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We finally got some snow worthy of a photo.
We are about halfway through a winter storm alert. Six - twelve* predicted.
Whew. For a few weeks there I thought winter had forgotten us.
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I finished whatever it was I was working on when last we discussed knitting. (What was it? My mind is a blank. Luckily, I have a blog so I can go back and check. Theoretically.)
Cast on for the mittens for our teenage slave helper, Scotty.
A couple weeks ago Carole's Ten on Tuesday topic was Ten Mittens/Mitts I Want To Knit. Having only minimal interest in mittens -- I prefer leather gloves in order to have a better grip on the steering wheel -- I did not participate nor pay much attention to the others' blog posts. A few days later Scotty's mother replied to my email about what I could knit for him for Christmas: mittens! Carole's topic was suddenly relevant, and I carefully perused all those posts for conservative masculine mittens. Voila, Striped Mittens, courtesy of Woolyheaded Ruth! Scotty's jacket and hat are gray, so these should be right up his street.
All that double knitting I practiced last month made this stranded knitting super easy. It's the holding of two strands of yarn that to me is the challenge of stranded knitting. But I now have that down pat. Win!
* That would be inches. Fifteen to thirty for those of you metrically inclined.
Do I still knit? Why, yes, thanks for asking.
I finished a pair of socks a few weeks ago.
Yarn: Regia Galaxy Color, purchased at Camas Creek Yarn in Kalispell MT when we went to Glacier National Park a couple years ago. When I saw the yarn in the ball I thought it was going to make striped socks that would coordinate with my multicolor striped raglan. These will be fine even without the stripes. I alternated between the two balls to minimize pooling.
Pattern: Wendy's Generic Toe-Up Sock
Needles: US#0. Normally I do the foot on zeros and switch to US#1s when I get just past the ankle, but I forgot. They still fit.
I picked up the Tappan Zee sweater again; it has been quietly snoozing in its bag for a year. For those of you who care but don't remember it, it is a top-down cap sleeve sweater. I had reached the armholes and knit one front a couple inches past that. When I picked it up I discovered that actually, I had knit both fronts to the point where they were ready to be rejoined, so all I had to do was knit the back to that point, join all three parts, and knit away mindlessly until it is long enough or I run out of yarn. Yes, I am knitting as fast as possible in order to finish before the yarn runs out. Don't we all?
(no photo -- it doesn't look significantly different than in the posts linked above, just a bigger blob of knitting)
The Christmas knitting is progressing. A Windschief hat and neck gaiter (that's what cowls were called before they became The Trendy Thing) for our renter. I knit them almost entirely during the annual two-day tax conference last month, or, as I like to think of it, the annual two-day knitting retreat with CPE credit. Here they are posing with Bubbles on my soon-to-be history first generation Maytag washer, piece of crap that it is.
Pattern: Windschief by Stephen West. Delightful pattern to knit.
Yarn: Filatura Lanarota Pure Washable Merino, from Smiley's Yarn in New York. This stuff is surprisingly pleasant considering the El Cheapo price ($2.99 per 109 yd. skein(!)). Truly machine washable, not scratchy. It is a bit splitty because it is 8- or 10-ply and not tightly spun, but with blunt Addis I had few problems. Huh.
Needles: US#6 and #7.
A tuque for Smokey's partner at work. I had no plans to make this one, but last week I was complaining to Smokey that I would be riding in a car for hours in a couple days, and I had no small portable project on the needles. Really, I was complaining, not because I was looking for a project, but mostly just to make noise. However, he said that Peter, his partner on the adolescent psyche ward night shift, was intrigued by the tuque I had made a couple years ago. So I checked my stash and found I still had just enough of the yarn to make another one.
Oh, you wanted to see it as an actual hat rather than just a blob? Okay, here ya go:
Yarn: Phildar Pure Laine 3-1/2 (apparently discontinued), DK weight, colorway 'Corsair', 3+ skeins (350 - 400 yds.).
Needles: Addi Turbo US#6.
Pattern: I got the original pattern from Dale-Harriet in Madison but couldn't find it when I looked. So I winged it.
When that is done I plan to make a pair of mittens, probably from some more of the same yarn I used for the Windschief set, for the teenage boy who has been our hired slave since last May. When one's own sons are not around the house any more, and one's disabilities make it difficult to do certain things, hiring a teenager is the perfect solution. Scotty is a great kid: reliable, cheerful, willing to learn, willing to do whatever we ask of him. When the task is partcularly disgusting, like changing the litter box, we pay extra.
Then there are the medical mittens, slumbering for years. Last spring the woman who designed them for me emailed to offer to finish them (!) She had noticed that their Ravelry status had not changed in a loooong time. For those of you who care but can't remember them either, they are for Elder Son, who was in medical school at the time. He has since finished and is now at UMich in Ann Arbor getting a master's degree in public health, epidemiology. The design has the caduceus on the backs of the mittens; I knat them up as far as the wings at the top but couldn't get that part right. She finished them and blocked them and sent them back. Yarn is Cascade Heritage sock.
I still have plans to make a DNA scarf of the same yarn for him. Will it get done in time for this Christmas? Probably not, although miracles DO happen...
There is a also tiny bit of stealth knitting going on, maybe for Christmas and maybe not. Someday I'll show you it.
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden #271 and 279, about 1/2 skein each.
Needle: US#7. Or maybe it was a #6. Or maybe I did the ribbing on #5 and switched to a #6 or a #7 for the stockinette. Anyone? Bueller?
Pattern: A pastiche of hat patterns. I wanted a hat that got bigger after the ribbing, sort of a slouch/tan. This is that, if I rearrange the slouch -- which is minimal -- after I put it on.
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Matthew requested another hat for himself, this time in charcoal and 2x2 rib. He specifically said, No cables, no cuff, none of that stuff that is such fun for knitters. Sorry. Mom. He also does not care for the lines formed on the crown by columns of decreases, thus, the 2x2 rib that can hide the decreases. I sent him links to about a dozen different superwash merino DK yarns in charcoal. He chose Tanis Yellow Label, a yarn I had never used nor even heard of before I googled.
As soon as I ordered it I started noticing all the Ravelry projects made from it. Once the yarn arrived and I cast on, I learned why it is so popular. Nice stuff! Soft like merino but still with a bit of woolliness. The color is tonal, and it looks GREAT in ribbing -- very 3-dimensional.
What is that gap in the ribbing, you ask?
I could tell you it is for the unicorn horn at Matthew's hairline, but that would be... a lie.
Most of you already know this but just in case somebody doesn't: when knitting in the round, it is NOT necessary to join immediately after the cast on. That way lies madness twists.
Knit back and forth for a few rows, then join. You can easily see how the knitting should be joined and avoid that dreaded twist. Use the tail from the cast on to sew up the little seam; no one will ever notice when the garment is worn.
In the case of the hat, above, the viewer will be so distracted by the jog in the stripes (does anyone have a good method for avoiding that job when the stripes are only 2 rows tall?) that they will never notice the seam in the ribbing. In the mittens, I defy you to find the seam.
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In other breaking news, I tripped over something invisible in my office last night and fell. My can of soda and bowl of popcoarn went flying, and I smacked my hand on a chair. (I know the thing that I tripped on was invisible because after I got up there was nothing there to see.) No huge damage to myself, and Lucy The Wonder Dog was thrilled that I had thrown an entire bowl of popcorn onto the floor for her, instead of the usual few kernels, but the index, middle, and ring fingers of my right hand were very sore. So sore, in fact, that I could not knit.
Wah! It doesn't look bad -- no swelling, no bruising -- but it is sore.
The next day the fingers were still sore but not enough to prevent knitting, only to make it go a bit more slowly. Yay!
It is probably cheating a little if the FO in question is 2010, isn't it? And so I will offer these instead.
First up, the cowl for Alex, Matthew's girlfriend:
The cowl starts from a provisional cast-on, is worked lengthwise, then the ends are Kitchenered together. That's 71 stitches of Kitchenering. Can you tell where I did it?
I can't tell, either. That Kitchener stitch is magic. As many times as I have done it, I still don't understand exactly how it works.
Next up on the finishing block were the Dimorphous Mittens. Please note the stunning I-cord bind off on the outer mitts.
Yarn: (outer mitts) Noro Yuzen, about half a skein each of #9 and #14.
(inner mitts) Frog Tree Pediboo (80% merino / 20% bamboo) in the delightfully named '1011', a bit less than one skein; 20 - 30 yards each of Knit Picks Gloss fingering weight (70% merino / 30% silk) in 'Dolphin' and 'Dusk', respectively.
Needles: (outer) Addi Turbo US#5 circ.
Pattern: Dimorphous Mittens. Besides adding the slip-stitch colorwork to the inner mittens, the only mod was a different, more rounded method of decreasing at the fingertips. It takes 12 rows, so figure out when to start based on your row gauge and how long you want the mittens to be:
As much as I like how these mittens look, they have two problems:
And so I may end up wearing only the inner mitts. Or maybe I'll break down and buy another pair of leather gloves to replace the ones I lost at the end of last winter.
But at least I learned how to do the I-cord bind off.
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Remember the wool dryer balls? They have turned out to be absolutely useless in eliminating -- or even reducing -- static electricity. What a surprise (not). Back to the aluminum foil balls...
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Wishing you all a most enjoyable and beneficent new year!
On Sunday I went to a most-of-the-day potluck and knitting retreat at a lovely B&B not far away, sponsored by the LYS owner who hosts the knitting group that I attend monthly. The purported reason was for all of us knitters to finish our Christmas knitting. The real reason was to hang out and eat and, oh yeah, knit.
(No photos because I was struck by the dreaded camnesia.)
I had a hat and mittens set OTN for a local children's giveaway and planned to finish them that day. Did I? No. I knit and tinked, and tinked and knit, and knit and tinked some more. First I couldn't count, then my planned modification of the hat pattern turned out to be awesomely impossible rather than simply awesome. I arrived home many hours later having accomplished...
::wait for it::
four (4!) rounds on the hat. And nothing on the mittens.
But today we were out and about for lunch and some errands, and I finished the hat in the car. It is still awesome, just not quite as awesome as I had originally planned. As soon as I post this I'll go do the last thumb on the mittens.
This is purportedly a knitting blog, right? So I should show you what I'm knitting, right? Right!
I am in the midst of the inner mittens of the Diaphonous Mittens. I worked on them in the car on the way to the baby shower on Saturday (1.5 hours) and on the way home to the south Minneapolis house afterward (1.5 hours) and on the drive back to Wisconsin on Sunday (2 hours; we stopped for breakfast and I knit in the restaurant).
I decided I wanted to put some colorwork on the inner mitts so they wouldn't be boring when I wasn't wearing the outer mitts. But I really had no idea of what colorwork pattern I would use; when I got to this point on Mitten #1 I stopped, put it on scrap yarn, and cast on Mitten #2.
On Monday I reached the same point on Mitten #2, and that night's bedtime reading was searching through Barbara Walker's stitch dictionaries to find The Perfect Pattern.
Perfect. (I am using only three colors, though.)
Tuesday night I started the colorwork.
and knit on it while Smokey watched The Good Wife
and it was good.
Let me explain my choices. From what I have picked up about these mittens, having a yarn with some silk in it helps them grip the steering wheel when driving; it seems counterintuitive to me, but apparently having some silk is less slippery than having pure wool. The light and dark blue-gray yarns are Knit Picks Gloss sock yarn, a 70/30 wool/silk blend that was in the stash. I had bought it on a whim, just to see what a sock knit of wool-silk yarn would be like. (Haven't made the socks yet, but I don't think I will use enough of the yarn in the mittens to short the socks.)
Stay tuned to see if the non-skid silk thing is true...
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Minnesota and Wisconsin got hit with an ice storm Saturday night. We knew that freezing rain was in the forecast when we left for the shower/party, but what are ya gonna do? We didn't want to miss the Liberian experience.
When we walked out of the community center where the shower was held, the sidewalks were dangerously glazed with ice. I avoided the sidewalk in favor of walking on the dirt or the grass and managed to get to the car without falling.
You may remember that I have an uneasy relationship with gravity.
The side streets were also dangerously glazed, but the main streets weren't too bad; Smokey drove at a safe and sensible 10 - 15 miles per hour and we were fine. Until we came over a slight rise at University Avenue and East Hennepin and found that the slight downhill grade... was pure ice. He managed to brake and skid the car over to the snowbank at the side of the street without hitting any of the cars stopped at the light, but the next car after us was going slightly faster. That one bounced off our car (no damage, hurrah), hit the car diagonally in front of us, and glided around the corner to a safe stop. The driver, a youngish man, was very shaken by the experience. "I'm not driving any more tonight," he declared as he got out of the car and walked away.
The trouble was that the sidewalks were equally dangerous. As we drove past the fraternity and sorority houses by the University, I saw couples returning from dates, the females in high heels and absolutely unable to move. Their dates had to pull them up the tiniest incline, say, the entrance to an alley.
We thought we would be okay once we got onto the interstate to drive back to WI, the major highways probably having been salted and/or sanded as soon as the icing began. When we got to the intersection with I-35W, however, we saw that patrol cars were waving cars off the interstate; I-35W north was closed.
So we drove to the house in south Minneapolis, which took as long as it would normally take to drive back home to Wisconsin. The Minneapolis house is on a hill, and we parked heading downhill because we knew if we parked heading uphill we would never get the car out in the morning. This meant [cue menacing music] that we had to walk across the street to get to the house.
And the street was sheer ice, and, oh, did I mention it is a hill?
Knowing that I couldn't make it across the street -- even standing still in one place was not safe, I would start to slide downhill anyway -- I took off my shoes and socks and crossed that ice-glazed street in my bare feet. It may have helped slightly, but it was still an almost impossible task. And cold. Did I mention I was barefoot?
On Sunday morning the side streets were still horrendously slippery, but the freeway was open and in reasonably good condition. The drive home was uneventful until we reached our driveway, which was ice-glazed and -- of course -- downhill. When Smokey stopped the car after creeping down the driveway at what seemed like negative speed, it continued to slide toward the Aveo parked in front of the garage. Luckily, we stopped before hitting it.
And then we crept into the house and didn't leave again until Monday afternoon, amen.
Time to catch you up on my knitting. First, a couple hats:
(left, my last hat for the homeless)
Yarn: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, Thyme, and some anonymous camel-colored wool worsted. Total 56 grams, 123 yards.
Needles: Addi Turbo US#6.
Pattern: Generic, worked on 96 st.
(right, for Matthew's new-ish girlfriend Alex)
Yarn: Knit Picks Andean Silk, color Allspice, all but about a yard of 3 skeins (~288 yards).
Needles: Knit Picks Options w/ Zephyr tips, US#8.
Pattern: 16-Cable Hat. The pattern gives two sizes, one for head circumference 16 - 19", and one for 18 - 22". Alex's head is 23", so I cast on 182 st to allow for one more 26-st cable repeat. My head is also 23", so I was able to try on the hat as I knit to check the sizing.
Alex had been describing the kind of hat she wanted to Matthew about a month ago on a day when Smokey happened to be present. He immediately piped up to say that he knew someone who would be delighted to knit her a hat. What he later told me she had described sounded to me like a chullo, so I found a few examples in Ravelry and sent her links. She looked at them but, in her own words, got sidetracked to the 16 Cable Hat. So 16 cables is what I knit (although my upsizing resulted in rather more than 16 cables).
Note: this is a very flattering hat. I may make one for myself. Never thought I would want a beret-ish or slouch-ish hat, but I like this one a lot.
This hat has a lot more stitches than a typical hat. But I loved the yarn so much that it was no hardship to knit the equivalent of two hats. Andean Silk is 55% fine alpaca / 23% merino / 22% silk, and knitting it is like petting a very soft kitteh.
Next on my knitting agenda is a pair of Dimorphous Mittens for myself. Right now I am swatching to determine what size needle I need to make my yarn for the inner mitten match the pattern gauge.
The yarn for the inner mitten is Frog Tree Pediboo, a very soft but tightly plied 80% merino / 20% bamboo light fingering weight that will feel lovely on my hands. The yarn for the outer mitt is two colorways of Noro Yuzen, a discontinued 56% wool / 34% silk / 10% mohair DK weight that I will stripe like a Noro striped scarf.
The weather forecast for the immediate future is cold with a side of frigid, so I need to knit like the wind on these.