Knitting Has Occurred

Yes, people, I have been knitting, and what follows is a round-up of my most recent FOs and WiP.

A hat I knitted to match a pair of fingerless mitts I made last fall. The picture captures the color of the yarn pretty closely. Yes, the yarn is my very own handspun, the fiber being Falkland dyed by Dana of Unwind Yarn in the coloway Flirt.

Here’s that hat along side the mitts. The yarn is more reddish than pink. The pattern is Woodside Mitts by Paula McKeever. It’s a lot of fun to knit and is very stretchy.

I started the hat not knowing whether I had enough yarn left to finish it. I just kept knitting until I was out of yarn. I had a little mini-skein set aside for the pompon. Originally I was going to just graft the ends together, but I decided when I was nearly finished to do a few rounds of crown decreases. Unfortunately, I didn’t write down how I did the decreases, but it turned out way better than I was expecting.

Another project knitted from Unwind Yarns fiber, Falkland in the colorway Viola, that I spun. These are the Nalu Mitts, and I made them for one of my nieces. I need to get them in the mail. I came down with the crud shortly after I finished them and am only just now starting to feel human again.

This is closer to the real-life color, but still not quite there. The pattern looks complicated, but it really isn’t. The only tricky part is working the seed stitch on the outside “curve” but in all honesty, even that isn’t particularly tricky. I love this pattern, but since the mitt is mostly stocking stitch, which isn’t very stretchy, it’s best to make these just a little on the snug side so that they don’t droop and bunch up.

Here’s a close-up shot of a strand of the yarn on top of the knitted fabric. This yarn is a 2×2 cabled yarn which, when unknitted, looks like a chain. But when it is knitted up, it looks like the 4-ply yarn it is. The color in this picture is pretty close to the RL color, too. If you can picture something in between this picture and the one above it, you’ve got it.

For those not in the know, a cabled yarn is a yarn that consists of two or more plied yarns that have been plied together. A 2×2 cabled yarn is made by plying 2 singles together to make a 2-ply yarn, then plying two strands of the 2-ply yarn together to make a cabled 4-ply yarn. For this yarn, I spun the singles Z-twist (clockwise), plied them together S-twist (counter-clockwise), then plied the 2-ply together Z-twist (clockwise). This makes a very round yarn that has great stitch definition and is a lot of fun to knit.

I currently have only one project OTN and I plan to stay monogamous until this project is completed because it’s a baby blanket for a baby who has already made her appearance. I was a little late getting this project started, so I would like to get it done as quickly as I can.

The baby blanket, which is being knitted in the round using Knit Picks Bare Stroll Fingering Sock yarn. The turquoise bit is the Rosemarie’s Belly Button Start. (I linked to the URL for the BBS, but I don’t think the link works anymore.)

The pattern is a MMario design called Templeton, and I plan to finished the blanket with a knitted-on edging from a baby blanket pattern called Star Light Star Bright by Anna Dillenberg Rachap. I got the inspiration for combining these two patterns from a fellow Raveler, suespins. I love to peruse the finished projects of patterns I plan to knit.

I have been practicing a left-handed knitting technique commonly referred to as Portuguese-style knitting on the baby blanket, and I have rapidly become very comfortable with this style of knitting. It is especially handy for doing stranded colorwork which is why I wanted to learn to do it. I currently do stranded colorwork two-handed, throwing with my right hand (English/American) and picking with my left (Continental). This works well and is comfortable for me, but I have tension issues because my tensioning when knitting Continental is rubbish. With Portuguese-style knitting, my tension is remarkably even and consistent, and because you can purl rather than knit (and the purl side is the side that faces the knitter), there’s far less chance of having floats that are too tight or too loose. I wish I had known about this technique for colorwork a long time ago.

I’ve been doing some spinning, and even a little experimenting with different drive systems, but I haven’t been keeping very good records. I haven’t even recorded my last couple of projects on Ravelry. Bad spinner. Bad! But I will do my best to reconstruct what I did and I’ll share my finished skeins soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spinzilla 2017 Is Almost Here

I took a little break from spinning to finish up some mitts for the Fingerless Gloves Fanatics 17 Points in 2017 Challenge on Ravelry. This year’s challenge is very much an individual one in that the group came up with a list of things that get points and we decide for ourselves just how we add them up. In previous years, there were limits on how many points you could get in various categories, but that ended up being a lot of work for the volunteer moderators who oversee the challenge. This year the group decided to make the group’s challenge less burdensome on the moderators. The participants decide for themselves how many times they can use any given category and tailor the level of challenge to their own needs and desires.

I decided that I would not use any category more than once, and as of last night, I have accumulated 16 points. Only one more point to go. But the next pair of mitts will have to wait until after Spinzilla.

Sixteen points’ worth. The mitts on the lower right are the most recent pair. I finished them last night before I went to bed.

I have also done some Spinzilla preparation. I have gotten the fiber I plan to spin all prepped, stripped, whatever, and I have written down just how I plan to spin and ply each fiber.

All the fiber is from Sweet Georgia Yarns in Vancouver, BC. I don’t know whether I will be able to spin and ply all of it in one week, but I sure as hell am going to try.

 

And in case you were wondering whether I have been able to keep my Introvert Room tidy, you can judge for yourselves.

I think my desk is still pretty tidy.

The “trash” corner is looking good!

On the right side of the top of the piano are the bags of fiber I plan to spin during Spinzilla.

My reading corner is still looking neat. Notice there are no empty Pepsi bottles anywhere. LOL

The book shelves are still relatively neat. I have two bobbins of plied yarn on one of the shelves that need to be wound off before Spinzilla begins.

It’s even still tidy behind the door!

Mitts And More Mitts (And An Ear Warmer, Too)

I have been trying to knit up some of my handspun. I have accumulated a lot of it since I started spinning five years ago, and with another Tour de Fleece under my belt, and my second Spinzilla looming, the handspun is really piling up. But lo and behold! I have made a tiny dent in the stash. None of these items has been washed yet; heck, not all the ends have been woven in yet. But the knitting is finished, so I count these as FOs that qualify for the Happy Dance.

When I finished these mitts, I still had a fair amount of yarn left, so I knitted a matching ear warmer. The stitch pattern was borrowed from Claire Devine’s Everyday Brew Hat. The yarn is my handspun from 2012. It’s some of my earliest wheel-spun yarn using Corriedale pin-drafted roving from Sunset Fibers. It was the October 2012 selection from the Fiber-of-the-Month Club.

As you can see, these mitts weren’t quite finished when I photographed them. One of them still needed a thumb. They are completely finished now, but I’m too lazy to take another picture. I call these the Pittsburgh Skyline mitts, so named because the colors remind me of the colors you can see in the Pittsburgh skyline as viewed from PNC Park as day changes to night. The handspun is Falkland from Into The Whirled in the color way 24-1/2th Century. The pattern is just a 1 x 1 ribbing using my standard worsted-weight yarn mitts template.

I started with a tubular cast on, which works very well for 1 x 1 ribbing. I think it looks fantastic, and it is very stretchy.

This is the bound-off edge. I’m not very good at doing a tubular bind off because for some reason, I always get the edge too tight. But a search of YouTube turned up an invisible 1 x 1 bind off that looks just like the tubular bind off but without the double knitted part. It’s easy to do, and I can do it without making the edge too tight.

At the moment, I have yet another pair of mitts OTN, also in handspun, but this time the yarn is fingering weight and the pattern is a wee bit fancy. But you will have to wait a few days before you get to see them. 🙂

Mitts Are My Master

There was a time when I looked at pictures of fingerless mitts and… Meh! Really, why would anyone except maybe toll collectors wear fingerless mitts? thought I. Then smartphones. That was my A-ha! moment. I knitted my first pair of fingerless mitts for my DIL, and I haven’t stopped. Really, they are as addicting as socks, maybe even more addicting because they take so little time and yarn to knit. They are a great way to use up leftover yarn and can be knitted in any weight yarn. Fingerless mitts are the best thing ever.

And fingerless mitts are far more useful than I ever dreamed. I have always hated driving in gloves, so in the winter, my hands would be cold on the steering wheel. But now I’m nice and cosy when driving in cold weather because fingerless mitts! I can keep my mitts on in the store and handle money with no problems. I can read and send texts and answer or make phone calls without having to take off my mitts like I would have to do with gloves. I can carry shopping bags more securely with fingerless mitts on than with gloves on. And when it is super cold outside, I can slip a pair of fingerless mitts over a pair of gloves for extra warmth. Fingerless mitts are great!

I am always on the look-out for fingerless mitt patterns that appeal to me, and I recently found a free pattern from the Cascade Yarn Company. The Alhambra Hand Warmers really struck my eye. I thought the cable pattern was interesting, and that the pattern would look great worked up in worsted weight yarn. And I had some leftover lovely purple-blue worsted weight wool in my stash that I thought would show off this pattern perfectly.

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Because I worked the cables with a cable needle instead of using the method in the directions, and because I wasn’t paying close attention, I crossed my cables the wrong way, to the right instead of to the left.

But I thought the mitts as pictured on the pattern instructions left a lot to be desired.

The color of the yarn used doesn’t show off the cables very well.

Version 2

I don’t think this color would sing to anybody.

And the stocking stitch palm means the mitts will not fit a wide range of hands. On the model, the mitts look ill-fitting and sloppy.

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The mitts droop around the wrists when the wrists are flexed. Ugh!

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Really, just looking at these pictures might turn anyone away from making these mitts. The yarn they are knitted from is acrylic held double, the they just don’t look very good. And both mitts look like they have biased, but perhaps the model just didn’t bother to make certain they were on straight before the mitts were photographed.

So I decided to do some modifications to the pattern to produce a better fitting mitt.

Version 2

My main modification was to knit the palm in 2 x 2 ribbing. Now the wrists won’t be all droopy and the mitts will fit a wider range of hand sizes.

Version 2

I knitted an extra repeat of the cable pattern and did the thumb gusset increases every third round instead of every other round so that the mitts would fit my hand better. Otherwise, they would not have been long enough for me. Ignore my thumb. It looks worse than it is.

My modifications are detailed in the notes on my Ravelry project page, which you can view by clicking here.

The yarn I used is Brown Sheep Nature Spun worsted weight wool, my favorite basic wool yarn, in Sapphire that I had left over from another project, and I was pretty sure I had enough to knit these mitts. I don’t normally play yarn chicken, but I decided to give it a whirl and, YAY! I won!

Nearly completed. The yarn that is left is on the left. The mitt on the far right still needs the thumb. There will be just enough yarn to do the thumb and probably a yard or two leftover. Perfect!

The little ball of yarn that is on the left is all that remains. It should be plenty to finish the thumb on the right-hand mitt, which is on the far right of the picture. I was cutting it close.

These mitts were a lot of fun to knit, the pattern is pretty well written, and I found only one mistake. It is written for one size only, but the knitter could easily adjust the size by using larger or smaller needles or a different weight of yarn. The directions for the cables are written only, no charts, so if you prefer to work from charts, you would have to make your own. This is a free pattern, so I’m not complaining about these “deficiencies,” just making sure that anyone who is interested in the patterns knows that there are no charts and only one size.

As an aside, I really hate it when knitters complain when a free pattern doesn’t have multiple sizes, or doesn’t have both charts and written out directions, or contains a few minor mistakes. They are usually the same knitters who bitch about having to pay for a pattern. If you want all the bells and whistles, you are going to have to pay for it. Tech editors and test knitters don’t work for free, nor should they. End of rant. End of post.

This Is What Happens…

Okay, so I want to knit something spectacular, maybe a big lace shawl or a fancy sweater. But I just can’t figure out which pattern, what yarn. So instead, I have a zillion small projects OTN.

I am knitting this Skyp Rib Hat based on the Skyp Rib Socks pattern to match a pair of mitts I knitted as part of my participation in the 16-Point Club in the Ravelry group Fingerless Glove Fanatics.

These are the Skyp Rib Mitts which I knitted for the 16-Point Club. I converted the Skyp Rib Socks pattern into a pattern for fingerless mitts. They yarn is an Opal handpainted sock yarn (color #17, Multi), and it probably wasn’t the best choice for the pattern, but the pattern was a good choice for the yarn. Capisce?

More fingerless mitts, these doing double duty for both the FGF 16-Point Club and the April 2016 MKAL (Mystery Knit-A-Long). This is clue #1 of the pattern, which is called Shadowplay. It’s corrugated ribbing, not my favorite thing to knit, but it looks great. I’m using complementary colors, which is one of the challenged of the 16-Point Club. The yarn is some Sisu sock yarn I had in my stash. It’s a nice, soft yarn, but it is splitty, so I don’t recommend it.

Yes, another pair of fingerless mitts, and yes, these are part of the 16-Poin Club. The stitch pattern is a waffle stitch, and I designed the mitts myself. I call them the Orange You Glad Waffle Mitts because they are mitts in a waffle pattern knitted in stash yarn, a ball of Brown Sheep Naturespun Worsted in the color Orange You Glad. Clever, aren’t I?

This is what happens when I cannot decided what to knit next. ::SIGH::

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy Cow!

I cannot believe how long it has been since I wrote a blog post. How did I let that happen? It isn’t as though I haven’t been doing some knitting, albeit really boring knitting, or spinning–lots and lots of spinning. So, here’s a quick catch-up.

The kitchen remodel still isn’t done. It was a year ago February 12th, I think, that we signed a contract to have our kitchen remodeled. The job was supposed to be started right away and finished in 3 to 4 weeks. After more than a year, we finally terminated the contract and are now in the process of getting bids to get the work finished. All that’s left to do is the tile backsplash and some trim work. After some back and forth wrangling with the contractor from Hell, we finally gained possession of the tile and got him out of our lives forever. I’m hopeful we can have the rest of the work finished before the end of April, and then we can move on to other parts of the house.

My knitting mojo has been in the doldrums. I’ve finished some fingerless mitts and a scarf knitted out of handspun. I have a custom-order scarf nearly finished, too late for the recipient to wear this winter (it will be Spring in a couple of days), but in plenty of time for next winter. And I have a pair of plain vanilla socks OTN. I need to start an interesting knitting project, but I just can’t decided on anything.

Spinning is a different story. I’ve been spinning up a storm. I currently have 8 ounces of handspun 2-ply yarn resting on bobbins, ready to be wound off on the niddy noddy, two bobbins of singles resting and waiting to be plied, and another bobbin of singles-in-progress. And I have at least eight other skeins of handspun completed so far this year.

I am going to try to keep up with my blog starting now, but I’m not going to promise because I once was told that one should not make promises one might not be able to keep. 🙂

Here are pictures of a few of the finished items linked to the appropriate Ravelry project page, in case you are interested in the details.

Shades of Green Handspun Scarf while still in progress. I haven’t take a picture of the finished scarf yet.

Woo-Hoo! FO Friday!

I actually have some knitting FOs to share today. All are knitted from my very own handspun. Here are pictures and descriptions.

Two hats knitted from the Andraste color way from Into The Whirled.

Two hats knitted from the Andraste color way from Into The Whirled.

On the left is the Andraste Turns A Square hat, which is Jared Flood’s Turn a Square pattern, a simple but fun beanie that I enjoy knitting. The pattern is written for using two colors of yarn, but it works really well with self-striping yarn, and you don’t end up with color jogs.

On the right is my A Head for Andraste hat, which is the Barley Hat from Tin Can Knits. It was a lot of fun to knit. I understand why it is such a popular pattern.

The hat and mitts below were knitted from yarn I spun using Bee Mice Elf fiber in the Fall 2014 Club colorway, which I call Rustle.

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Rustling Leaves Slouchy Hat and Braided Cable Mitts were made to go together.

I didn’t use a pattern for the hat, and the pattern for the mitts is one of my own devising.

I had a lot of the “Rustle” yarn, about 8 ounces total, so I made this set of matching mitts and hat, too.

The mitts are the Braided Mitts by Tara Johnson (free download on Ravelry) which I modified for a better look and fit. I then “designed” the hat myself using the same cable as in the Braided Mitts pattern.

There are also two pairs of mitts knitted from Andraste, but I’m not quite ready to share those with you yet.

I have gotten a lot of pleasure out of Andraste and “Rustle.” First, I spun them up into beautiful yarn, then I knitted that yarn into lovely and useful articles of clothing. What comes next is the pleasure of wearing and/or gifting these handspun handknits.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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