Sock Monkey

Yes, you can buy ragg wool socks, in these traditional colors, and sew up a sock monkey, if you are sew-inclined. And they are cute as a bug’s ear. But why spend $12 and a few hours of time, when you can pay a lot more for good wool, a pattern, Perendale loose batting stuffing from Frankenmuth Woolen Mill, knit for a zillion hours and STILL have to sew the sock monkey together?

This guy is big! He is knit in sportweight wool kitted up by Blackberry Ridge. He measures in at a 19 inch body with 15 inch legs and arms. His sturdy long tail creates a perfect tripod for the erect posture so essential to a primate. The pattern is Mr. Ben by Two Old Bags a/k/a Ann Swanson and Katie Nagorney. For reasons historical, this sock monkey is named Poodie.

From the moment Poodie was assembled on Christmas Eve, 2010, he proved a voracious reader. First it was Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle. He was asking to read Darwin’s On The Origins of  Species next, but it’s not part of our library. He had to settle for Richard Leakey’s tome instead.

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Knitted Tomten

A Tomten is a Swedish character that has stuff to do all year round, not just at Christmas. But my tomten trots out every Christmas season anyway. Kind of like a troll or a gnome or maybe an elf.

Of course, just having knitted one doesn’t make me some kind of expert on tomtens. Neither does reading what the self-appointed tomten experts of the world have to say about them on Wikipedia.Those experts report that this guy is really a tomte. Despite a tomte’s small size, he has great strength. His eyes glow in the dark. But maybe they don’t. It seems they only come in the boy variety. Nothing is said about any tomtesses. A tomte protects farmers’ homes. And apparently he’s a little prickly about the out buildings.  A tomte is rather easily offended and will retaliate if someone urinates in the barn. I guess cows and horses urinating in the barn is OK, but not people, which makes every kind of sense. A tomte’s favorite food is porridge with a little pat of butter on the top, especially on Christmas Eve.

This tomten is a Susan Weir pattern. He was a hoot to knit. Great nose. Good feet.

Best wishes for a close-knit holiday season. And no urinating in your barns (or behind your sheds or garages) or else the tomtens will give you a sound thrashing.

Noro Two Colorway Scarf

Bazillions of knitters have learned that Noro yarns, with their long sections of colors, have some surprises other than the knots that are frequently encountered. Two different Noro colorways, in alternating sets of rows, interact with each other to produce cool striping. This is Noro Kureyon. Noro Silk Garden likely has a nicer drape and will be less scratchy. Any yarn with fairly long swaths of color will work similarly. The word is that almost any two Noro colorways will look just fine together. Part of my scarf turned out to be a rather bright blue with a major pink that I find quite unpleasant. But that section didn’t last long enough to ruin the look.

This particular version is Jared Flood’s way of doing it. Knit one purl one rib that almost comes out looking like stockinette. Skip the blocking. No need. The knitting is mindless and would be quite boring except that seeing how the next set of colors and the next and the next works out keeps a knitter moving forward with interest.

My plans are to make a few more. Including another one rather soon. Steve’s new winter coat has no hood and the walk in to work from Lot 20 is cold cold cold.

Bigga Bitty Blankie

Try to say that 4 times in a row fast. Bigga bitty blankie. Bigga bitty blankie. Bigga bitty blankie. Bigga bitty blankie. I’ve always liked tongue twisters. “Buy a box of biscuits. A box of mixed biscuits and a biscuit mixer.” Rubber baby buggy bumpers. Rubber baby buggy bumpers. Rubber baby buggy bumpers. Now back to the Bigga bitty blankie.

Awhile ago I bought more Sirdar Bigga than I needed for a project. Actually, the project was supposed to be two of something, but the one of something took more yarn than I planned. I was left with 13 skeins of Sirdar Super Bulky Bigga. It has a nice loft to it, for a super bulky, at 50% wool/50% acrylic. Quite a few too many knots, but no need to worry about it anymore because the yarn is discontinued now.

I tried to come up with something inspired for this yarn. Nothing presented itself. I posted on the “WWYK” (What Would You Knit) Ravelry group. But even that normally energetic group could not come with anything interesting. The best suggestion was Anna & Heidi Pickles’s pattern for Puff Daddy, a garter stitch knitted footstool. I had enough yarn to make Puff Daddy’s Baby. I figured stuffing the Bigga Baby Puff would have been a Bigga headache. Finally, I found a Classic Elite two row lace blanket pattern that looked like it would work. But the week at the office turned into about two weeks at the office and it took a bit out of me. I’m afraid I didn’t have enough brain cells left to tackle even an easy lace pattern. My concentration wandered. I kept screwing up.

Finally, I just cast on 76 stitches on size 19, 27 inch circular needles I wrestled from deep in my needle stash. Big blue, hollow, plastic needles. They’ll work. It was off to the races. I finished this 41 inch by 49 inch lap blanket in just over 24 hours. And I did plenty of stuff in between. It took about  half an hour a skein. To work with a super bulky you have to put up with knitting needles the size of broomsticks. But after the initial unfamiliar feel, it’s mesmerizing to see mass quantities of inches filling up your lap at such a remarkable pace.

So the Bigga that has been taking up space in my cedar yarn closet has left its dormant phase and entered its productive phase. It now can warm a lap. Warm a toddler. Be a place for a cat to find cozy contentment. Keep chilly feet comfy when the dialing down gets a tad aggressive. And after a challenging week of work, I knitted a blankie basically all in one day. Very cool.