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Pattern: Retro Rib Socks from Interweave Knits, Winter 2004

Yarn: one skein Malabrigo sock yarn (superwash merino wool)

Needles: set of 5 U.S. size 2 DPNs

Modifications: None

Man socks. In black. In a pattern I’ve knit at least six times.

The love I have for my family is infinite, y’all.

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Anemone likes her new favorite shirt so much that I went ahead and made her another one. It was a lot easier this time because I made a master pattern incorporating all the alterations on the last shirt. I used this red cotton shirting from Fashion Fabrics Club. I was more careful with the sleeves this time, and managed the flat-felled seams, which really made a difference in the way the fabric lay around the armscye. Unfortunately, I used navy blue waxed tracing paper to trace the pattern, and it didn’t quite come out in the wash. It’s very visible on all the interior seam finishes, and you can even see a bit around the edges of the collar stand. I hope it continues to fade with washing, but I’m afraid my silly mistake will be permanent.

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But it’s definitely wearable, and we’re both fairly pleased with it!

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Pattern: Madli’s Shawl from Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush

Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Helen’s Lace (absolutely NOT colorfast, by the way)

Needles: U.S. size 5

Errata: The second sentence of the CENTER SECTION instructions should read: “Knit 5 rows.”

I knit this shawl for my grandmother, but Anemone was kind enough to model it for me before I sent it on its way. It took longer to complete than I expected, mostly because the center section was difficult to memorize at first, and then it was boring. The same twelve rows thirty-one times! I kept finding more important things to do.

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I think the worst part (other than the dye staining my hands and shirt during the blocking process) was the grafting of the second lace border to the center section. The successful grafting of 101 stitches in clingy lace weight yarn deserves a medal or something, but all I got was static when I screeched at my family to STOP TALKING TO ME OH PLEASE STOP TALKING PURLWISE FRONT, PURLWISE BACK, SLIP, KNITWISE BACK, KNITWISE FRONT, SLIP…

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The end result is beautiful, though, and I know Grandma will love it.

How do you feel about lacy shawls? I love knitting lace, but Anemone and I can’t wear it without feeling as if we’re dressing up in Great Aunt Tillie’s curtains. That’s why I usually give my shawls to babies and little old ladies—it’s as if they EXIST to be wrapped in lace! So, assuming you are between the ages of one and eighty, how comfortable would you be wandering around town in a lacy knitted shawl? Would you feel beautiful, or would you feel silly?

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Pattern: Gentleman’s Fancy Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks: New Twists on Classic Patterns by Nancy Bush

Yarn: one skein Malabrigo sock yarn (superwash merino wool)

Needles: set of 5 U.S. size 0 DPNs

Modifications: None

Knitting for far-off relatives stresses me out. Will it get lost in the mail? Will it fit? Will it be comfortable? Will he think it’s ugly? Will she put it in the dryer? Will they expect me to do this on a regular basis?  I’m giving myself hysterics over here. I don’t like hysterics, so when I knit for far-off relatives, I try to make it easier on myself. For instance, these socks are for my grandfather. I’ve made him socks before, so I knit the same pattern again because I know these fit him. (At least, he SAID they fit him. He may have just been being kind. Was he being kind? Were they really too small? Or too big? CUE THE HYSTERICAL HYSTERIA Oh, wait, he and JellyMan have the same shoe size, so try these on, JM, but don’t tell anybody…) I knit them in black, because men seem to like black. Or gray. Or BLACK. (Do they have any idea how boring knitting big old man socks in black yarn cam be? And do they know how difficult it is to even find black yarn? I’ve had yarn shop owners in three states laugh me out of the store because “You can buy black socks/sweaters/hats/gloves anywhere.” You know what, stupid yarn shop owners? Maybe there’s a REASON we buy stuff online.)

But anyway, these are basic black socks for Grandpa. I’m pretty sure he’ll like them.

BUT WHAT IF THEY GET LOST IN THE MAIL?

Pin-Challenge-Final1My people have been nagging me to mend or alter their clothes ever since I dusted off my long neglected sewing machine. I keep explaining that I don’t know the first damn thing about mending or altering clothing, that if I knew how to mend or alter clothing I wouldn’t have duck taped the hems of JellyMan’s pants the morning of his piano recital, but they won’t believe me. They think I’m just being lazy, and you know what? It’s true. I don’t WANT to mend or alter clothing. Being able to do that would mean that a) I’d have to shop clearance sales (or, God help me, the thrift store) and b) I’d have a lot of fiddly work to do once I got home. How is that fun? But since I am, you know, AWESOME, I’ll throw them a bone and learn how to hem their jeans. I found a terrific tutorial by Ashley from Make It & Love It on Pinterest. It’s cool because you get to avoid THE ULTIMATE HORROR THAT IS THE UNDISTRESSED HEM. It still looks a little gooby to me, like a weird little pleat or tuck or something where you don’t normally see a weird little pleat or tuck or something, but whatever. I’ll try anything once.

I want my jeans shortened by 2″, and the original hem is 1/2″ deep, so I marked a line 2.5″ up from the bottom edge, folded up the hem to meet the line, and pinned it.

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Then I sewed it right along the narrow folded edge of the hem.

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With a LIGHTWEIGHT NEEDLE, because I are a doofus.

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After you find the proper heavyweight needle, you will still want to hand operate your fly wheel over the bulky side seams. Unless, of course, your machine is way less sucky than mine is.

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After severe steaming, pressing, and pounding (lay a press cloth over the bulky side seam, steam the hell out of it, then whack it with a rubber mallet a few times, BUT DO NOT WHACK THE SEAMS ON YOUR IRONING BOARD), the hems were reasonably flat.

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Pressed but unwhacked side seam:

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Pressed and whacked side seam:

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It’s still looking a little gooby to me, though. See that little fold just above the original top stitching? I’m just not a fan.

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So I tried to get rid of it by sewing closer to the top stitching. I basted up the narrow folded edge of the hem that I sewed next to the first time to get it out of my way.

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Here’s a closer look:

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Then I sewed very close to, but not touching, the top stitching. It was damn near impossible to keep the stitching line perfectly straight because of the bulk of the basted hem, but by the time I was done basting, I didn’t give much of a crap.

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I removed the pins and ripped out the basting threads:

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And now I can’t decide which version I like better. What do you think? The original method is on the left; my significantly more time consuming method is on the right.

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Either way, I’m calling it a win. Because, look! Hemmed jeans!

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Now I’m off to see what the other ladies did. See you next month!