Monday, January 29, 2007

Christmas ain't over. . .


. . . till the last mitten's knit.

Well, Christmas is over.

May I present: Anemoi mittens, for my mom.
Designed by Eunny Jang
Made with Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk, ecru and mocha. I bought two skeins of ecru and one of mocha, but used only one skein of each. Bought from KPixie, home of great service and $5 shipping.
I knit the small size on size 0 (2mm) and 1 (2.25mm) US bamboo needles. They turned out bigger than I expected. As it turns out, my gauge was somewhere between the gauge for small and medium. If I knit another pair for myself, I'll make them completely on the size 0 needles. My mom's hands are a bit bigger than mine, I think, so maybe they'll turn out to be "just right."

I love this yarn, but I recommend it hesitantly for this project. It is so soft and warm, and so beautiful. But it really doesn't quite have the body for mittens. I'm curious to see how they'll wear. These are luxury fibers, but they aren't wimpy ones, so we'll see. Still, I'd make another pair.

Milestones: This is the first time I've ever knit corrugated ribbing.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Happy Birthday to me! (and you too. . .)

I meant to blog sooner, with pictures of the completed Anemoi mittens. Unfortunately, I spent time last week being sick instead of knitting. So, those pictures will come in a few days. . . when the mittens are finally finished.

In the meantime, I celebrated my birthday, again. It was actually last week, but last night was the party I share with my sister, M. Our birthdays are a week apart (51 weeks, to be completely accurate), and so I've never had a birthday without her, really. We're the same age for a week every year. As adults, we've taken to celebrating our birthdays together, with the rest of the adult part of our family, eating out. This is pretty much my favorite part of my birthday.
This year we dined at Fiesta Restaurant.


My mom, a new knitter, arrived with a bag full of scarves.

One of my gifts (they were all nice ones) was this painting. It's by my cousin-in-law, Jenny, so it's extra special -- not only do I like it, but I like the artist. Other gifts included some spending money for yarn, and a gift certificate from KPixie.com, which you'll hear more about later, I'm sure.

This is part of why I feel grateful to be another year older.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Mittenville

Yesterday I lived at least partly in Mittenville.
These mittens were knit for my son from Foxes, Geese, and Fences by Robin Hansen. I made them for him because I loved mine so much. These are made of Dale Heilo, leftover yarn from a sweater he's long since outgrown. Unfortunately, he's hardly worn these mittens. They are "too big and floppy." So yesterday, I got brave and threw these in with the laundry. A load in warm water and gentle agitation did nothing. But the hot water load with the towels produced this:
Not only are they just about the right size (OK, given my 'druthers, I'd have stopped just short of where we ended up), but the fabric is firm, flexible, and warmer than ever. I'm optimistic they'll actually be worn now. Shakespeare in the Snow is coming up - a retreat for his English Lit class that seems to be a bit about Macbeth and much about sledding and such.

They are knit as opposites. I like how this looks, and it also evens out the amount of yarn used between the two colors (green and white). And yes, the cuffs curl unattractively at the edge. This pattern recommends a special cast-on, which perhaps I don't do correctly, or maybe isn't quite the right thing, after all. In any case, we can all hope I do something different next time I make these otherwise excellent mittens.

I'm also enjoying the Anemoi Mittens I'm knitting for my mom (for Christmas, see earlier posts). The pattern is entrancing, and the yarn is a pleasure. The back of the hand requires some chart watching, but it's fun to watch the pattern emerge.
Then, the palm has this soothing, repetitive pattern which gives the knitter a little rest from concentration. By the way, I'm fairly confident that uneven-ness where I'm changing needles will disappear with a wet block. I'm using Blue Sky Alpaca, Alpaca and Silk, which is, as I said, a pleasure.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Central Park Hoodie - Complete!

I finished the Central Park Hoodie! I had all the seams sewed up and the ends woven in yesterday, and then washed it and laid it out to dry before putting in the zipper. My daughter came to me at bedtime and said "Mom, I think it's dry enough for you to sew in the zipper now." It wasn't, really, but she has a history of being "hard to knit for", so I took this strong hint that she wanted this sweater. So after a late night for me, she wore it to school today. We're both happy.
Here's the back view. The color on the first picture is more accurate.

Nitty Gritty Details:

  • Central Park Hoodie from Knitscene Fall 06.
  • Cascade Sierra Quatro, 80% cotton/20% wool, Green Melange (color 96) 100 grams, 191 yards, 7 skeins used.
  • Gauge called for was 4.25 stitches/inch. I knit this on size 5 needles at a gauge of 5 stitches/inch because I liked the fabric better. (That is the ball-band gauge -- actually I'm not sure how I came to substitute this yarn for what was called for - except the girl liked the color.) To compensate, I made the 40 inch size in hopes of getting a sweater with a 34" finished size. My actual finished size was 34.5". I used vertical directions (ie knit 11 inches) for the smallest size.
  • Vislon Activewear 22" Separating zipper, "peridot". I should have used a 18 inch zipper. I don't even know if there was one in the right length, but I had to cut this zipper and fold the ends back, which makes for some bulkiness I don't like. I sewed in the zipper by hand, using, more or less, the instructions in the big Vogue Knitting book.
  • Other changes: I grafted the top of the hood together (kitchener stitch) and knit the ribbing all in one go. The pattern called for casting off the top of the hood, then knitting the front ribbing, then sewing a seam which would be on the "top" of the hood. I thought my way would be better, which it was, mostly. But I also broke one of my favorite needles - size 3 bamboo needles aren't meant for cramming 300+ stitches on. After I rescued my stitches (the needle broke "inside" a row), I used two needles but knit the ribbing all in one piece.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

It's not over till it's over


I brought the cap over to my father-in-law on New Year's Eve. It fits just great! I'm sure Eunny never imagined her mitts quite in this context, but C is often cold even indoors, and this seemed like a nice solution. Plus, I wanted to give him something special -- it's been a tough year. I'm happy with how this gift turned out.

But, I'm still not done with Christmas knitting. This is what my mom received for Christmas. I plan to make Anemoi mittens, another Eunny Jang design. The colors aren't shown so well in this picture -- the yarn is cream and chocolate brown.

Yes, our tree is still up. I'd like to say we always celebrate 12 days of Christmas, till Epiphany. That's not quite true, but I think the tree is staying up till next weekend, anyway.

I'll start them as soon as I finish the Central Park Hoodie. I found a zipper today. Tonight I hope to make some real progress while I watch my new Monk videos.