Sunday, December 18, 2005

The last pair of mittens of this year

Well, I got the miniature mittens out of my system. The pattern is from Folk Mittens: Techniques and Patterns for Handknitted Mittens by Marcia Lewandowski, and they're made with some scraps of Caron Simply Soft and Woolease. They are cute, but I probably won't make any more with this pattern--worsted weight wool on size 1 needles wasn't too bad until I got to the decreasing, and then it became apparent that this was one of those never-again patterns.

I tried to get Cal to wear them for a photo, but he is only willing to model hats, preferably berets in earth tones.

Since the Christmas knitting is now completed and wrapped and mailed, I got out the languishing Hourglass sweater and did quite a few rounds yesterday while watching Prancer. I really love the way this sweater is turning out and can't wait to be able to wear it. There's no picture today since it looks almost the same as the last picture, only longer. I'm now almost up to the second increase.

I have noticed that in the sweater there are occasional "lines" where I'm guessing the knitting has been on the needles too long. I've had this happen before with wool projects, and the lines have always gone away in blocking. I'm hoping the same will be true for the cotton fleece. If anyone has had the same experience, please let me know if this will disappear, or if I should be frogging back to eliminate the lines. It's not that noticeable, but I'm very picky about my own knitting, and I know it'll drive me nuts.

That's all the knitting news. I hope to be able to work on some new patterns this afternoon. I have a couple of ideas for short scarves that I'd like to get underway, and I'd also like to shake the dust off the second Trekking sock and get that finished soon so I can be wearing them.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Snow Day Mittens

Here are the Snow Day Mittens. These are a lot of fun to make, and I'm really happy with the way they turned out. Of course, now that I'm well, it's 37 degrees and all the snow is melting. I suppose I neglected to mention that I decided to keep this pair for myself!

These very soft and warm mittens will fit an average-sized woman’s hand. They knit up very quickly and would make a great gift or a welcome addition to your own winter wear.

Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky comes in an amazing array of colors, and it is one of the nicest yarns I’ve ever knit with. It has just enough mohair to make a light ‘halo.’

Size: 8” around, about 9.5” long

Materials: 1 skein of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky (shown in Ruby)
set of dpns to give you gauge
stitch marker (I use a piece of yarn)
stitch holder (again, I use a piece of yarn)

Gauge: 4 st=1”


Cast on 28 stitches, distribute onto 3 dpns. Join.
Rib in K2, P2 for 2.5 inches, or desired length.
next round: *K7, M1* around, to increase total stitches to 32
Knit 2 more rounds.

Begin thumb gusset

next round: K1, M1left, K1, M1right, K around
next round: K around even

K1, M1left, K3, M1right, K around
K around even

K1, M1left, K5, M1right, K around
K around even

K1, M1left, K7, M1right, K around

(At this point you may wish to try the mitten on and see if the thumb gusset is wide and/or long enough. If not, K around even, then complete another increasing round.)

K1, slip 9 (or 11) thumb stitches to a scrap piece of yarn, K around
K1, M1 to close space left by joining sides, K around
K16 stitches, then place a marker, K around


Knit around for about 2.75”, or just to the top of the little finger.

Decrease round

SSK, K to 3 stitches before marker, K2tog, K1, slip marker, SSK, K to 3 stitches before end of round, K2tog, K1

K 4 rounds even

Decrease as described

K even

Decrease every other round until 12 stitches left. Place 6 stitches each on 2 dpns and graft together using Kitchener stitch.


Put stitches from thumb onto 2 dpns, and attach yarn, leaving long tail (to sew up any little holes when you are finished), K around to gap where thumb and hand join. Using 3rd dpn, pick up 3 stitches (12 total—or 14 if you made the larger gusset), then K around until length just reaches top of thumb.

K2tog around.

K even.

K2tog around again, and break yarn. Thread through live stiches and pull tight. Secure on wrong side.

Make second mitten the same as the first.

Enjoy all your snow days!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Catching up, or trying to

I spent most of the last few days fighting a virus that left me exhausted and feverish and with a sore throat. I'm much better now, but I'm way behind on Christmas preparations, and that makes me a little frantic. I did manage to get my Christmas cards all done, and I made a kitty dishcloth to go with some other Christmas-present dishcloths I had made earlier. I hope to be able to finish the one project that needs to be mailed sometime today so it can go out tomorrow. Blasted virus.

I did get the bulky mittens all finished and washed and blocked, and I will post the picture and the pattern sometime soon, when I can concentrate on writing it up correctly. I still feel a little foggy this morning, but I'm slowly getting back to my normal routine.

Scott is improving and is going home today, so we are very thankful about that. Thank you to everyone for sending the nice comments and good wishes!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Snowed in

I guess I won't be sitting on the patio and knitting any time soon. We had over six inches of snow yesterday afternoon and evening, and last night the wind picked up and blew it into big drifts all around the yard.

We aren't really snowed in here, since the snow plowing crew is very competent and quick, but I like to pretend we are. It reminds me of growing up in the country, where we sometimes missed up to a week of school at a time because the roads were too hazardous for the bus to get through. I would mostly lie in bed and reread all the Little House books when this happened, with more-than-occasional trips to the kitchen for peanut butter sandwiches and chips, and leftover fried chicken, and anything else I could find. I'm sure I'm not the only person who gets hungry while reading Farmer Boy and The Long Winter.

The snow has its hazards, of course. Yesterday my 22-year-old cousin Scott, while driving to school, slid onto the highway and was broadsided by a truck. He will be okay, but he has a broken pelvis and femur and his lung was partially collapsed. We've obviously been very worried about him, but last night we heard that when his mother asked him how he was feeling, he answered, "Like I've been hit by a truck," and winked at her. That's Scott.

Instead of reading while the snow fell yesterday afternoon, I worked on the red mittens and finally completed one that I actually like. I plan to finish its mate today; I wish I'd had them both done this morning while I was out shoveling paths in the eleven-degree weather. But now I guess I'll give them as a gift, no matter how tempting it may be to keep them myself!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bow-tie complete!

Here's the bow-tie scarf, completed in a couple of sittings. I am really pleased with it, even more so since I had some initial misgivings about whether I would actually wear it when it was finished. However, I put it on yesterday morning before I went Christmas shopping, and not only did it keep me warm in the twelve-degree weather, it provided some cozy psychological comfort against the crowds and the traffic that I always dislike this time of year. It stayed tucked into the top of my coat--no crazy flopping around or sticking out oddly. I very much recommend this pattern. I'm going to make the next one in something brighter and variegated, like Koigu or Kureyon.

I'm working on a pattern for a Christmas gift--I had thought I was done with the little Christmas knitting I did this year, but I had a brainstorm yesterday while out shopping and am in the process of making just one more thing. I can't say what it is, in case the recipient ever actually reads my blog, after having been reminded about its presence again and again, but I will say that I'm going to make it in Knitpicks Merino Style.

Since we have finally gotten winter weather here, I had a chance a few days ago to try out the Hayden hat and mittens, and they worked as well as I'd hoped. I stayed very warm, and when my hands got too warm, I just popped the top of the mittens. I had a nice surprise when the flap stayed back without my having to fiddle around with buttoning it on the run. I kept smelling something odd when I got home, like a wet sheep, and I finally realized it was me, but that's a small price to pay for comfort. It doesn't seem to bother sheep, either.

Monday, December 05, 2005

New projects, progress on old

I did a lot of knitting yesterday; Sunday is normally my day of "rest," which means fiddling around with new projects and watching movies most of the day. I kept thinking I should do something else, but the weather was gray and ugly, and the high was only around 30, and we had been very busy all day Saturday, so I stayed inside and rested.

I got an order of Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky, in blue flannel and ruby, late last week. I ordered it so I could make Kate Gilbert's Gifted mittens. I tried to make one--boy, is this yarn nice and soft to knit!--but I got to the thumb and didn't like the way the crocheted seam looked, and then it seemed as if the whole thing was going to be too narrow for anyone, so I frogged it. I am writing my own pattern to make the mittens in the round and hope to get the same look as the Gifted mittens, which are really nice looking.

I ran across a discussion on the internet about the neck warmer scarf, which upon further investigation I found is another name for the bow-tie or bow-knot or one-skein or tuck-in scarf. I started to make one last year, in purple, and I got disgusted half way through, thinking purple did not match anything I had, and I would never wear it, and no one else I know really likes purple, so I frogged that one. I started another one in Woolease camel, which matches the lining of one of my coats and also goes with just about anything I would wear. I can also wear it in the house, on those drafty days, and it won't droop down into whatever I'm cooking, etc. Here it is so far, modeled by the photogenic, increasingly ticked-off Wilma:

I also got quite a lot done on the boring but beautiful Hourglass sweater. I am finally finished with the shaping decreases and am ready for increases again. I worked on this while watching Desk Set, starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, on AMC yesterday morning. It was a very engaging movie and helped me forget about the going around and around and around that is the Hourglass sweater at this point.

In other news, I see that the new Knitty is up! I pored over all the patterns this morning, marveling at all the talented, creative people out there. Why didn't I think of the real stocking cap? I love that; I think it would look great in sock-monkey sock colors. I hope to start a Danica scarf later today--I spent most of my morning walk contemplating colors for it. And an all-black Tubey would be gorgeous.

With all this in progress and soon-to-be in progress, I'd better get busy. Christmas shopping? Can wait another day.