Monday, February 18
Mittens, mittens, if only I liked mittens
But I guess I like to knit mittens. I made a couple pairs one summer from A Year of Mittens. I used worsted weight to make the Scandinavian-style patterns in color work that reflected a month’s theme.
I made the November mittens with a picture of a turkey and the September mittens, my birthday month, that maybe is an aster. These were warm but floppy and suffocated my fingers. I think DD#3 might have both pairs or maybe they are in the hall closet.
I also made some children’s mittens partially to try to knit them top down, following the idea of toe up socks (this style makes a really nice thumb if the thumb is knit top down and then affixed to the palm), which made nice Christmas bazaar fodder. Then I made a cute little pair out of Shetland wool, using a pattern from a vintage, legacy book, Nomis #5, Scandinavian Snow Sets. I almost left the booklet on a plane. I don’t remember what I did with these mittens. I meant to give them to a precious little girl of a long-time friend who became a first-time mother at a more advanced age, but I think I donated them to a different year’s Christmas bazaar. Jamison’s Shetland wool is very cozy but scratchy.
Then, to answer the call of Afghans for Afghans, I made a pair of mittens out of left-over Noro. Woolly wool, slightly undersized needles. There was a slight imperfection in the color sequence, as usual with Noro, so I didn’t send the mittens for the campaign. I sent a small pile of hats. I wore the mittens on a walk along the windy lakefront and they were no protection against the weather so these would not be any good in Afghanistan either any way.
I was bit by the mitten bug again over Christmas break. Looking through one of my holiday Interweave magazines, I found a set of patterns: Baker Street Mittens, Epeiric Mittens, Paprika Mittens that come with a hat, Slanted Peerie Mittens. I went with the Slanted Peerie Mittens because of the holiday influence. The dab of red is duplicate stitch and I’m thinking of using gold instead. I made the mittens in Dale of Norway Baby Ull and was mortally disappointed that despite the stranded knitting, again these mittens were not warm. Alas.
Turns out the only way to make mittens live up to their potential is to knit 4 mittens. Lene in Finland talks about knitting liners for hats and mittens and I always thought that’s a lot of knitting. Elizabeth Zimmermann suggests knitting liners for mittens and makes it sound so simple. Nicole from the Wednesday noon knitting group made a beautiful pair of stranded knitting mittens and lined them with cushy Kid Silk. So I made EZ’s 36-stitch mittens out of another woolly wool from Plimouth Plantation (sic), regifted by my dear friend, blog-free April who starts to itch just looking at wool. I lined them with Frog Tree merino and finally achieved protection from the cold and wind.
Tuesday, October 23
Knitting clutter in the autumn
To those who are so unfortunate as not to knit, knitting clutter might look like this
coffee table holding yarn, needles, scissors.
futon holding knitting book, measuring tape, finished projects.
Knitting objects on every flat surface not already being used as a seat. Oh wait, this is a seat though no one with two legs sits here because DH thinks there should not be a TV in the bedroom.
Loveseat in the bedroom holding yarn, project bag and throw pillow.
No, knitting clutter for me is unfinished projects. Filling up the drawer, taking up bags, piling up in my mind while I wish to begin a Significant Project.
I've made a start on the list
Baby Sweater for the future
afghans for Afghans 2009
Pulling a UFO out of the pile can be very rewarding. The project is already done to a certain point. Hopefully picking up the afghan, or the afghan, or the wrap or the Christmas stocking or the other afghan, I can feel the excitement of the start, though in the middle, instead of the boredom of the middle at the new start. What will be next?
Mystery afghan (Mission Falls, Loopy Yarns, 2009)
Liberty Afghan (Cascade 220, Loopy Yarns, MDK2 book signing in Chicago)
Corner 2 corner (Plymouth baby alpaca, gift from dear friend)
Kate Gilbert Christmas Stocking (Cascade 220, Nana's Knits workshop)
Mitered Cross (Brown Sheep Lanaloft, Brown Sheep Nature's Spun, and Cascade 220 bit and bobs)
Thursday, March 29
A second sock in progress, a sweater on the needles, a unique design that caught my eye but failed to grab my imagination.
Not just projects taking up space on the table or hanging out in the bathroom. I have projects that are tucked away in dresser drawers, bags in the closet, the basket in the hallway. And then there are the projects I haven't started yet but think about as I drift off to sleep.
I started a new shawl with yarn I bought in 2006. Here is the yarn as I blogged back then
I was shocked that people could knit with thread.
And here is when I thought the yarn would become Icarus:
Phew - that was a project over my head. I had a lot to learn about stitch markers.
Now I want to make the yarn into Bridgewater.
I thought I would spend a little time at night knitting a row or two, just like reading a chapter before turning out the light. But it became compelling. Knit on the diagonal, the first half of the middle square is an increase at the beginning of each row. I zipped to 75 stitches and then had to concentrate on increasing on up to 204 stitches. Golf season has helped.
Now I am in the decrease half and it seems to be taking forever to decrease the last 95 stitches. This has given me some time to think about the project. I took advise from my knitting group, KKP. We all agreed I don't have enough yarn for 5 repeats of the horseshoe lace trim over 450+ stitches and then the perpendicular final trim over 450+ rows. I bought some more on Ravelry.
It's hermetically sealed merino laceweight!
So my stashbusting project has grown my clutter but cleared my mind. Nowhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif I dream of blocking a finished shawl and feeling it around my neck.
P.S. This is not clutter but a work of art by blueroompottery on etsy.com. I got my Christmas present from DD#1 on St. Patrick's Day.
Saturday, March 10
So once again, surprised by the nonimpressionable, I cast-on for a special request.
Started and finished during our visit in Pittsburgh so this is DD#2's stove.
Started in Pittsburgh, knitted across PA, OH, and IN but finished in Chicago.
After about 9 washes:
Picture taken on our home stove but I would bet all grates are very similar in size. This potholder shrunk a little width but not much in length.
This one didn't shrink so much as condense into a nice square. Once it hit it's critical point of felting, the knitting felted to a very dense potholder.
Universal Yarn, bought on our visit at Natural Stitches, a LYS I accidentally found when we took DD#2 shopping for a broom. Size 10 needle, double-stranded. I've read that felting projects should be made on even larger needles so there is space across the stitches for the yarn to agitate against itself at the structure level so if I make more potholders, I'll move up.
Natural Stitches has a really nice, wide range of wool but I went for the $6, made in Turkey stuff. I wonder if a more expensive yarn (Cascade 220, Brown Sheep) would have felted more easily. That seems counter intuitive. Pay a lot for yarn that turns out to have little tolerance for washing mistakes; spend less on yarn and have to keep beating it up to felt. Perpetuates the good fortune of the uninitiated.
As I am duty bound to contribute to the economic health of every LYS I visit, I also bought Addi Lace needles in size 4 and 6. Though I don't seem to have won the monthly drawing, boo.
I felt my projects in a load with regular laundry. Some loads might allow more churning than others; I haven't examined this detail, since there is always laundry to be done and my projects don't usually have a firm deadline. DD#2 has her current supply of dish towels to protect her hands from the hot pans until I get these in the mail.
Sunday, January 8
A new knitting target
So imagine my surprise when he suggested he needed a scarf. He is still deeply resentful of the Christmas stocking I made him a couple years ago (how else can a knitting wife shower such a dear one with love?). I have a feeling he was put-out by the knitting I was knocking back for the church sale - or again, just go with it. This is what I made:
Mission Falls 1824 (washable), sadly discontinued by a yarn company out of business, bought at a now-shuttered LYS (an additional irony is that he accompanied me to the sidewalk sale where I bought this yarn; I'm sure the 60% discount appealed to him). Knit lengthwise over 200 stitches, long enough for him but not the requisite length for the au couture loop at the neck. Maybe one color too wide.
He has already worn the scarf during the cold snap that hit Chicago last week. It's safely in the closet until the temperature drops to 20 degrees again.
One of my rules is strike while the iron's hot so today I suggested he might like some handknit socks. Apparently they would be too thick for his shoes. I'll try again later.
Saturday, December 31
The Blooming Stole
Ingenious! I have discovered I am not kept interested in rectangular shawls for the duration. It's just the same thing over and over again; getting to 60" takes the stamina of a marathon runner. This shawl, however, has an interesting middle - call it a medallion - that is knit in the round, increasing alternate rows. You start with one stitch and finish with 72 stitches in each of the four sections. Then you work the side panels. The side panels could be tedious but I reflect back to making sleeves. Just when you can't take it any longer, you are done and then you only have one more piece to complete the project. We will see.
Fleur de lis and caernog pin cushions
I don't need a pin cushion and I can think of only one other person who might be interested in a pin cushion but when does a gift have to fill a need? Pretty! Little! Colorwork! These would be lady-like gifts that get finished while we are still having fun. I even have some roving to use as stuffing.
Fruit basket hats
When we went through the great baby boom of 2011, we talked about these hats a lot in our Wed knitting group but I didn't have a pattern in any of my baby knitting books. It was a secret pattern available on a need-to-know basis. But turns out I have the pattern! And I think the fruit depends on the color of the yarn so I don't feel restricted to watermelon or strawberry (I think the pineapple hat is just taking advantage of the baby not having any muscle control, i.e., can't take the hat off).
Another wonder of our Wed knitting group but I'm too lazy to get that book from the library (the Wed knitters know which book). I can make posies -
I can't call this a queue or a resolution because that implies chores and commitment but I hope to take a stab at these projects this year. Maybe my resolution should be to figure out how to borrow pictures from other websites.
Thursday, December 29
The forgotten ornament
The Snowman from Mini Christmas Knits by Sue Stratford:
Baby Ull, assorted sock yarn with some Jamieson Jumper weight for eyes and buttons. Size 4 dpn.
What an annoying tedious knit but the product is so gosh-darned cute! I might be able to manage one each year. The tip I got from Elizabeth, when I did a show-n-tell at Knot Just Knits where I bought the book, was to use a hacky sack or bean bag for stuffing the bottom which adds the necessary ballast to keep the snowman from tilting. If it didn't mean more sewing-up, I would open up this guy and fix that problem pronto! One modification I made to the pattern was to knit the two balls as linked balls (a la the ornament: co, increase, knit, decrease; increase, knit, decrease; co) instead of knitting the body flat which would require even more assembly. I used a running stitch in the same yarn to secure the hat and scarf.
Santa and the reindeer now live on the bookshelf.
Edited to add: I have also discovered the welcome mat decorated with presents outside the front door and the solar Christmas lights on the deck to be put away. !!