Tuesday, January 10, 2006

New Knitter on the Block

So, as you'll soon figure out, I'm not Lystessa. I'm the mother of the recipient of the acorn hat (scroll down). As part of her diabolical plot for world domination, Lystessa taught me to knit this past November and now I'm completely hooked on yarn. As penance for her dastardly deed, she invited me to join her blog. At long last, I have a post-worthy project, so...here I am...The Jade Dragon.

A little quick bit about me: I originally wanted to knit so I could make my own diaper covers, but I've discovered that I have way too much fun playing around with different kinds of yarn. I've been knitting three months and I already have a sizeable stash...I'm on a "yarn diet" until I use up some of the yarn I inherited from my late grandmother, an avid crocheter. I am seriously considering taking up crochet as well. I have learned a few basic stitches and it feels so natural I wonder if I didn't absorb some small amount of knowledge from watching my grandmother crochet for the last twenty years. My boy is just about two months older than Lytessa's, so we get together whenever we can to share tips (she does more sharing than I do) and try to keep our boys from mauling each other while we knit.

So, on to my project. A friend's sister just had a baby, and I wanted to send a gift. I don't know them well, so I didn't want to spend a lot of money, and the baby had arrived before I got around to starting the project, so it had to be quick. I decided to pull some yarn out of my stash and use up some bits on a few pairs of socks. Sure, I'd never done socks before, but I had a book. "Quick-to-knit," it claimed. How long could a couple of pairs of baby socks take?

Too long, I found. I got about 15 rows in before I dropped a stitch between my double-points, but I decided to rip the whole thing out when I realized that the long-tail cast-on wasn't working for the top edge of the tiny sock. Picot would have been more appropriate, but before I even finished ripping out the desire to start over was gone. A couple of pairs of socks, however cute, isn't going to be appreciated as much as something really unique and cute. So I flipped open my copy of Stitch 'n Bitch Nation and found...it. One-hour baby booties, knit in bulky yarn on largish needles.

Great, I'll just go to my stash and whip out my ball of bulky white lambswool...oh, wait. The closest thing I have is this crummy acrylic my grandmother used to make dishcloths for church craft sales. You can't put that on a baby. But -- I do have some Patons Allure in Lapis...I bought it to make some slouchy fuzzy socks for myself but gave up when I couldn't keep it from sliding off my dp needles. Inspired, I cast on and had whipped up my first bootie by the time my son woke up from his nap. As the bootie took shape, I realized two things: (a) fuzzy slippers are really, really cute in baby sizes and (b) this yarn is almost exactly the same color as cookie monster. Hence, Monster Feet were born.
I'm deciding whether or not I'm going to add a cookie monster face to the toes or just leave them plain. I'm leaning toward adding the face, with little felt cut-outs. In case anyone reading this wants to make a pair, here's what I did.

I can't post the whole pattern because it's copyrighted, but if you own or can borrow a copy of Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, you've got the stitches. I used No. 10.5 needles to achieve a guage of 3 st./1", but I knit tightly so your results may vary. I used the knitted-on CO because it's difficult to pull the yarn through for the long tail method, and this worked pretty well. It's impossible to see the individual stitches once they're knitted, so instead of sewing the heel and instep with mattress stitch, I turned the toe inside-out and whipstitched, incorporating the cast-on tail when I got there. I left off the button and the crocheted strap, but you could certainly do it with the same yarn and an I hook. You can't really block these because the yarn is 100% nylon, so I just stuffed them with tissue paper and shaped them by hand. That's pretty much it.

I'll post more pictures when/if I get the faces on. You could do Cookie Monster or Grover in blue, Elmo in red, and Oscar the Grouch in Green. Or you could ditch the Sesame Street theme and do a polar bear or bunny in white (I have some white and may try this just for fun). I would also like to add that, except for the finishing, these really are a one-hour project. I did the first one while my son napped, it took me about 40 minutes to figure out the pattern (I've never done short-row shaping before). I put in a Baby Einstein for the boy to do the second one, and I was already binding off when the end credits started rolling. So if you need a cute baby gift in a hurry, there you go.


Lystessa said...

Those booties are adorable!

Nik said...

I'd totally go with adding the faces. They would be TOO CUTE!

Oh, and welcome to the knitting world. Girl, you're going to be so poor with all the money you're going to spend on yarn ;) but it will be TOTALLY worth it.