Sunday, November 30, 2008

Crochet Pattern: Papa's Hobo Hands

I decided that my grandfather needed a pair of fingerless mitts for Christmas. His hands don't fight off the Montana cold as well as they used to. He putters around in the garage a lot and needed yarn that wouldn't show sawdust and dirt.

This is what I came up with--another way to justify my many sock yarn purchases.

These handwarmers are worked in sturdy single crochet stitches. The largest size has long palms that can be flipped back a bit for dexterity. The yarn is fun to work with.

All terms in this pattern are American. UK crocheters will work in double crochet.

One skein Araucania Ranco Fingering Weight Yarn--I made the largest size and only used 50g for both mitts. A single 50g ball of sock yarn would work for the two smaller sizes.)
Size C (2.75 mm) hook

Keep in mind that crochet doesn't stretch as much as knit fabric. When in doubt, go up a size.
Man Hands (Lady Fingers, Little Monkey Hands)
Measurement across palm 3.5 (3.25, 3) inches across.
Knuckle to wrist measurement 8 (7.5, 7) inches (or desired length.)
5.5 single crochet per inch

Directions (begin at knuckles):
First round: Chain 40 (36, 32) and join with a slip stitch to form a ring. Use a removable marker to keep track of the start of the round.
Chain 1, skip first chain space (this chain will count as a single crochet in the next round) and single crochet in each chain around. 39 (35, 31) single crochet this round.
Second round: Do not turn, start spiraling around mitt--one single crochet in each stitch around, 40 (36, 32) single crochet around.
Continue working in single crochet even until piece measures 3 (2.5, 2) inches. [Work the full 3 inches if you want a folded top.]
Thumb Gusset: At the beginning of the round, chain 12 (12, 10), then continue working the rest of the round as before.
Next round: Single crochet in each chain and all existing stitches. 52 (48, 42) stitches total.
Work even for 3 rounds.
Gusset Decreases: Work 5 (5, 4) single crochet stitches of thumb, then single crochet 2 together [Insert hook in next stitch, pull up a loop, insert hook into following stitch and pull up a second loop. Yarn over hook and pull through both loop on hook--one stitch decreased], single crochet to end of round.
Continue decreasing one stitch each round until 40 (36, 32) stitches remain. Work even to desired length.
Break yarn and fasten off.

Finish Thumb: [An extra stitch is worked over the gap to avoid a hole in the thumb.]
Join yarn where palm and thumb meet with a slip stitch, chain one, then single crochet in each stitch around. 13 (13, 11) stitches. Work in single crochet until thumb touches base of thumbnail. If you can't measure the recipient's hands, 8 rounds should be about right.

Break yarn and fasten off.

Weaving in all ends. Block as desired.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Now I have to wrap this stuff.

I made another little sweater for Isabel's stuffies.

It's a February Baby Sweater [Ravelry link]. I didn't have small enough buttons, so I used a few pony beads out of the kids' craft closet. If I were to make another February Baby Sweater in miniature, I'd leave the lace pattern off the sleeves. The lace makes the sleeves a little fussy. (Barbie's bony fingers get caught in there, too.)

I bought Isabel's Christmas dress. Her favorite color is purple. (If sparkly were a color, that would be her real favorite.) The fancier the better for that girly girl. The only problem is that the dress is sleeveless and we live in Montana. I'm going to knit her a little black shrug. I might try Wendy Bernard's Girlfriend Shrug (pdf).

Late November

It tasted much better than it looked.
We gave thanks for tofu. It was great. Well, everything was great except the pumpkin pie that I inadvertently spiced with turmeric instead of nutmeg. It stunk like home-baked napalm. I still can't get that taste out of my head. We'll recreate the entire meal (maybe with apple crisp) for David someday when he's home.

I finished knitting the Liger. Since I used thrift store tapestry wool, I'm giving it a good soak before I stuff it. The first wash water smelled a little dusty and thriftstore-ish. The second wash smells like oranges and of lovely wool.

I'm trying to get into the holiday spirit. I wish there were some sort of defibrillator to jump start my enthusiasm. I did manage to buy an Easy Bake Oven and a cart full of art supplies. David is shipping the kids a Wii.

In other news, I've lost 30 lbs since David went to Korea. People are starting to ask me if I've lost weight. That is somewhat awesome.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

W is for Watchcap

David needed a new hat. He continues to wear the one I made his last year, even though it looks like it's been through more wars than he has.

I used the Marsan Watchcap pattern. I liked the twisted rib, but I hope it's warm enough. You can see how the purl stitches get really thin when the rib is stretched. At least there is a deep cuff--extra strength ear protection for bald men.
I've knit for over 25 years now. The first 16 I twisted every purl stitch. This little hat reminded me of the years I wondered why I couldn't get row gauge.

I used Knitpicks Swish Worsted. It really is soft. I have heard about the yarn bleeding, so I'm going to wash this twice before I send it to Korea. I really don't think my husband would like a blue forehead.

Have a happy holiday. I've got a tofu turkey waiting for tomorrow. When I ate meat, turkey was my favorite. I love me some Tofurkey.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

November Sweater

It's done. I did a crappy job blocking. The boat neck is too high and gaps in the center. It needs to be pulled down to the shoulders. Also, the sleeves are a little bit baggy. I'm going to steam block everything and try to make it submit to my will.

The asymmetrical cable is fun, but it makes my second base look crooked.

My bare skin can't handle most fibers during the colder months here in Montana. The combination of wind, dry air, and subzero temperatures turn me into a pink, scaly elephant. So I usually wear long sleeve tees or turtlenecks under my sweaters. (I spent 20 minutes scratching myself and putting on oatmeal lotion after this picture.) It won't be a complete disaster if the sweater stays loose.
I used some cheap Paton's Classic Wool my husband found on clearance at Michael's for $2 a skein. $10 for a sweater ain't bad, baby.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Please ignore my torn up living room.

Yes, that is a dead buffalo on the wall. I hated it when I married David, but it's the only "pet" we've had that hasn't run away. I can't imagine a family celebration without it now.

I recorded this little video to help you with the short row, garter stitch toe.

It was 2:00 pm, but most of the light was already gone that day. I hope you can see it.

I will try to get better pictures of these socks. It's hard to take pictures of your own feet, especially when it starts getting dark outside when the kids come home from school.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis--a comfy sock with a padded heel knit in garter stitch.

If you don't know what plantar fasciitis is, be thankful. Without droning on about my health problems (again), let me just say that it's heel pain and the inspiration for these heel-first socks.

I used one hank of Bare Sock Yarn from Knit Picks. I dyed it without changing the size or shape of the hank. I dyed 1/3 Turquoise, 1/3 Sapphire, and 1/3 Violet. (All Jacquard Acid Dyes)
Gauge is 7 stitches per inch.
I used a size 1 40" circular from Knit Picks. I knit Continental style and very loosely. Some of you may need to go up to a size 2. There is a lot of room for error with these socks. The garter heels and toes stretch. This would be a good pattern for a growing teenager, some one with with a health problem like edema or diabetes, or pregnant mommy. They fit a lot of people.

Special stitches:

BYO-backwards yarn over. Wrap yarn over right hand needle from back to front, creating a twisted loop.

K3tog-Knit three together. Knit two backwards yarn overs and next stitch to the left together as one.

Broken Garter Stitch--Round one: [K4, P4], repeat to end. Round two: [P4, K4] repeat to end.

2 by 2 Rib--[K2, P2] repeat to end. All rounds are the same.

Knit Heel and Gussets (one piece)

You begin at the tip of one gusset, increase to heel, then decrease for other gusset.

Cast on 3 stitches.

Set up row: K1, place marker, K1, place marker, K1.

1st Increase Row: K across

2nd Increase Row: K to marker, Make 1, slip marker, K1, slip marker, Make 1, K to end. (Two stitches increased.

Repeat these two rows until you have 37 stitches.

Continue in garter stitch for 24 rows (12 garter ridges.)
1st Decrease Row: K to 2 stitches before marker, K2tog, slip marker, K1, slip marker, SSK, K to end.
2nd Decrease Row: K across.
Repeat these two rows until 3 stitches remain.
Next Row: Slip 1, K2tog, Pass slipped stitch over.
Break yarn and fasten off remaining stitch.
Knit Instep

Picking up stitches
Using the provisional cast on of your choice*, cast on 16 stitches. Pick up and knit 48 stitches along one edge of heel. Join for working in the round. Knit the 16 cast on stitches, knit 8 of the picked up stitches, then mark for beginning of round. (64 stitches total) Rearrange stitches so there are 32 instep stitches--those that include the provisionally cast on stitches--and 32 heel stitches on each side of your magic loops. (16 each needle if you are working on dpns.)
Work in stockinette stitch until piece measures 1.5 inches short of desired length.

* (I crocheted a 20 stitch chain with a size C hook. I picked up and knit 16 stitches from the purl bumps.)

Knit Short Row Toe

Backwards Yarn Over

Work across 32 heel stitches.
K 31, turn, BYO.
K 30, turn, BYO.
K 29, turn, BYO.
K 28, turn, BYO.
K 27, turn, BYO.
K 26, turn, BYO.
K 25, turn, BYO.
K 24, turn BYO.
K 23, turn, BYO.
K 22, turn, BYO.
K 21, turn, BYO.
K 20, turn, BYO.
K 19, turn BYO.
K 18, turn, BYO.
K 17, turn, BYO.
K 16, turn, BYO.
K 16, turn, BYO. (From now on, you will make a second backwards yarn overs next to this stitch.)
Two wraps, about to knit 16
K 16, turn, BYO. (Again, you'll have two backwards yarn overs on the end.)
K 16, K3tog (two backwards yarn overs and 1 regular stitch knit together), turn, BYO.
The two purple stitcches and aqua stitch below will be K3tog.

K 17, K3tog, turn, BYO.
K 18, K3tog, turn, BYO.
K 19, K3tog, turn, BYO.
K 20, K3tog, turn BYO.
K 21, K3tog, turn, BYO.
K 22, K3tog, turn, BYO.
K 23, K3tog, turn, BYO.
K 24, K3tog, turn, BYO.
K 25, K3tog, turn, BYO.
K 26, K3tog, turn, BYO.
K 27, K3tog, turn, BYO.
K 28, K3tog, turn, BYO.
K 29, K3tog, turn, BYO.
K30, K3tog, turn, BYO.
K31, K3tog. Do not turn. Knit across all 32 instep stitches.

When you get to the first heel stitch, SSSK--slip that first stitch as if to knit, slip both backwards yarn overs as if to knit, then knit all three together through the back. Then K31 to get back to beginning of round.

3 needle bind off, purlwise.
Either graft 32 toe stitches to 32 instep stitches or bind off with a purlwise 3 needle bind off.

Knit Leg

Pick up 16 stitches from provisional cast on and remove waste yarn. Pick up and knit 48 stitches along edge of heel. Join for working in the round. K 16 new stitches and 8 of the picked up stitches. Mark the next stitch as the beginning of round.
Begin broken garter stitch pattern. Work for 1 inch (or desired length.) You could omit this step and work in stockinette or rib.
Begin 2 by 2 rib. Continue for 4 inches, or desired length. Bind off loosely.
Weave in all ends, using yarn tails from heel to sew closed any gaps at the tips of the gussets. Block as desired.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tiger Badonka donk

Ooh, French cut around the hips.

I finished one of the leotards for Izzy's Christmas gift. The only modification I made was to make a buttonhole for the tail. I am having a lot of fun with this.

Sometimes I let my thinky thoughts take over and forget to enjoy life.

I found an Amy Butler caddy to carry her tiger, liger, and many accessories.

I know Iz is going to love this because she saw me posting the project to Ravelry and started screaming, "Oh, so cute!" She sounded like a sorority girl. She asked if I could make her one for Christmas. Sweet.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Just need buttons.

I'm done pouting.

Thanks for putting up with me, Readers. I can be such a baby sometimes. A lot of my emotional diarrhea ends up posted here. I appreciate you guys so much!

Oklahoma isn't the end of the world. (But you can see it from there.) My stepkids deserve to have their needs met to help them to succeed in school. We are so lucky to live in a country that nurtures children with problems and doesn't throw them away. If that means I don't see Europe and Asia until they're grown, so be it.

I'm having a great time trying to make a BSJ for Isabel's Tiger and Liger. So far it's just a bit too small. It's a Barbie Surprise Jacket. (The surprise is that Barbie seems to be a bit of a nudist. I'd tell her it's ironic, but I don't think she knows what that word means.)

I used this pattern with sock yarn and size 3 needles, but I think my best bet will be to try it with sport weight yarn and size 4 needles. It's got to be the cutest thing ever.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Because I opened my big mouth...

...I found my breaking point.

We were supposed to go to England, but we can't because my stepkids need special education. Base preference was my reward for serving my country and husband by raising my kids alone, sleeping alone, living alone. Now we're stuck with Oklahoma. We didn't even get a preference in the US. (We begged to go to either coast.) I don't want to go to Oklahoma. I cried for 10 hours today. I can't tell you how much I don't want to go. I thought I could endure anything because I love David. That was before I realized "anything" can include Oklahoma.
I need to stop writing about it or I'm going to start sobbing again. I spent the day contemplating divorce with the phone in my lap and a pile of tissues around me.

I have been working on Isabel's present. I'm about 90% done. She needs a more expressive face. David suggested that I knit a Liger (pretty much his favorite animal) as a ballet classmate for it. I used bamboo fiber fill because I hate polyfil. (Why give stuffed animals cellulite-like lumps on their bums?)

I'll knit the Liger, 2 tutus, 2 leotards, and one more dress. Then I'm done with Christmas knitting. I'm shopping online. I'd rather get a pap smear that deal with the holidays this year. Ugh.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thank you

Two weeks ago I rewarded myself by getting a facial at a local salon. I was having a great time relaxing. Then the stupid employee two curtains down started whining about how awful it is that she has to rent to military families. She said, "the military" the way racists say, "those people." I tried so hard to ignore her, but she got under my skin and my stomach was in knots by the time I was done.

Thank you to all military families. It's not an easy life. Civilian families don't really get it. They don't realize how many times we comfort crying children because Daddy is gone. They don't know what it's like to fall asleep in an empty bed every night. They don't understand how little money we make. They don't understand that we can be locked in the library or gym for an hour or more for an exercise. (I can't see a civilian putting up with that for a minute.) They don't have their cars searched by K9 officers. They don't produce identification to buy groceries. They don't fill out a million government papers, in triplicate, every year.

It was two years ago today that David proposed. I had no idea what I was getting into. David, thank you for showing me how much I love my country and my family. It is an honor to be your wife.

David is a veteran of the first Persian Gulf War. I love him. I admire him. I respect him. I thank him.
Sergeant bunny-hugger is feared by all of his troops.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Getting ready for the holidays

ballerinas, originally uploaded by baprime.

Barbara Prime is adorable. Her little animals are so sweet. I am having a hard time deciding which critter to make for Izzy this Christmas. She really loves kitties, but I don't know if I can resist knitting a lamb in a tutu and leotard.

If you have a little one to knit for, here is a link. A siamese cat in a celtic sweater? Maybe I'll have to get all of the clothing sets.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Gnashing of Teeth

I spent my morning in the dentist's office. The only painful part of the visit was finding out that I have ground 2 millimeters off of my canines and molars. I need a $450 bite guard. My dentin is exposed on almost every tooth.

Then I voted. I worked on this sweater while standing in line. As much as I hate crowds, I was pretty jazzed. Human beings need to be a part of something important from time to time. If your district ran out of stickers, click here.

At least I know I won't be the only one gnashing my teeth tonight!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lizard Lady

They're still a bit damp, but I had to put them on. These socks are squishy and comfy. I can't wait to spend a snowy Saturday wearing them.

The new love in my life is the afterthought star heel. I am the strange kind of person who actually looks forward to grafting toes, but I wanted to try something new. I did one sock with K2tog and one with SSK for funsies.

The effect of the short rows is much more subtle with the Noro yarn, but you can still see it if you look. The rhythm of the knitting is addictive. The "bubbles" pushed me through each pattern repeat, kind of like entrelac. Just one more...

I wish my husband was here to take great photos of my finished projects. I'm not a photographer and neither are the kids.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Green and Purple Nurple

Today I convinced all three kids to eat Brussels sprouts. Then I made this yarn.

I finished a pair of Lizard Ridge Socks (Ravelry link) this weekend and they are blocking. I will always think of them as Purple Nurple socks because of the color and the short rows. They got much softer and smoother after a bath. It's been one of the most exciting blocking experiences of my knitting career. (I live a very quiet life.) I can't wait to wear them and get some modeled photos.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Aunt Carolyn's Scarf

I dyed a few hanks of sock yarn last month. It was a lot of fun, and I no longer notice the smell of vinegar. I think my nostril hair was burned off by the steamy vapors.

This colorway was for my Aunt Carolyn. She's sassy and funny and loves purple. I was going to give it to her for Christmas, but she just had a brain tumor removed. I think she needs a yarny pick-me-up from me.

This scarf is soft, warm, machine washable, and funky enough for my crazy aunt. Want to use up some sock yarn? Here are my directions.

Aunt Carolyn's Scarf

This scarf is worked from the center out so each edge will be scalloped.

400-440 yards of sock yarn

Size F crochet hook

Gauge not critical, but my finished scarf measured 6 x 68 inches.

Arcade Stitch
Found in many stitch dictionaries, Arcade Stitch is a multiple of 6+8.
Row 1: Skip 1 chain, 1 single crochet in each of the next 2 chains, *chain 3, skip 3 chains, 1 single crochet in each of the next 3 chains*, chain 3, skip 3 chains, 1 single crochet in each of the last 2 chains, chain 1, turn.
Row 2: 1 single crochet in 2nd single crochet, *5 double crochet in 3-chain space, 1 single crochet in 2nd single crochet of 3-single crochet group* turn.
Row 3: *Chain 3, 1 single crochet in each of 3 central double crochet*, chain 2, 1 single crochet in turning chain, chain 3, turn.
Row 4: 2 double crochet in 2-chain space, *1 single crochet in 2nd single crochet, 5 double crochet in 3-chain space*, 1 single crochet in 2nd single crochet, 3 double crochet in 3-chain space, chain 1, turn.
Row 5: 1 single crochet in each of the first 2 double crochet, *chain 3, 1 single crochet in each of the 3 central double crochet*, chain 3, 1 single crochet in last double crochet, 1 single crochet in turning chain, chain 1, turn.

Repeat rows 2-5.

To make scarf, chain 50. Work Arcade Stitch until piece is half of the desired length. End with row 2. Break yarn. Going back to original chain, attach yarn with a slip stitch on same side as yarn tail. Start Arcade Stitch again, beginning with row 1. Work until desired length, ending with row 2. Finish off. Weave in ends, but don't trim. Block as desired. Trim ends when dry.