Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Old Mittens

Fox and Geese mittens
I knit these mittens in about 1988.  I'd ordered Robin Hansen's book,  Fox and Geese and Fences: A Collection of Traditional Maine Mittens.  This was before the internet was part of my knitting world.  I think I ordered the book from Patternworks, over the phone.  The OLD Patternworks.  The pink yarn came from a baby sweater knit for a friend's baby.   The baby is grown, married, a teacher.  The teal yarn is from the gansey-ish sweater I started knitting for my husband when we were engaged, and I finished the first year we were married.  The magenta yarn is some Maratona yarn from the first really good sweater I knit myself.  From Vogue Knitting, Fall/Winter 1987.

These are old mittens.  Meant as a kind of test run.  I've always meant to knit another pair.
Fox and Geese mittens
In the meantime, the palms have felted (to a better shape, and even warmer).  And over all these years, I've worn these mittens to push snow off the driveway, to ski across the golf course, to sled with my kids, to walk the dog.  I've knit other mittens, prettier mittens.  But these mittens are the ones I wear when I want warm hands.  When I don't want to worry about taking care of my mittens.

Along the way, I lost my book, got in touch with the author, and replaced my copy.  I knit baby mittens for my kids from this book.  And knit teenage snowball fight mittens.  And finally, I've knit myself another pair.
Fox and Geese mittens
And the day I finished them, my daughter came home for a brief visit (on a business trip, she was).
Fox and Geese mittens
And she claimed the mittens.  Swore she needed them more than I do (probably true).  And, they're gone.

This second pair was knit, once again, with leftovers.  Some Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride of ancient vintage, in cream.  Some sport-knit yarn from Imperial Yarn (Tracie Too) held double, which is really too heavy.  And that gray-blue strand is Scrumptious Aran, from a cowl I knit my sister.  It's not quite heavy enough.  I think I used US 4 needles (that means they're knit tightly). 

These are the Fox and Geese Mittens (also in Favorite Mittens).
The next time I knit these mittens, I think I'll try a new cast on.  They are cast on with the Maine method, as described in the book.  I can't seem to make this edge NOT roll.  So next time, a new edge.  But I'll be knitting some old mittens.  These.  (On Ravelry.)

Sunday, February 14, 2016

How to Love a Knitter

Well, there are probably as many ways to love a knitter as there are knitters, but there is one thing that is always a good idea:
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Wear what they made for you.
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Wear it right away.
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Maybe even more than once in the same week.

And if your mom made it for you, send pictures.
 


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Endearment

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I'm not sure I have enough terms of endearment for this sweater -- I LOVE it.  I love the beautiful design and well written pattern by Hanna Maciejewska.   I'm smitten by the yarn, Bello by The Plucky Knitter.  I'm fascinated by the double-knit cuffs and hem.  It's a good thing I love the young woman I knit it for, or it would be in my sweater drawer right now.

This sweater is knit top-down.  Since the hem and cuffs (and neck edge) are double knit, the only finishing was to weave in ends and sew on buttons.  Since the yarn is so soft and fine (and because it's not a bad idea anyway), I decided to sew ribbons to the front bands.
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Some time ago I bought some of these beautiful ribbons from Anna Maria Horner's website.  Funny thing -- I usually only buy yarn with a project in mind.  But these ribbons -- I saw them, and I had to have them.  I was thinking, in a general way, about sweater finishing, but mostly, I was just buying something beautiful -- in two yard lengths.  They're much nicer than any ribbon I've bought before -- lightweight and silky (made of polyester).
I'd kind of forgotten about this ribbon stash, and I bought some blue grosgrain ribbon at the fabric store when I bought the buttons for the sweater.  But when I got it home, it just didn't seem right, and by then, I HAD remembered these ribbons.
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I chose the narrowest one I had, which didn't actually match, but felt to me like it suited this sweater.
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I sewed the ribbon in by hand, reversing it for the second band.  Then sewed the buttons through both the sweater and the ribbon.  I decided not to sew buttonholes in the ribbon, but just sewed the ribbon beside the buttonholes, so both front bands are reinforced and won't stretch out of shape.
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Endearment

  • by Hanna Maciejewska
  • 4 skeins Plucky Knitter Bello.  fingering weight, 55% merino wool, 45% cashmere, 380 yards/skein, color Betrothed
  • US size 3 needles, size 2 for the bands
  • Anna Maria Horner Ribbon
  • LaMode buttons, style 3966
  • On Ravelry here
  • for my daughter
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Sunday, January 24, 2016

2015 Weather scarf

 It's been done for some time, but finding time to photograph it in daylight has been hard.  It's my version of Bex's 2015 Weather Scarf.  The (then) 9 year old who thought up the idea for this scarf is adorable -- you should go here and read the story.  And if you like this idea, please consider buying the pattern on Ravelry -- it's for a great cause, and it's a great idea. 

Bex's scarf was designed for Seattle's milder climates.  Here on the eastern side of the state, we get higher highs, and lower lows.  So I did adjust the temperature/color ranges for that. 
I've knit one row for each day of 2015.  The colors are coded to that day's high temperature. 

My color/temperature ranges were:

  • below 35 (degrees Fahrenheit):  Gumshoe (darkest gray)
  • 36-43, Jack of all Trades (another gray)
  • 44-51 Magnet & Steel (yet another)
  • 52-60 Dove Cote (lovely bluey gray and my favorite color on the scarf)
  • 61-69 Thank You Note (turquoise)
  • 70-77 Silver lining (the almost white)
  • 78-85 Registry (silvery gray)
  • 86-94 Bubbly (pink)
  • 95 and above Bellini (orange)

 As you can see, the grays were TOO similar. 
 And we had a VERY hot summer.  I really intended the orange to add just a little spice.  But instead. . . more orange than pink.
 Here are the yarn portraits from The Plucky Knitter.  In hindsight, I maybe should have realized the grays would be too alike, but they still look more different in these pictures than in my scarf.  I ordered these two gradient groupings of their Primo Sport yarn - a blend of 75% (fine Italian superwash) merino wool, 20% cashmere, and 5% nylon.  It's lovely stuff, and I've enjoyed wearing it around my neck. 

Plucky yarn is quite an experience.  If you want it, you really need to be on their mailing list, and then when they announce that yarn will be available, set an alarm to go online to order yarn.  It's almost a cult-ish feel, but between great yarn bases and amazing colors, I can see why it's such popular stuff. 

Geeky stats -- the highest temperature in Kennewick this year was 108 on July 31 -- there were 11 days in July when the temperature was in the triple digits.  The lowest high was on November 28, when it warmed all the way up to 23 degrees. 

This was a fun project - often I knit just one row in for the previous day's temperature before going on to work on anther project.  It made me pay closer attention to my area's weather. 

It would be a good "souvenir" to make of a special year or for a special place. 

I have quite a lot of each of these yarns left.  What else can I make with them?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Make a Wish



It's finished -- Make a Wish, designed by Joji Locatelli.  I used the Sundara yarn called for in the pattern.  When I ordered it, there were two additional colors offered for this pattern, which aren't on the web site anymore.  I chose this beautiful light gray/blue called Glacier.  It has a different impact than the intense fuschia of the original, but I think it works just as well.  In fact, for me it works better - I love fuschia, but I will find this color a lot easier to wear.

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This sweater is a lot of knitting.  It's also a pleasure.  First you knit around the "flounce".  For my size, I should have knit 16 repeats of the flounce lace chart -- but after 15 repeats, the length of my piece was already "too long".  Looking at other people's sweaters, and "talking" to them on Ravelry, I decided not to tear out the work I did.  I think that was a good decision.  I did change to a smaller needle for the back and sleeves.

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I also made the sleeves shorter, because that's how long my arms are.

The yarn is fine and soft and smells like silk.  I think it will be cozy enough but a good three-season sweater, comfortable indoors and under a coat.

Details

  • Make a Wish by Joji Locatelli
  • 3 skeins (with maybe a third of a skein leftover) Sundara fingering silky merino, 50% silk, 50% merino wool, color Glacier.  500 yards/150 grams
  • US 5, 4, and 2 needles
  • size 38/40 
  • On Ravelry here.


Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Christmas and Easter

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It's finished -- Dilys, this time made for my mom.

When my mother saw the Dilys sweater I made for my daugher (here) she said "I'd like a sweater like that!"

And I didn't ignore her "hint".

It was her Christmas gift this year, and at last, on Easter, it was finished and I gave it to her.

It wasn't a surprise -- we'd talked about it, I'd let her know it wasn't a quick knit, and I'd taken measurements and talked yarn and colors a bit.  But still, it took longer to finish than even I'd expected.

But now it's done, and I'm happy with it.  
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A close-up of the back of the yoke.
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With grandkids (some of them).
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The pretty much perfect buttons.

The only thing I didn't get was a picture of my daughter and  my mom wearing their sweaters together -- that'll have to happen on the next holiday!

Dilys

  • designed by Marie Wallin
  • Knit in Rowan Tweed (as designed) but in a different color palette.  The main color (light gray) is Buckden, the charcoal gray is Malham, the black is called Pendle, and the blue is Nidd.  
  • Size L with some alterations
  • US size 6 needles for the body -- size 3 for the bands
  • Rowan buttons RW5021 ordered from Jannette's Rare Yarns
  • On Ravelry here

Changes, things I'd do differently, etc:  

I knit from the underarms in the round, steeking the front.  If I had to do it again (kind of hope I won't - I love this sweater but it is a lot of work) I would join all in one piece at that point, but knit back and forth, OR I'd change the color pattern at the yoke so there were only two colors per round.  There's a lot of thickness to the steeked edge.  I tried a crocheted edging to the steek, but wasn't happy with that - so I machine sewed and trimmed the steek.  Then I covered the raw edge with some organic cotton grosgrain ribbon (cotton because that's what I had and the color was good).  I left the steeked edge UNDER the button band instead of turned back, because everything seemed to lay better that way.  That's unconventional (some might say wrong).  Having the button band backed by ribbon meant I had a good surface to sew the buttons onto, but also meant I had to cut and sew buttonholes into the ribbon.

I used a tubular cast on and a sewn (tubular) bind off.  I'm not sure of what I think of this with the seed stitch borders.

There is less contrast between the charcoal and black than I would wish (or expected).  But the original sweater also had a rather subtle color palette.  Maybe it's all in the vocabulary (low contrast vs. subtle)?  I washed and blocked the sweater before seaming -- something I'll admit I usually don't do.  It made the sewing up nicer, but I still had to lightly steam the side seams when I was done.  Rowan recommends this, I usually ignore the suggestion, but it was fun to see the yoke all laid out in a circle.
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I love that my mom and my daughter both love the same sweater -- and look beautiful (because they are) in it.  Merry Christmas and Happy Easter, Mom!


Saturday, January 31, 2015

What the Hawk Knits



When I saw this yarn on Yarn Folk's facebook page, this song came to mind (I think this home-grown video version is really cute).  I couldn't resist.  I called Ann and in two days, the yarn was in my mailbox.

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It's Oink Pigments' Slime Time Worsted, and currently out of stock both on their site, and according to my friend Bev, at Yarn Folk as well.

My friend Kym at Stepping Away from the Edge recently made several iterations of Barley.  It looked like a great little hat.  My son had mentioned (in a hinting sort of way) that he'd misplaced his favorite hat* -- I had this great yarn -- the Seahawks were playing well -- it seemed meant to be.

So I took a little time away from my mom's Christmas gift (I'm back at it, Mom) to knit three of these.
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This one went to Sam in Baltimore.

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It was knit to have more slouch (adding an inch before decreases start for the crown).  I knit another, which I didn't photograph, exactly as written.  It went to my mom, as a peace offering for STILL waiting (and to keep her warm on her morning walks).  The last, knit one inch less than the pattern calls for (before decreasing for the crown) for my husband, who wanted a more traditional watch cap/beanie hat.

This is my husband's hat, and shows the garter stitch panel which isn't visible in the other pictures. 

Barley Hat
  • Oink Pigments worsted, 100% superwash wool, Slime Time color. 
  • 2 skeins made 3 hats with a bit left over.
  • I used size 6 (US) needles to get the gauge the pattern suggests for size 8 needles.  Size 4 for the ribbing.
  • I experimented with tubular cast on for two of the hats, but in the end I think I like long-tail cast on (the one my grandma taught me) best for this kind of hat.
If you're one of the people who reads my blog and thinks "I should learn to knit" or "I should start knitting again," this is a good pattern to start with.  There are tutorials for the techniques, and when you're done, you've got a hat.  

Go Hawks!

*In general, the knitting mother does not like to hear about missing hats (or gloves, or sweaters, or ...).  But this hat had been worn for some years.  Nothing lasts forever.  Who hasn't lost a favorite hat or pair of gloves before?  Also, it's fun to think of that Seahawk hat on the other coast.