Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Handmade - Good for the Wallet, Good for the Soul

Would you like to give and receive handmade gifts this holiday season?

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

Consider taking the handmade pledge! Just click on the image above for more information.

The best thing is that the gifts don't have to be handmade by you. That means the great stuff at Etsy counts. I'd also like to recommend a handmade source dear to my heart: MayaWorks. I had the opportunity to visit some of the women behind these handcrafts in Guatemala a few years back. Their stuff is really handmade, really beautiful, really durable, and really directly improves the economic situation of women and their families. They let me hop onto a backstrap loom and weave a bit of a shawl. (I'll have to dig those photos out to show you.)

Loved ones - if you read this blog, know that you will get at least one handmade gift from me this year, and know that if you want to give a gift to me (awww, thanks!) I would appreciate a handmade gift as well.

Mr. Hipp and I are off for a much needed mini-break on Thursday. We'll be back with photos and hopefully some completed crafts next week.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Every time I worked on these Monkey Socks for the swap, Ozomatli's Chango ran through my head.

El otro dia, yo vi a un hombre, un hombre feo, parece chango, chango peludo, hasta la barriga, y su espalda, parece bosque.

The other day, I saw a man, an ugly man, he looked like a monkey, a hairy monkey, down to his belly, and his back looked like a forest.

MonkeySocks 001

The song is about 4.5 minutes long. I estimate that it took 25 hours to knit these socks (yes, I am a very slow knitter). That's about 333 hairy monkeys on the brain.

Pattern: The ubiquitous Monkey by Cookie A
Yarn: Koigu KPPPM, Colorway P485 (light and dark blue, pink, lavender)
Needles: US 2 KnitPicks Harmony DPNs
Modifications: Cuff is regular 1x1 rib instead of twisted rib, for extra stretchiness a la Octopus Knits, altered left-slanting decrease (see below)

My pal's feet are 9.5 inches around and 9.5 inches long. I ended up doing five pattern repeats on the foot to make it work. It may seem a bit short, but these socks stretch like a mofo. My feet are 10 inches long and 9 inches around and they fit me just fine.

About those left-slanting decreases: SSK was not doing it for me; when followed by a purl stitch, as in the pattern repeat, it came out saggy baggy bleh. I still used SSK when followed by a knit stitch, as in the gusset decreases...then it was perky pretty nice.

MonkeySocks 004

I experimented with various types left-slanting decreases with the help of this extremely helpful post on nonaKnits and settled upon the sl 1 k1 psso. Way better results and still really simple to do.

MonkeySocks 006

These were my first ever cuff-down socks! I am enormously proud of, and surprised with, how they turned out. The whole toe-up concept just seemed to make much more sense to me when I first started making socks...that's how you put a sock on, so wouldn't it make sense to knit it that way too? That, and I was irrationally frightened of having to graft a toe; so irrational, in fact, that learning a figure-8 cast on seemed way less daunting.

If you have the same phobias, make the plunge and try a cuff-down sock. It's really not that bad! These socks helped me break out of my knitting box and I feel like a better knitter as a result.

All the teeny stitches on socks has left me craving some fat needles and easy gratification...but more on that later. Mom's Guilt Socks have been neglected for too long.