I know the basics of sewing (okay, maybe I know a few of the intermediates - I'm a terrible judge of my own skills) but I've always wanted to get better. So when YouTube "helpfully" started providing me with videos of people sewing zipper pouches like it was the easiest thing in the world, I got it in my head that I wanted to try it for myself.

I'm a sucker for pretty fabrics, and I needed to give Chanukah gifts to the niblings... So they got zipper pouches :)

Three handmade zipper pouches in a variety of pretty fabric patterns and colours, zipped shut.

I followed this YouTube "tutorial" - with "tutorial" in quotes, because it's more of a sped-up sewing demonstration rather than an instructional video. I was confident that I'd be able to figure it out, and with a minimum of cursing, a few mishaps of getting things backwards or inside-out, and a few grumbly sessions with the seam ripper, I managed to get it right.

(It seems obvious, but the sewing machine won't sew properly if it isn't threaded properly.)

Three handmade zipper pouches in a variety of pretty fabric patterns and colours, their zippers opened to show the insides.

And hooray, the kids were all thrilled with their bags! Eldest Niece is going to use it to hold her crystal collection, and the twins are both planning to use theirs as pencil cases, though N. added, "I'm going to put my special art supplies in this."

I have quite a bit of fabric and interfacing left over, and a giant bag of zippers in many colours (because it was less expensive to buy 80 zippers than to buy 5 zippers). Perhaps I'll make some more project bags eventually - but for now, I've put away all the sewing stuff.

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Mom's knitting group is doing a skein swap, and I contributed a soft skein of merino singles that I've had in my stash forever. Perhaps we all go through that singles phase, I don't know - but I do know that I didn't really want this yarn anymore, and I'm happy for it to go to a new home. And "hooray," I thought, "that's another 218 yards OUT for the year!" But then I got skein-swapped!

A collection of 20 mini-skeins of yarn in multiple colours, heavy on the blues/greens/purples range, with a few pinks and one soft yellow.

I got twenty hand-dyed mini-skeins, roughly ten yards each. Most of them are on the same base, a two-ply sockweight. What shall I do with them?

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The brioche blanket continues...

A brioche baby blanket in gradient stripes of greens, pinks, blues and purples, next to the two remaining balls of yarn for the project.

I'm just over the halfway point (where the colourways crossed, in the dark blue section). The colours are even more vibrant in person, and I am really enjoying knitting this. It's been a perfect project for knit nights and football games, because it doesn't take much attention. Except for the brief moment where both strands of yarn were the same colour and I had to be more careful about which one was knit and which one was purl, but that was only a few rows :)

As an extra bonus, I'm using the yarn bowl that Dad made for me!

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I know I've mentioned it before, more than once, but I love my Fleeps. I love them. One of the best parts of the weather turning colder is that first time I put on my warm coat and find the Fleeps in my pockets. Buuuuut... they're not warm enough for the depths of winter. So I decided to knit a warmer pair: a double-layered pair of Fleeps, with a separate glove for the inside and a stranded colourwork mitt for the outside. Does that technically make it a triple-layered Fleep?

I started with the inner gloves on US 2 (2.75mm) needles in Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, figuring that I would need them on my hands to take measurements for how big the outer mitts should be. The outers will be knit in the Ultra Alpaca regular not-quite-worsted weight in both dark charcoal gray and teal, which I'm currently swatching on size 6 (4mm) needles in a few different colourwork stitch patterns.

Of course now that I've knit the inner gloves, I'm quite tempted to wear them just as they are and make a second pair to go inside the new Warmer Fleeps. Especially because I have a skein of Ultra Alpaca Light in the same dark gray I'll be using for one of the outer mitt's colours, and I'm not sure these green-y/gray ones coordinate as well as I'd like. Plus maybe they shouldn't have ribbing, if they're going to be inner mitts? Besides, as evidenced in the photo, one skein is just enough to knit one pair of gloves...

And of course, I'm taking careful notes as I knit so that I'll be able to duplicate them over, and over, and over--

Two gloves sit on a wooden table with a tiny ball of leftover yarn between them. The gloves are handknit in a lightweight grayish-green yarn. They have partial fingers for the thumb, index, and middle fingers. The ringfinger and pinkie are fully covered.

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This is just a post to test the ActivityPub plugin. If all goes well, the blog is now federated, and you can follow it if you like at @Pirate@www.knittingpirate.com :)

A mug with lots of different pirate flags on it.

In other news, the brioche blanket is cranking right along, and is now large enough to keep me warm while I work on it. Progress pictures soon!

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A friend announced that she was expecting, and my first thought was that I should knit a blanket - because even though I'd long sworn off any obligation to knit for babies, that was before I had a knitting machine, right? I could crank out a blanket so fast, I told myself. It'll be like nothing, I said. No problem at all, I said. And I ordered a couple of balls of Lion Brand Mandala.

You'll note this is not a picture of a finished blanket, or even of a blanket in progress on the knitting machine...

A brioche knitting project in progress. On one side, it is ribbed in pink with green and blue in the background. On the other, it is green and blue ribs with pink in the background. The balls of yarn, showing the gradient from green to blue to purple to pink, are lined up on the table.

I'd decided on a reversible tucked cable pattern in full needle rib, and I was through the first ball of yarn and into the second, when I noticed that I'd dropped a stitch somehow. Maybe it was related to a static issue, maybe there wasn't enough weight on the tuck stitches, maybe it was gremlins. Either way, it wasn't fixable, so I pulled the work off the machine and re-wound the yarn to begin again.

Meanwhile, I'd finished knitting my mindless stockinette socks and needed something else to work on during football games and knit nights. So here I am, knitting a baby blanket by hand...

The pattern is just a simple two-colour brioche rib. I carefully wound the two balls of yarn to be exact opposites of each other - yes, I know, it looks like there are four balls in that picture, but that's because the put-up was too big for my ball winder to handle and I had to split them. The hardest part of this project making myself take a break from knitting it. I know I should, or my hands will hurt tomorrow... but I wanna see how the colours play out!

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It's been some years since I've gotten to go to a yarn festival. Mom and I were rained out of MD Sheep and Wool this year, and couldn't get up to Rhinebeck in October, but this past weekend we went (along with friends Monica and Jen) to the smaller, less frantically crowded, Maryland Alpaca and Fleece festival.

The night before we went, Mom and I looked through my stash of fingering weight yarn. I had two sets of two yarns that went together, but they didn't go together together. My goal was to find the other two skeins to bring each set up to a sweater quantity... and I had great success!

On the left, I already owned the top two skeins - one of them dates back to 2007, yikes - and supplemented with the minis and the pale green. The second one isn't as much of an outlier as it looks with that yellow; the top one also has pops of gold in it. And on the right, I had the first and third skeins already, and bought the orangey-purple and pale pinks to fill out the set.

I guess I'm finally planning to knit some sweaters, huh :)

Many skeins of fingering weight yarn, split into two sets. Each set is enough to knit a sweater. Both sets fade from darker to lighter. The first set goes from dark greens and blues and a few pops of oranges and yellows here and there, to a pale green. The second set runs from a dark purple to a lighter purple-pink with hints of orange to a lighter pink.

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After I finished the rainbow socks, this skein of Cascade Heritage Paints in the "Thunder" colourway was the next sockweight yarn in my stash that was meant for mindless stockinette during knit nights and football games. It seemed fitting to knit Thunder socks right next to Rainbow socks, so here we are :)

I used Cat Bordhi's Sweet Tomato Heel for these - I love how this heel looks in a contrast colour!

A pair of handknit socks. A blue streak spirals down the gray legs and feet. The cuffs, toes, and heels are a dark navy blue.

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I finished* spinning eight ounces of superwash Targhee in the "Invincible" colourway from Hipstrings, and finally got around to skeining and washing it. ("Finished" meaning there are remnants of singles on several bobbins that, if redistributed and plied, would be a decent mini-skein of yarn. So technically it's not totally finished, but... it's finished.)

I'd been going for a fingering weight yarn that isn't too dense, and... I seem to have succeeded. I came out with over 850 (!!) yards of three-ply yarn, as recorded on my new yarn counter from EEW's kickstarter last year.

Two skeins of fingering weight yarn, with a penny for scale. The yarn is striped in teals and purples.

Given that kind of yardage, suddenly my plan for knitting socks was shifting to a new plan for knitting a sweater. Of course I'd have to spin another eight ounces of fibre, probably in a contrasting colour to make stripes - but whatever, that's fine. I started to swatch. On size 3 needles (3.25mm) I was getting 30 stitches/4 inches and it felt pretty loose, so I put in a row of purls to delineate the needle change and tried again on size 2 needles (2.75mm). Now I'm getting 32 stitches/4 inches, which feels better.

It's really nice to knit with - not coarse, not twisty, not heavy and dense, not biasing - just pretty.

A full-size swatch of handspun yarn, mostly in burgundy. There is a penny on it for scale, to show how small the stitches are. The rest of the yarn ball sits on the desk above the swatch.

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My team at work is planning an offsite event on the other side of the country, which I am anticipating with about the same amount of excitement as an impending root canal. It's in February, which is an ideal time of year to be planning a cross-country flight.

As a consolation prize, I went to the yarn shop and bought a ball of sock yarn. Now I'll have something to look forward to about this trip, instead of just being grouchy about it.

A ball of Lang Super Soxx yarn. It looks like it will stripe into a neon rainbow alternating with black.

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