Need a holiday handknit? Time for a Schmatta!

Slippery Slopes

psychotowel.jpg
Dear Ann,
I know what you mean about hypnotic. Remember my new beach blanket, the Psychedelic Squares Afghan?
It seemed like a good idea at the time. From where I sit now, at the cast-on of Square 36, it still seems like a good idea. A really good idea. A scary good idea.
I can’t seem to work on anything else. These squares are the perfect bite-sized snack. The Cheetos of knitting. You start out with 72 stitches, but decrease 3 stitches every other row, so it zips along. Just when you’re getting tired of these two colors, the thing is done already, and the temptation to start a square with a new color is very powerful. It’s easy to turn out several of them in a day, while multi-tasking (translation: barely doing) necessary chores, such as nodding and frowning at conflicting accounts of what Joseph just did to Carrie, for example. The problem is, it is not easy to work on anything else. The psycho squares have taken over.
I realized that if I didn’t start sewing up the blocks of squares, by the time I got to the end it would be an insurmountable pile of sewing. So I blocked a bunch of them, and sewed up the first two blocks:
psycho2blocks.jpg
…which made me love them even more. A mitered square is a beautiful thing.
In Other News WARNING: EXTREME CRAFTING CONTENT
I did have to shake off the psychedelic squares for the 10 minutes it took me to sew the tiny sleeves into this:
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Awwww….it’s a baby bolero, “Poppy” from Debbie Bliss’ Cotton Angora collection, which takes less than 3 balls of yarn in this size. I knit the pieces weeks ago, and sewed the sides and sleeves, but managed to put it it down before setting the sleeves in.
Then I got the baby announcement, did the math, and realized that the baby was two months old already. Still too tiny for her sweater, but high time for a present! I popped in the sleeves, gave it the old Rowenta Treatment, and was pleased to have found this cute little hanger:
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I should have stopped there. But no. An urge that was exceedingly craftsy, even for me, welled up and would not let me go.
And so I got out THE RUBBER STAMPS [no! not the rubber stamps!], and did this:
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Even at a convention of garden-gnome painters, you can clear the room by mentioning that you enjoy a spot of rubber-stamping now and then. I do not know why this is so. It seems terribly unfair, but what can you do?
Love, Kay

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. The time to start worrying is when you dig out that afghan coat, put flowers in your hair and start calling everybody ‘man’. Meanwhile, enjoy!
    I’ve done ‘Poppy” three times, it is a great pattern, But so far have managed to restrain myself from rubber stamping, must leave something for my old age…….

  2. Poppy is adorable! Love that stamping on the hanger idea; I must snag that for a future project.
    I think the crafty urge is contagious. Yesterday I was making puppets out of toilet paper tubes with the kid.

  3. Poppy is totally adorable. The rubber stamping looks fabulous and actually sounds like quite the elegant activity when you call it a “spot” of rubber-stamping.
    Craft on, you posh crafty diva!

  4. You just race ahead on that Afghan… I’m going to join in on the 30th, my first day of unemploymeny (yay!)
    As for rubberstamping, it is not that bad. It is a continuation of the Gutenberg craft (printing/stamping) using Native American materials (Cautschuk(Rubber), if you need to politically-correct someone.

  5. wow. lovely! i think need some of those squares!

  6. Hey Kay, way to make the mere mortals among us feel inferior! Your recent projects are simply perfect. I saw someone else working on a striped afghan like that a few months ago and earmarked the idea for a future stash-reduction idea. Now I don’t have to figure out how to do it! And as for Poppy, :::sigh::: I just can’t think of anything cuter right now. Nice work!

  7. Kay, I love the way you suddenly produce completed projects with no warning that they were ever even WIPs. Makes it seem like magic. And there is nothing cuter on a baby girl than a bolero. The hanger is posh, not crafty. If you start churning out boxes of stamped hangers, I’ll worry, but for now, I’m with Becky: it’s filed away for future shameless copying!
    If you can tear yourself away from Psycho Afghan long enough to remember, please dish on the cotton angora. Do you love it, hate it, or nice for a baby bolero but nothing you’d want to spend more time with? I haven’t been able to find any to squeeze but it sounds SO tempting!

  8. Hello–Yes, I did neglect to blab away about the start of Poppy–how unlike me to miss a blabbing op! In the smallest size, it is so small that you can make the pieces in a weekend or less. Some info:
    COTTON ANGORA: The Skinny According To Kay
    I love Cotton Angora. It is one of the most luxe yarns available to those of us who are sensitive or allergic to wool. It’s fuzzy and drapey. However, it’s quite hot. For a garment for myself, it’s a cold-weather fiber. It knits up fast, and there are many patterns it could be used for, when you consider that it is the same gauge as Rowan’s All Seasons Cotton and other popular yarns. One problem is that the colors tend toward the pastels/pales. Hopefully it’s popular enough that she produces more all-season colors. Bottom line: it’s a good yarn.
    POPPY: The Skinny According to Kay
    I agree with Jill–it’s a great pattern. Perfect for a baby gift because–let me shout this from the housetops–NO BUTTONHOLES!!! And the ribbed edging is picked up and knitted on, so there’s none of that stretching it and sewing it on business.
    Here’s the one flaw, in my view: the curved shaping of the bolero fronts is accomplished by backward-loop casting on the additional stitches at the ends of rows. I find this almost impossible to do without leaving big loops along the edge, which were difficult to hide in the knitted-on edging. I had to sew some of these loops down on the wrong side. Maybe I’ll be better at it next time. I’m sure there will be a next time. It’s the perfect cozy little something for a toddler to wear with a dress and make people go, ‘Look! How adorable is that!’
    Thanks for all the kind words!!!!!!!!
    Especially the tolerance of rubber-stamping! xox Kay

  9. Love the squares!!

  10. I love the squares and love Poppy. I’m slowly making my way through the Cotton Angora book and am keeping my fingers crossed that a chilly infant girl will cross my path soon. Otherwise I’ll have to make the sweater for the cat.

  11. Kay–Thanks for that crunchy Cheetos link. You know there’s nothing I love more than a Cheeto. If you’re working on an orange project, Cheetos are the best. If you’re not, well . . .
    Can’t get enough of those psycho squares. Your combo of brights and blahs is working like crazy. Keep at it.
    And as for the baby bolero (wasn’t that a Raffi song?), I want to see it on Jade Maya. How boleroish is it? Whatever–it’s plumb cute.
    You’re giving me a jones for a small babyish thing. Off I go to The Stash, Cotton Glace sector.
    And you’ll hear not a peep from me about rubber stamps. If you head into silk florals, we’ll talk.

  12. Cute sweater….looks like a great idea for a quick baby gift! And I won’t start questioning your craftiness unless you start crocheting toilet paper roll covers; especially the ones with the ladies in dresses on the top, with the skirts that flow down over the roll.

  13. Fab squares ! The colours really sing.
    Poppy is perfectly sweet and I,too,like the rubber stamped hanger.A little judicious rubber stamping is a good thing.It’s when you run amok with it we need to worry. :0)

  14. Hi Kay! Your blanket is wonderful! I too am hypnotically knitting away on a garter stitch pattern from the wooly thoughts people – it might be a pillow or it might be a bedspread! Ann, your wrap is beautiful – I may have to go out and find some koigu. I’ve been swatching on one lonely skein of pumpkin orange.

  15. Oh Kay your squares are irresistible. My mouth is watering just gazing at them. They are like candy. And so beautifully sewn together. Ahhhhh….. I must have me some psychadelic squares.

  16. kay….i’m lovin’ those purrfectly dee-vine psycho mitered squares…you are truly munching and gobbling along like little pacmen heads. and it sounds as tho’ mitered squares are helping to keep child rearing sane… such lofty goals! why… they even look juicy tossed topsy turvey on the white bedsheet. gosh… i only have about 30 years left to knit productively….i’d better get crackin’…..

  17. Add me to the list of those who are going to steal the rubber-stamped hanger idea! I’m going to have to make one of those to go with the baby sweater I’m knitting now. I will admit to already owning those little alphabet stamps!
    Lorette, my mother-in-law has one of those crocheted-lady-toilet-paper-things in BOTH of her bathrooms. I keep hoping the cat will knock them into the toilet rendering them unhygienic.

  18. Jenny–If you want to please and impress your mother-in-law, Erika Knight’s new book, Simple Knits With a Twist, has a pink-poodle bottle cover that I’m sure could be converted easily into a double-decker toilet paper ‘cozy’.
    Does anybody other than me, a child of the 70s and a child of the Midwest, remember the hats made from beer can fronts, crocheted together?
    xox Kay

  19. Kay…I have been hooked on these squares too but knitting the garter stitch pattern with Sugar and Creme cotton . As you said, they work up fast and just as one is finished I am thinking what colors will be the next one.
    :-)

  20. KAY! Guess what, in the inner recesses of my memory was stored a archived blog entry from Bonne Marie on the beer can hat topic, check it out here:
    http://www.chicknits.com/blog031017.shtml
    Enjoy!

  21. Brooks! Amazing–Bonne Marie manages to look CUTE in a beer-can hat. It’s the Bottoms-Up Bucket o’ Beer! xox Kay

  22. Further on ‘Poppy’ – I did one in the largest size, was concerned the fronts might flap about a bit and put a large ribbon bow on it, which was well received (actually she chewed the ends….) About casting on for the shaped fronts, I agree, I couldn’t get it to look neat either, so I turned work round and did cable cast on, much easier to pick up from.

  23. woah man – heavy trip ! Your pyschadelic extravagance is making my eyes go funny but it is gorgeous. I can appreciate it’s addictive qualities.And Poppy is just too cute for words.
    Does it come in a big enough size for a 2 year old ? I may have to break my resolve to finish some WIPS first if it does cos’ it sure smacks of holiday knitting to me !

  24. Kay,
    Since my days of free time are history due to actually getting a job in Hutchinson, I am just today, scanning through old MDK entries. I’m here alone–both teens in Omaha with Gram Pat, and my better? half in Canada for a week fishing. Yesterday I actually went to the Hutchinson Public Library. Quite a nice place with a huge learning area for kids–better than any of the children’s sections of the libraries in Omaha.
    Anyway, in reviewing the map of states contributing squares, it is quite distressing to me that our home state of Nebraska and Kansas are not yet on the map. Maybe you should teach me to knit. I could mail one from Kansas, and when we are on one of our many Husker state jaunts, I could mail one from there. Or maybe just teach Grandma Lill to knit while she’s there!

  25. so friday afternoon i was looking at a road atlas, trying to see how i could combine trip a to nashville/visit to memphis, where my friend joey is playing oboe in the orchestra/swing by chicago and/go to florida to finally meet our friend maud’s husband…
    it was the gee’s bend quilts that did it.
    what a great father’s day this has been! happy father’s day to all SO’s out there!!
    finished a (very juicy!) dishcloth for ticia (with the Pigsah cotton from MDK) on the way to the market.
    however, i now have A. Kitchen. Sink. Full. Of. Rhubarb.
    (i think i am the only one who actually eats rhubarb in this family…)
    washin’ rhubarb,
    KAF (ps. any good rhubarb recipes, anybody? is posting about produce allowed?) ;-)

  26. Hi! I’m really loving your psychedellic squares afghan and I’m tempted to start one once I’ve knit my way through half a trillion other projects I’ve started.
    question: what yarn are you using for the squares?
    Many thanks!

  27. Fabulous! I just posted a bit on my blog about my Mildly Psychedelic Squares version… although it looked a lot less mild photographed than I was expecting! Your squares look great; I’m entirely jealous of the finishing works put in. :)

  28. Kelli Ann–
    Rhubarb? I have never in my life eaten a stalk of rhubarb. I see it in the store and think, “Well ain’t that decorative?” Seems to me Garrison Keillor is all the time singing about rhubarb pie, so that may be the direction I take. I’m guessing if you put a cup of sugar on anything, it can be a pie. Glad your Father’s Day was splendid–we had our fair share of bed-delivered waffles and such.
    Renata–Kay is in the break room right now eating her Toast-Chees and Diet Slice, so I’ll venture a guess on her yarn choice and say Tahki Cotton Classic. She may have some of her ultrafave Rowan Handknit DK cotton in there, but as I recall she was branching out on this project.

  29. i am absolutely mesmerized by your psychadelic afghan. i really want to make one now…no must finish something first…can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  30. Oh, the Poppy is absolutely adorable. I’ve been looking for a cute simple pattern for baby items knitted with alpaca and this will be perfect. I’ll have to spin up some alpaca to work up to the correct gauge. This will also be a good time to try the kool aid dying.
    As for the rubber stamping, that’s a great idea. Should I admit that I’m a stamper??? When I’m not spinning, or knitting, or blogging, or gardening, I do scrapbooks. Which lately has been during my lunch hour. I like to rubber stamp in the books for accents.

  31. Oh, the Poppy is absolutely adorable. I’ve been looking for a cute simple pattern for baby items knitted with alpaca and this will be perfect. I’ll have to spin up some alpaca to work up to the correct gauge. This will also be a good time to try the kool aid dying.
    As for the rubber stamping, that’s a great idea. Should I admit that I’m a stamper??? When I’m not spinning, or knitting, or blogging, or gardening, I do scrapbooks. Which lately has been during my lunch hour. I like to rubber stamp in the books for accents.