Pot holders

I have entered end-of-project obsession. The latest Christmas knitting project must be off my needles by the end of the month, or I will toss it off the roof and cast on everything in my Ravelry queue in rebellion.

While you wait for news reports of a crazed knitter in Phoenix, you should listen to Spoon’s new KEXP session. As if there weren’t enough reasons to love Spoon, they played my favorite song “Rhythm and Soul.”

If everyone said potholders the way Britt Daniels does, I think I would knit them more often.

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Stash Begone

Cotton yarn in a sea green yarn bowl

Is that a puppy tummy in the background?

Happy Tuesday, dear readers! Today’s posting will be sadly brief–I have to make my apartment acceptable to be seen by company, and I don’t expect that to be an easy task. But Arizona’s low desert permitted rain glorious rain to fall on her soil, so I am snuggled up with Melba on the couch and wearing away my fingers knitting the cotton out of my stash.

The naughty little girl was finally successful in her bid to get two dinners out of Querido and me, and so she’s out for the count. In the midst of my Christmas knitting, I have been seized with a desire to use up my stash–preferably enough to allow me to put it all away. The cotton goes first.

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Buttons

Red cardigan with black buttons

I’ve got buttons.

Today, I don’t have any grandiose plans to change the world, not magnificent FOs to show off. I just have buttons.

Do you keep a button box? Growing up, my sisters and I would play with the buttons in our mother’s button box, and I raided it for closures for the wonky little pouches I made in my early days as a knitter. When I moved out, I started my own button box, filling it with those irresistible little sale cards of buttons from fabric stores, specialty buttons from yarn stores, and gently (or not so gently) worn buttons salvaged from clothes en route to the rag bag.

In several years of collecting, however, I had never actually used any of the buttons from my box. Until today. The sweater is my Leah’s Lovely Cardigan, finished last summer. Because of the wonky fit through the body, I wore it open for a year, but many a time at my desk I thought it would be useful to have a few buttons to keep the neck closed over a v-neck shirt.

In my clean all the things phase right after my job ended, I finally got enough momentum to go searching for buttons to put on the cardigan, but not enough momentum to go out and buy buttons. So I poked through the button box, and there they were: a whole bunch of little cloth buttons salvaged from an old sundress. By some miracle, they were not a smidge to big or small (have you noticed button-box buttons usually come in those two sizes?), and by an additional miracle I had red thread, so on they went.

That’s my excitement for this Tuesday. I actually used buttons from my button box, and my cardigan will stay closed at the neck. Huzzah!

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Alien Baby

Here we have it, a second post in as many days! I may get back on track yet.

We have talked about my thing for knitting weird toys for new babies before. If a president’s publicity stunt can make predators children’s toys, I see no reason why prehistoric and mythical creatures can’t be children’s toys too. I can whip out a Nautie in no time. My first blog post, as a matter of fact, featured a Nautie. The most normal thing I can manage is a hedgehog.

Sometimes, the parents are not looking to reimagine normal when stocking their little one’s toy basket. They are quite happy with bears, thank you. (These are the people that get hedgehogs) But this year, one of Querido’s friends announced that his family was welcoming its first little one, and for the first time ever, I was knitting for a parent that would absolutely love a strange softie.

No animals were harmed in the making of this alien, but one small dog was reminded that her owner is crazy.

No animals were harmed in the making of this alien, but one small dog was reminded that her owner is crazy.

Specifically, an Alien softie. I had a vision: egg-shaped baby sock, matching bonnet, and chubby little facehugger to keep the baby company in his stroller.

The egg was the hard part: I couldn’t find a pattern for an egg-shaped baby sock, nor even a giant Easter Egg softie, so I had to take the proportions of a little Easter egg softie and wing it.

Alien-egg shaped baby sock

Alien Egg — after I got carried away and took pictures, I blocked it and secured down the flaps with buttons

The bonnet is from Joelle Hoverson’s Last Minute Knitted Gifts, and the time rating is accurate: Miss Dawdling Knitter finished in about 3 hours. Apologies to the mother-to-be doing all the hard work: I think this is the only part you’ll like.

Gray baby bonnet on a brightly printed cushion

The bonnet, which will coordinate with normal outfits too

And the pièce de résistance, the facehugger, came from a pattern on Craftster. I doubled worsted yarn to make it chubby, modified the carapace shaping slightly, and shortened legs and tail to reduce the choking hazard. Full notes on Ravelry

Knitted facehugger

Ahhh!!!!

When everything was finished, I stuffed the bottom of the egg with tissue paper to give it shape, then wrapped the facehugger in pink tissue and stuffed that into the top of the egg. (Taking pictures of my wrapping would have been smart, and yet I did not think to do so). The whole thing went into a silver gift bag and off to the father-to-be.

Ever the perfectionist, I was concerned about the shape of the egg, and hoped that a facehugger with only two sections per leg would not be unacceptably inaccurate (they should have three). But my fears were unfounded–our friend loved it.

So if you see a baby out and about in its Alien suit, know that a few dozen sea monsters are not far behind.

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I Live Like a Hermit in My Own Head

(Title from “Marching Bands of Manhattan,” by Death Cab for Cutie).

Dog asleep with her foot in a sewing bag

Thank you, dear readers, for your patience as I continue struggling towards a normal posting schedule. I had never realized it, but my blogging schedule was closely tied to my working schedule. I would take photos and write posts early in the morning, before leaving for work, and as I commuted, I would knit on the projects that would then be photographed and discussed in the next post.

But my jobby job ended with July, and with it my regular schedule. The past two weeks have been chockablock full–with job hunting, with knitting, with deep cleaning–but like hermits, the words stay in my head.

If you will try and stay patient, I will try to shoo the words out.

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Getting my Knit Together

Thank you everyone for your commiseration on the vest! After nearly sixteen years knitting, I should know that garments need to be tried on before they are nearly finished. But no, I waited to try on the vest until I was halfway done with the collar. What I did not take the time to show you, in Friday’s moment of knitterly fury, was how the vest had turned out far too small, and how my gauge, combined with several inches of negative ease, resulted in a fabric so sheer you could read the logo off any shirt I wore underneath.

The worst part was that when I tried it on, I realized how much I liked the design, how much I wanted to have this vest. Grrr.

After the initial frogging and angst, I took a few deep breaths, measured myself again, went down a needle size, and the vest is now rising from its wooly ashes.

Small piece of knitting on a basket

Fingers crossed for version two. While I was in the knitting zone, I took the time to get other works-in-progress in order. A few gifts are chugging along in the background, and after yesterday’s tidying up, they will soon be ready to reveal!

Friday Fail

Woman wearing a green cowl-necked vest

The vest on Thursday

Balls of green yarn on a shelf with orchids

The vest on Friday.

Rewards

Clouds above South Mountain

The monsoon has rolled over Phoenix like a giant slug, stifling us with icky damp humidity that rarely turns into rain. Our only reward is the cloudy mornings, which give a short break from the bright, sticky days. Although now that I’ve taken that picture and noticed how all the smog is nicely sandwiched between the clouds and the Valley, I will be slightly less enthused about breathing huge lungfuls of morning air.

Unfinished green cabled vest on a white chair

My creativity failed on this one and I arranged it in the “lumpy half-finished garment” pose

In knitting news, I sat myself down last night with Midnight in Paris and two bags of knitting: the Baby Thing and my Sexxxy Librarian vest (Click the link and check out how the pictures in that post are almost exactly the same as in this. I am feeling really, really unoriginal right now.) Somehow, the vest, my only project without a deadline, came out of its bag.

Knitting a mostly-finished project, off of a real pattern (not one I’m making up as I go along), while watching a movie I’d already seen before, was a lovely brain break. I will get back to deadline work later, but taking time off from that all, like our little breaks from glaring sunshine, was quite a reward.

Little Critters

Woman with red nail polish holding gray knitting

But what is it? No worries, something suitably strange.

There is a little baby coming in our circle of friends, and I am knitting it something so it can be strollered about in style. Well, probably not a little baby: both its parents are tall. I have bought yarn accordingly. More to come very soon, because worsted-weight yarn after weeks of lace is giddyingly fast.

Volcanoes and High Seas

Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments on the blanket! After the dazedness that comes right after finishing a big project, I am feeling very pleased. I have another FO too, and I am absolutely dying to show you, but I can’t…because it’s a Christmas gift.

Haboob over north central Phoenix

Pretty pink clouds in the sky, but look at the one touching the ground.

I know–Christmas is eons away. It certainly feels like it, with the monsoon just hitting Arizona (exhibit 1, haboob, above), and highs around 110º turning soupy with humidity. But my usual crazed Christmas-gift-making time will be crazed wedding-planning time this winter, so I am hoping to get a jump on things and not (totally) lose my mind here.

Seaking of not losing one’s mind, Querido and I escaped the heat this past weekend quite literally, driving up north to explore Wupatki National Monument.

Mousie Does Wupatki

Destination: Wupatki National Monument. Although it’s only about an hour past Flagstaff, I had never been.

Horizon at Wupatki National Monument

It was absolutely gorgeous, but also sad: several families whose ancestors had been living at the ruin for centuries were chased off park land when their presence was deemed too destructive. Living in the Southwest, where the nasty bits of history are closer to the surface, these uncomfortable moments happen pretty frequently. Although I’d like to say I came to some happy resolution on this point, I didn’t. Querido and I tromped around the park, where damaging residents and sheep had been removed so damaging tourists could take their place, and off we drove to Sunset Crater.

High Seas shawl in front of a cinder cone volcano

High Seas and volcanoes

Thankfully, knitting is just knitting, and I got a lot of it done. I completed 70 rows of High Seas (lots of car time!), which *fingers crossed* puts me at the halfway point!

Curtain of rain half-covering the sky

The storm came to us.

A short drive, a passing rainstorm, and here we are again, back in the muggy heat. What’s your favorite summer escape?

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