Tanks for the slippers

Tanks for the slippers

One of those things that happen once you start to knit is people asking you for certain knit items. I’m pretty happy to oblige. I love making something for someone that I actually know for sure they’ll like. Actually, I really love getting any gift for someone that I’m certain they’ll like.

Of course, one of the other things that happens is you get requests for something in a craft you don’t actually know because people can’t tell whether something is knit or crochet. I got one such request for Christmas for these awesome PANZER SLIPPERS. Normally I just shrug off the request for crochet items because, while I’d like to learn how to do that as well, I have too long a list of knit projects to put the time into that right now. This just happened to be a request from my brother-in-law who was about to leave for a deployment. The situation called for some extra effort, but I was pretty sure it would take years for me to develop enough skill to attempt this pattern. I had to call in an expert.

My awesome cousin Rachel, crocheter extraordinaire, graciously agreed to make the slippers. Really, how awesome are these? I had a major geek out when I opened the package they came in.

IMG_4628

IMG_4629Here’s a little action scene I set up with one of them:

panzerLooks pretty realistic, right? That’s just how good Rachel’s skills are.

With the possibility of projects like this, I really must learn to crochet one day.

Intarsia, or lack thereof

Intarsia, or lack thereof

I finally got to the point of inserting the initial in Savannah’s Harry Potter sweater. I had been working under the assumption that this process would involve intarsia color blocking techniques. Then I got there and read the directions again. They actually tell you not to use separate bobbins, but to strand the yarn behind like you do for fair isle and weave it in every few stitches. I actually did read the directions when I first got them, but at that point I had no clue about multi-color techniques so it didn’t mean anything to me until I read it again after some research about intarsia. I’m a little disappointed. I was looking forward to trying it. Looks like that experience may wait until I get to making this firetruck sweater, specifically requested by Sammy when I was browsing Ravelry one day.

Anyway, here’s my H starting to appear:

IMG_4648It doesn’t show up in the picture, but there’s a little bit of puckering in some of the places where I weave in the stranded yarn on the other side. I find I have to be super careful about tension in doing that. I don’t want to leave it too loose, but too tight and I get a little pucker.

And the back:

IMG_4649I’m not sure why they would want you to do it this way. It seems like it would make for a neater finish if it was done as intarsia, but what do I know? I’m happy to see it coming together though, and glad for something interesting to do. Nothing but stockinette was getting boring, which becomes a factor in how quickly I get things done. Hopefully the rest of it will fly by and I’ll be putting it together soon – with nice, neat seams.

Recent reading

I just finished The Poisonwood Bible, which has been on my to-read list for at least 10 years. I need to read more Kingsolver, I just love the way she writes. I can add The Poisonwood Bible to a couple of other books I’ve loved that have dealt with the history of the Congo in various ways, particularly Heart of Darkness and King Leopold’s Ghost. My historical education has been rather lacking in African history, which is a lack I would really like to fill.

Savannah is flying through the last third or so of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. She finished Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince a while ago but needed a bit of a break before finishing the series. I loved the Harry Potter series and I love watching her experience it as well. She thinks it’s rather funny that she’ll have read the whole series in second grade, as her school doesn’t allow kids to check the Harry Potter books out from the library until third grade.

Savannah has also read Friendship with Jesus, which is a beautifully illustrated picture book that includes children’s questions about the Eucharist, and answers by Pope Benedict XVI. It’s a perfect book for kids preparing for their First Holy Communion.

Sammy and Lissie have loved How Rocket Learned to Read. This book is adorable, and perfect for pre-readers and budding readers. Felicity at this point can recognize a few common sight words and knows letter sounds but isn’t quite at the point where she can start to sound out words she doesn’t know. This book is great for gently starting to introduce that skill. The sequel, Rocket Writes a Story, is definitely on our to-read list.

Well so much for that…

Multitasking, that is. Despite my efforts at making the most of my free time by knitting and reading simultaneously, I have merely succeeded in confirming that multitasking is inefficient and leads to errors. I measured my work; I was just about at the point to start adding the letter H to my first Harry Potter sweater when a mistake caught my eye. I’d managed to pick up an extra stitch on one end. After counting my stitches it turns out that I had in fact managed to pick upĀ two extra stitches. Enter a brief mental struggle over whether to fudge it by knitting a couple sets of stitches together and be bothered by the error every time I looked at the thing, or rip a couple inches and do it right. I ripped it. It was painful. Lesson learned. I suppose I’ll finish this sweater eventually; it seems to be taking forever. It’s probably a mark of my generation that I so greatly prefer projects done with bulkier yarn and bigger needles. If not instant, gratification that comes at least a bit faster is so nice.