they don't have the colors that I order most from Knit Picks. I went to Wellslee's looking for a substitute for Shine Worsted Robot, a light gray color. They had plenty of gray yarns, but none of that light silvery shade. Looks like I'll be waiting until August 20 to place yet another order from Knit Picks.

Wellslee's does have a really great offering of knitting needles. They have circular and double-pointed needle sizes that I can't find in Hobby Lobby or Michael's and would usually have to order. Their prices on bamboo needles are also far more reasonable than the prices for those needles in Hobby Lobby (they actually cost about 50% less at Wellslee's). I will definitely be back to visit these folks, but I'm afraid they just can't replace Knit Picks.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Just Call Me Superwoman

I have been so super productive today. So far I've:
  • baked a loaf of bread
  • unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher
  • washed, dried, folded and put away two loads of laundry
  • cleaned both bathrooms
  • looked over my defense presentation with three new slides added by my adviser
  • set up the sweet new digital photo frame I got for my birthday
  • entertained Max by playing Wii Sports (bowling and tennis) and letting him hold the remote I wasn't using
  • knitted a zebra head, complete with ears and mane
  • sewed the ears and mane to the zebra head, and embroidered the eyes and mouth
  • made a pot of chili for dinner
That doesn't even include everyday tasks like changing, feeding, and generally keeping track of a two year old. And feeding myself. I mostly ate leftovers.

I am so excited about this new zebra. This one is special - it's lavender! It's turning out so sooo sooooo cute. I'm hoping that I can get it finished, photographed, and listed on Etsy by Wednesday. The few minor changes I made to my original zebra pattern made a world of difference (even though that first one was pretty adorable). I can't wait to show you.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Projects on the Horizon

If I ever find the time, I have tons of knitting projects I want to complete in the next couple of months. I bought myself a cardigan pattern and the yarn to make it with (Storm as the main color, Fog as the contrast) as a little birthday gift to myself. Hopefully, I'll be able to start working on it as soon as I get the yarn in the mail.

There are also four sock projects that I want to make, some for myself, others as Christmas/birthday gifts. First, I need to finish a bee for a customer. I have two more rounds to complete the body, then I need to make the wings, legs, arms, and antennae. It isn't as much work as it sounds. I can probably finish it in an hour or so, if I can find the time to sit down and do it. I didn't promise it until next weekend, but I'm actually hoping to finish it today so she can pick it up sooner.

I just sold another teddy bear on Etsy, which has seriously depleted my shop. So far on my Etsy shop to-do list are: a bear, an elephant, a zebra, a tiger, a bee, a ladybug. We'll see how long it takes me to get around to knitting all of those critters.

All in all, business is good right now, which is somewhat surprising, being August, a typically slow time of year for toy sales, I think. I'm not complaining. Now, off to change my toddler's wet pull-up and get him dressed for the day. I sort of love weekends when I wake up earlier than he does. I get so much done in that short time when everyone else is sleeping.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Creepy Crawly Caterpillar Pattern

Today I decided to make my caterpillar pattern publicly available - for free even! You can download the pdf on Ravelry or see instructions below. The finished caterpillar measures about 6.5 inches. You'll need about 75 yards of worsted weight yarn, a set of US size 3 DPN's, stuffing, a tapestry needle, and a scrap of contrast color yarn for embroidering facial features.

Cast on 6 sts, and distribute evenly among 3 needles. Join to knit in the round, and place marker
to mark the beginning of the round.
Round 1: knit all sts
Round 2: *k2 m1* 3x’s (9 sts)
Round 3: knit
Round 4: *k1 m1* 9x’s (18 sts)
Round 5: knit
Round 6: *k3 m1* 6x’s (24 sts)
Round 7: knit
Round 8: *k2 m1* 12x’s (36 sts)
Rounds 9-18: knit 10 rounds
Round 19: *k1 k2tog* 12x’s (24 sts)
Round 20: knit
Round 21: *k2 k2tog* 6x’s (18 sts)
Begin stuffing.
Round 22: knit
Round 23: *k3 m1* 6x’s (24 sts)
Round 24: knit
Round 25: *k2 m1* 12x’s (36 sts)
Rounds 26-35: knit 10 rounds
Round 36: *k1 k2tog* 12x’s (24 sts)
Round 37: knit
Round 38: *k2 k2tog* 6x’s (18 sts)
Round 39: knit
Add more stuffing.
Round 40: *k3 m1* 6x’s (24 sts)
Round 41: knit
Round 42: *k2 m1* 12x’s (36 sts)
Rounds 43-52: knit 10 rounds
Round 53: *k1 k2tog* 12x’s (24 sts)
Round 54: knit
Round 55: *k2 k2tog* 6x’s (18 sts)
Round 56: knit
Add more stuffing.
Round 57: *k1 k2tog* 6x’s (12 sts)
Round 58: k2tog 6x’s (6 sts)
Finish stuffing. Cut yarn, thread through remaining stitches, pull tight, and knot. Hide yarn tail

Cast on 6 stitches, and distribute evenly among 3 needles. Join to knit in the round, and place
marker to mark the beginning of the round.
Round 1: knit all sts
Round 2: *k2 m1* 3x’s (9 sts)
Round 3: knit
Round 4: *k1 m1* 9x’s (18 sts)
Round 5: knit
Round 6: *k3 m1* 6x’s (24 sts)
Round 7: knit
Round 8: *k2 m1* 12x’s (36 sts)
Round 9: knit
Round 10: *k9 m1* 4x’s (40 sts)
Rounds 11-18: knit 8 rounds
Round 19: *k8 k2tog* 4x’s (36 sts)
Round 20: knit
Round 21: *k1 k2tog* 12x’s (24 sts)
Round 22: knit
Round 23: *k2 k2tog* 6x’s (18 sts)
Round 24: knit
Begin stuffing.
Round 25: *k1 k2tog* 6x’s (12 sts)
Round 26: k2tog 6x’s (6 sts)
Finish stuffing. Cut yarn, thread through remaining stitches, pull tight, and knot. Hide yarn tail

LEGS (make 6)
Cast on 6 sts, and distribute evenly among 3 needles. Join to knit in the round, and place marker
to mark the beginning of the round.
Round 1: knit
Round 2: *k2 kfb* twice (8 sts)
Rounds 3-6: knit 4 rounds
Bind off all stitches, and stuff the legs, using a pencil to help.

ANTENNAE (make 2)
Cast on 3 stitches, distribute between 2 needles.
Round 1: kfb 3x’s (6 sts)
Increase to 3 needles.
Rounds 2-5: knit 4 rounds
Stuff, using a pencil to help.
Round 6: k2tog 3x’s (3 sts)
Work 6 rows i-cord and bind off.

Sew all pieces together, and embroider facial features.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Busy Bee

Yep, that's me. I just put the finishing touches on my Power Point for my dissertation defense so I can go through it with my adviser tomorrow. I've been diligently working on my recent toy orders as well. I've finished one horse (black with green eyes, pretty cute) and have almost finished the head for the second. I'll post photos once they're both complete.

I got the yarn for the football and basketball in the mail yesterday, and hopefully I'll be able to finish the sports ball order by the end of the week.

After that, it's off to make another bumble bee, as I just got a request for another one.

In the midst of all this busy-ness I've almost forgotten that my birthday is Friday! No big plans, just dinner out with the family, which is fine with me.

Now, off to finish knitting a horse head!