Halloween recap, with the costume snob

yes, weeks later. Hey, I never said I’d be on the ball here. I really wanted to share the kids costumes this year since I’m an apparent costume snob. It drives me crazy that Halloween costumes are so expensive and yet  most are made with crappy, crappy fabric.  Especially since I know that some costumes I can make better than what I can buy. Anyway…


In September I asked them what they wanted to be, and told them to think about it for a few days so they would be sure. So help me God, because if I had to make their costumes I need time I told them, and time doesn’t mean 2 days before their classroom Halloween party. We went to the big W place and looked around to start getting idea’s. C was dead set on being a pirate, A was torn between being a horse (ok, I can do that) and a princess possibly snow white, B wanted to be something from Star Wars, and K would be anything we decided to dress her up as. We found the white storm trooper (?) (ya’ll know I’m wrong it was probably not a storm trooper. I don’t pay attention during movies.) which B said that he wanted to be. OK. Now I bought the costume and we went home… see where this is going? Yeah. me too. cause it was way to easy, and I knew he wasn’t as happy as he should be.

Halloween '09

a week or two after we bought the white star wars-whatever costume B fessed up that he would rather be a sith. But a good one (which I think is a Jedi, but I really have no idea), not a bad one like Darth Maul. You have no idea how bloody confused I was, am still am. There is so much about Star Wars that I have no idea about. Really I think he is picking out his costumes based on the weapon that goes with it. He didn’t want to be Anakin or the other guy from the first (or do they call it the forth one now?) movie, Hans Solo (I think, all I remember is that the character was played by Harrison Ford and he was so hot in that movie.) He wanted his own set of Jedi robes. I looked around for a costume, looked in local stores and online. Now the costume snob in me came out. I have a *really* hard time buying a $40 costume when its made out of crappy thin polyester crap. Yep double crap. Its even harder to do so when I know that I can make a better one for less. Abi came to my rescue with this link on how to make a Jedi robe, and with a brown flat bed sheet and a few yards of off white muslin I was on my way.  Best thing is this pattern is exactly what I love, no real measurements just winging it. I did make B’s robe a little short by double folding the hem  so he wouldn’t trip over it while we where out trick-or-treating, I let out the hem the next day so its long, billowy and very Jedi like.  We took full advantage of K being unable to decide and/or tell us what she wanted to be for Halloween.

Halloween '09

so we dressed her up as Yoda. Robe is just like B’s, I used a pair of K’s pjs to figure out the measurements, the arms are short because I ran out of fabric. Hat is raveled here. I used this pattern with some Lion Brand fisherman’s wool that I dyed with kool-aid a few years ago.  I had to use some leftover cascade 220 for the ties that ended up getting cut off because K wouldn’t allow them to be tied. Following the pattern authors advise, the ears where stiffened using watered down white glue, they took three days to freaking dry. Thank goodness I thought about this a week before hand, small miracle in itself. Now A decided that she didn’t want to be a horse, she  wanted to be a princess. We talked her into Snow White. I purchased her costume from Disney’s website, it was a really good price and is very well made. Even though every time she wears it freaking gold glitter ends up everywhere.

Halloween '09

C still wanted to be a pirate, and again my costume snob came out. I couldn’t find a pirate costume that was 1. appropriate 2. not expensive and made from crap and 3. again with the appropriate for a 10 year old. Turning to the internets I found this pattern. Measured my kid and smarty pants me made a practice one out of muslin. Which is a good thing because I had a hell of a time with the waistband and ended up doing my own thing, thanks to what I learned from my practice skirt, and a frantic phone call to my mom. I cut my waistband 2″ longer instead of 1, folded it in half and then sewed it into the skirt leaving the ends open. Basically I made a casing. Then I threaded the elastic through and had my kid try it on, pulled the elastic tight but not too tight, marked it, had the kid take it off, sewed the elastic together where marked and then sewed the ends of the casing shut.

Halloween '09

Sounds confusing but it was way easier than what the author wrote to do. And the skirt had give this way, so it can actually go over the thighs, imagine that. I purchased from white and red fabric from Joanns for the pirate skirt, white shirt from my mom embellished by me with red ribbon, wide belt that was never worn with the jeans it came with, black boots, black leggings, red handkerchief and a pirate hat from Kmart. I was going to make a hat but I ran out of time. Thanks flu. I think she makes a pretty cute pirate.

It ended up raining during the morning of Halloween and trick or treating was smack in the middle of K’s nap, Mike stayed home with her while she napped even though it was his turn to walk the kids around. We where pretty lucky that it didn’t rain while we where out, but the kids where done after an hour (trick or treating here is 2 hours long) and ready to go home. I’m still in shock with that one. B is still wearing his Jedi robe constantly. Which makes this momma happy.

Halloween '09

the costume snob too.

PS. its been one hellva week here. A came home last friday with head lice. OMG it was hard not to scream when I saw them, instead I resorted to my usual “Crap.” . I’m very paranoid about them and do a quick check when my kids come home, while they are doing their homework. Heck when my older kids where in 2nd grade they don’t have lockers they have a closet, yep, my kids get plastic bags to put there stuff in when A and B get to 4th where the classrooms have closets again they will get plastic bags too. There are four of them people, kids that is. Could you imagine how horrible it would be if they all got it?? My mother says I’m this way because she must have traumatized me when I had it as a kid. I think that 1. its traumatizing no matter what and 2. I don’t want them again, even if it was 20 years ago that I had them last. I have never done this much laundry in so many days in my life. The dryer didn’t stop till yesterday, and my van is finally sparkly clean. (people I vacuumed everything, couches, mattresses, chairs, car seats everything that might have possibly been touched or been near. I realize this maybe a bit overboard but this is the only way I can sleep) I haven’t found another nit on her head yet (I’m checking twice a day, when she wakes up and when she comes home from school. She shares a locker with another kid. Who when I called her mom to let her know {I was worried if that kid had it and the mom didn’t know my kid would get it again} the mom said “oh I didn’t know they shared lockers.” Srsly, you did. Open house, your kid told you lady.) The one thing that has been bothering me is… What happened to the one louse that laid the nits, where did that one go? *shiver* I think if I call my sil again to check my head she’s going to kill me.
PPS. I’m really proud of this, before the head lice drama I replaced the dryer vent the cats had ripped. Mike forgot to do this when he was home. After I was finished I only hurt myself twice and required one band aid.

PPPS Mike had to tighten the clamps up when he got home because I couldn’t get the one screw to tighten down. I sorta gave up after I stabbed myself in the hand with the screwdriver. Apparently I don’t screw well.

PPPPS. I’m still really proud of myself for fixing it, even though I didn’t really…


Happy Mitten Monday

It started last year at Rhinebeck.  Mom and I have a tradition of going together, having lunch with knitting friends, then Dad comes over later in the afternoon to look around at the yarns, the finished knits and his (mine too) favorite the people watching. Last year he saw a pair of mittens that where lined, I think he said that they where alpaca (just thinking of alpaca makes me all itchy), and not as densely knit as he would have liked. He told me that he once had a pair of lined mittens, and they where the best ever. And he hasn’t been able to find a pair like it since.

FO: mittens for Daddy

We walked around some more, looked at some other booths. Talked about how alpaca seemed to be all over the place that year (it was 2008 and it was freaking everywhere). We talked more about the mittens, cause I love knitting for my Dad. He understands handwashing. Man even gave me a lecture about it when I was a teenager and I was doing laundry. He had already received many pairs of socks from me and kept talking about those mittens. (Holy Crap! I just realized that I’ve knit my father 4.freaking.pairs.of socks!!)

FO: mittens for Daddy

We talked some more about those mittens, about whether or not he wanted them to be plain or have a fair isle pattern. What colors would be nice, and most importantly what to line them with. And I stupidly said, I would knit him a pair for his birthday. However I didn’t specify which birthday. (Thinking back I think it was the one a few weeks before that Rhinebeck…. but its 4 freaking mittens. So it’s really like 2 presents right? He did get a book this year too, and a really cool pirate knife with a retractable blade which I bet my mom is LOVING right now. haha)

FO: mittens for Daddy

When my parents visited that April my Dad did see my fiddlehead mittens and I asked him if he would like a pair like those. He liked the pattern, but wanted something different. Luckily I had just borrowed magnificent mittens by Anna Zilboorg from the library (it was out of print, but its coming back in print soon!! I just can’t remember when) after flipping through the book, and commenting on how silly the sleeve bell things seem. (I get how they would keep your arms warm but if you where doing something in the snow wouldn’t snow get in them? And yes, they look a wee bit silly and I don’t need much help in that department.) Daddy mentioned that he really liked the pattern from Chapter 5 pattern 1. And I being the glutton for punishment that I am, decided to change them up a bit.

FO: mittens for Daddy

pattern stats:
pattern: Magnificent Mittens – Chapter 5, Pattern 1 by Anna Zilboorg (rav link)
size: to fit 8.5″ hand
yarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino less than one skein of 00227 (dark brown contrast color) and 00229 (light heather gray) and .25 Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2-ply in mahogany for the lining (I know right? they are niiiice!)
needles: US 4 / 3.5 mm
Started July 31 2009
Completed October 7 2009
raveled here.
notes: mashed Adrian’s fiddlehead mittens with the magnificent mittens pattern that my father picked out. I wanted a thumb gore (think that’s what they are called) but didn’t want to have to figure it out. To make the numbers work I added four extra stitches to the sides. (The column of stitches that run up both sides of the mitten is usually 1mc, 1cc, 1mc. Mine are 2mc, 1cc, 2mc) The fair isle patterning for the thumb is from the fiddlehead chart. I started the first mitten July 31 finished the second Aug 8, it took the pressure of his birthday coming up to get me to start and finish the second mitten, then line both of them.

FO: mittens for Daddy

Daddy really likes his mittens, and I was happy to give them to him in person when the kids and I traveled up for our long Rhinebeck weekend visit. I don’t think Dad knows that I took that picture of him wearing his mittens at Rhinebeck with my phone. He did however keep mentioning how nice they where to have since it was chilly. Which I was happy to hear, however it’s going to be a loooong time before I knit another pair like this. Don’t worry Mom, not that long. Don’t worry about Dad either, there will always be handknits in his future. He would really like a vest next. Cute huh?

Recently I finished a pair of owl mittens for Allysa to match her thorpe hat I just finished for her. Once I saw thea’s I had to knit a pair. While I was taking Allysa’s picture this afternoon she kept saying “Happy Mittens! Happy Mittens!” I think she’s happy with them.

FO: Ms. A's owl mittens

FO: Ms. A's owl mittens FO: Ms. A's owl mittens
~remember click on any pic in this post to embiggin~

pattern stats:
Pattern: Give a Hoot by Jocelyn Tunney
size: smaller, to fit a 5 year old hands.
Needles: US 6 / 4.0 mm for the ribbing and US 7 / 4.5 mm for the rest.
yarn: Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted 12 yards in little lovely and 46 yards in Roanoke.
Started October 22 2009
Completed October 26 2009
raveled here.
notes: I prefer a looong cuff on my mittens, so it will stay under a sleeve. I didn’t add any length to this cuff, it was already long enough. Also cast on and knit one row with the pink to help tie it together with her hat. Knitting these mittens at a denser gauge gave me just the right size for Allysa’s little hands with a bit of room to grow. I know lots of other knitters have said this but I love the thumbs on these! I didn’t add buttons because I didn’t have any that where small enough, instead I used some of the pink to make little french knots for eyes.

I keep thinking of other mittens or fingerless mitts to knit, but my exhusbands wife is expecting a baby any day now and every baby needs a handknit sweater. I started yesterday even though I’ve known for months, I do hope that baby hasn’t been waiting for its sweater….

PS. phew 7m left of Monday!
PPS. I still have a bit of a cough but much better. yeah Carrie your right it takes forever to go away!
PPPS. I made pumpkin muffins with dark chocolate chips in them today. So.freaking.good. Since they are pumpkin and its dark chocolate they are good for me right??
PPPPS I just realized that I forgot to order that book for Dad…. crap.

end of socktober and one more pair of socks for the pile.

it was a push to finish these by the end of socktober, with the beginning of the month most of my knitting time was given to the finishing of Daddy’s mittens so they would be done in time for his birthday, then the sleeves to my Wisteria sweater so they would be done in time for Rhinebeck, then a quick little ear warmer for Rhinebeck too, and then finally a pair of fingerless mitts that I haven’t said anything about yet… anyway there has been loads of knitting time this month. Many of it because there has been lots of cuddle time where Kailey just wants to sit with me. Now that she’s feeling better I’ve been trying to find the house.  Never ending mission I swear, I’m getting there but as long as the floors are clean, kitchen sink is clean, bathroom is habital and laundry is washed I’m ok. Gotta keep the expectations low with 4 kids, so something feels accomplished.  With a few nights of tv knitting, and Corra’s basketball game yesterday morning where Mike stayed home with the other kids (we had to be in the next town 15 mins away at 815am. There was no way I was going to bring the younger kids with me if I could get away with it. By the way her team won 28-2 this was her first game of the season since the flu wiped us out, she got a 2 point shot during the game, and you wouldn’t BELEIVE the fouls the ref didn’t call.) I have a pair of finished mystery socks.

FO: TTL Mystery socks '09

project stats:
Pattern: Mystery Sock ’09 by Kirsten Kapur
Started: October 1 2009
Completed: October 31 2009
Yarn: Handmaiden Fine Yarn Casbah Sock colorway blue lagoon purchased from the Loopy Ewe
Needles: US 1½ (2.5 mm) for the cuff and US 2 (2.75 mm) for the rest.
notes: I made one little mod, only because I’m not that fond of lace on the foot of my socks (its cold here in January!) I knit through the back loop of the yo’s on the foot. This does change the fit a bit, since there isn’t as much ease.

FO: TTL Mystery socks '09

It has been a really, long time since I’ve knit a flap heel. I miss the magic of turning the heel. There might be a few more of these heels again in my future. Its really neat how Kirsten continued the pattern down the heel, a first for me. And I quite like how the calf pattern changes into the foot. Very cool. And the toe, awesome how she incorporated the decreases into the pattern!

FO: TTL Mystery socks '09

Socktober always makes me think about how many socks I have knit, which in the end reminds me how far I’ve come from the first sock I have ever knit. Oh wow, that was a doozy.  4 years of knitting socks brings 51 pairs of socks I’ve come a long way.  I put them all together in a set on flickr.

FO:  inverted marigold socks
clicky here to see it.

see, that totally justifies my sock yarn stash…

PS. I almost have my voice back, but the darn cough won’t leave just yet. Still feel a little crappy, but not as craptastic as I did earlier this week.
PPS. I’m going to start a sweater today in fact since Mike has the kids so well occupied I might sneak off and wind up the yarn now…