Archive for the ‘Knitting’ Category

Mystery Mitts KAL – 2nd Clue

January 23, 2011

Posting one clue at a time for a mystery knit is fun!

I didn’t realize that splitting up a pattern would basically necessitate retesting each portion – it’s easy to inadvertently change or overlook a detail in the process of breaking up the instructions for each clue, so the original pattern testing doesn’t guarantee accurate instructions.  No major hiccups, just a lesson learned in tracking versions of a document.

Now the second clue has been published to Ravelry FGF Group, we can post our pictures of completed clue 1:

RowCounter

I’m loving the shades of green in this yarn, and I’m almost regretting not saving it for socks since the yarn has a delightful, firm and springy quality that would feel marvelous on the soles. Maybe I’ll have enough left over for a pair of short socks or slippers.

Girly

My cotton gloves are soooo pretty! I find it interesting that the stripes start with a knit row, yet appear to be just a purled row. If the first row were not knit in the contrast colour, the purled bumps would have been half white/half pink. Unfortunately, purling the second row means the technique to avoid “jogs” in circular stripes (lifting the stitch from the row below and knit with the first stitch when working the second round) doesn’t work. I plan to use duplicate stitch when sewing in my tail-ends to neaten up if necessary.

The second clue focuses on the thumb gusset. The increase stitches for thumb gussets are important. It doesn’t matter if you substitute your preferred method, but you should choose an increase that can be worked in mirrored pairs if you want to create a balanced “V” shape. You should also consider whether holes in or under the increased stitches are desirable. Although Mystique has small and large eyelets, I did not plan to have holes in the thumb shaping, so I chose lifted increases. Lifted increases can be worked right-leaning or left-leaning, and they do not make holes.

Lifted increases are easy-peasy but most things knit are easier when you’ve seen someone else do it. I’m posting a video here because all of the great tutorials I normaly refer to are either a little blurry, or they demonstrate the left-leaning increase incorrectly. I only have a wee, little, basic camera so I hope this little video (my first!) is good enough to be helpful.

You may download the pattern here:Chris Abbott Ravelry Designer Page

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Mystery Mitts KAL – First Instalment

January 8, 2011

This is the time of year that some of us will still be needing warm FGs (fingerless gloves), but some will already be wondering what non-wool yarn can be used to make FGs suitable for warmer weather?  I have designed this pair of FGs to be done either in sport-weight cotton, or sport-weight sock yarn.  In fact, there are lots of choices that the knitter can make throughout the project, which should make this a good mystery project.

Here are the materials I’m using for both pairs:

Mystery

This is sport-weight, 100% cotton that I picked up in Tokyo. I had just received a lovely prize of stitch markers (you can see one of them in the picture) from Wendy Ganiggle and wanted yarn to coordinate with them. I’m going to make the stitch markers part of the finished FGs so they’ll be handy next time I need one (often can’t find a stitch marker when I need one). These will be totally girly-girly mitts.

Mystery

This sport-weight sock yarn from Slackford Studios is one of my favourites. I really want to make me some socks from it, but while I’m finding it difficult to get anything bigger than a postage stamp knitted, I’ll stick with the FGs. See the beads? Those are optional too. I plan to use them to make the FGs row counters. These options are not added until the FGs are being finished, so the knitter may decide right at the end which way to go.

Gauge is 6 stitches and 9 rows to the inch over stocking stitch. I used a US 4, 3.5mm circular needle – mine is 40″, but I like plenty of length. Instructions will be for magic loop, which are very easy to convert to two circulars. If you prefer to work on dpns, and have questions, we can handle those easily (that’s what KALs are for).

Mystery Mitts KAL

January 5, 2011

The Fingerless Gloves Fanatics group in Ravelry has always been the most welcoming, informative, and fun group to hang out with. Last year I volunteered to be one of the designers for their Mystery Mitts Knit-Alongs, and finally the stars are aligned, and I’ll be doing just that this month!

So how does this Mystery KAL work? I’ll be posting materials needed and a few details (like gauge and needle sizes) on January 15th. Each week thereafter, I’ll post a portion of the pattern and everyone will knit that portion, not knowing what the final gloves look like until the end. The idea of KALs is that anyone unfamiliar with a knitting technique may get support from the group, and have fun sharing pictures of progress.  Oh, and the pattern will be free to members of the group for the duration of the KAL.  (Anyone in Ravelry may join – both Ravelry and the Group are free).

I plan to post pictures here each week. Although none of the techniques are especially challenging for moderately experienced knitters, I think newer knitters might like to see pictures of them (such as how to make mirrored increases for the thumb gusset).

This design will offer the knitter two choices for the glove: one uses two colours of sport-weight cotton, the other uses sport-weight sock yarn. There will be options to customize the look of the gloves in the final week. This will be fun!!

(Wot no pictures???) Here’s the pretty sunrise I saw on the morning of Christmas:

Sunrise Dec 2010

Second Resolution (& Progress on TKGA Masters)

November 7, 2010

So my first resolution is to get my TKGA Masters level one submission completed by year end, and to prioritize finishing up some other projects. I’ve already made a little progress!

For starters, the first swatches look simple enough, a couple of inches of rib with evenly-spaced increases in the last row before moving on to garter stitch for swatch 1, and stocking (stockingette) stitch for swatch 2. However, it is quite some time since I last knit plain garter stitch, and all of a sudden, decisions as to which side of the cast on looks best with the rib, how to place my increases, and which increases are the least obtrusive anyway are almost paralysing.  I decided to just knit the first swatch, note the methods used, and knit it again using different decisions for increases etc. so I may compare. I pulled out my needles & yarn, and set to work while reading up on basic techniques in TKGA’s website, YouTube, and a couple of books……I swear I didn’t blink before I’d already knitted three inches of rib whereas the instructions stated that I should only knit two. (Sigh!) I’m not used to knitting such small rows – clearly I’m going to need to concentrate on this a little more carefully.

With my poor concentration ability in mind, I used an aid to help me make sure I spaced my decreases evenly, that each decrease would land on same stitch (i.e. all purl or all knit), and I wouldn’t knit straight past the next decrease:

TKGA Masters I Swatch II I had not repositioned the last stitch marker when I took this picture, and its easy to see that its in the wrong place. I may use this technique for larger projects because sometimes I just do not trust my own math.

I had hoped the difference between a bar increase and a lifted increase would be enough to help me decide which swatch to block, but I think I’m going to have to block both and then decide – what do you think?

TKGA Masters I Swatch 1

Uh huh, going to have to block these before I decide which to keep, aaaand will have to find a way to label them throughout so that I’ll know which is which!

My second resolution is to take more care with my health, including my mental well-being. For me, this means starting the New Year with a cleaner, more orderly house and having established a routine for spending some time in the yard. I can’t wait for Spring cleaning, sometimes I look around me and wonder how you know when you’ve crossed the line and become one of those hoarders you see on TV.

I’m starting with the kitchen. I have food stored in cupboards that are set over our central heat vents, baking trays in the dining room, and I’m pretty sure I have some canned veggies that are as old as the house (8 years is too old no matter how carefully I processed those jars). I’ve drawn up a plan and numbered the cupboards and drawers then designated what will move to each. Oh woe is me!! Now that I know I have 31 to deal with, I’m not sure I’ll get past the kitchen before Xmas Eve!

I’m happy with the results of some time spent in the yard though, lookie:

Mailbox Flowerbed

My man recycled some bricks to build a sturdy mail box holder.  Unfortunately, its not real pretty because the excess mortar won’t wash off. I’ve planted a Carolina Jasmine at the base which should cover most of the brick by this time next year.  Also, I dug up grass and added edging (with help from Son) so that we won’t have so many nooks and crannies to try to mow.  Oh, and see the pretty red coloured grasses? I believe they are Little Bluestem. I moved those from the back of my yard where wild grasses still grow – I love their colours and the way they sway in the wind and hope that they do not mind me digging them up (fortunately there’s lots more where they came from)……I’ll be back soon with blocked swatches and resolution # 3.

New Year Resolutions

November 5, 2010

I’m making New Year resolutions now.  There are things I want to get done before the year is over, and there are things I want to do in the future, which require me to make changes now so that I will be in a better position to do them.  I have decided to target three areas:

Knitting:

I really want to complete the masters program offered by TKGA. In fact, I’d like to submit the first of three levels before 2011. I’ll post pictures of my progress here, and since the program involves researching various knitting techniques, I’ll post links to good explanations or videos I find along the way.

Another knitting goal, but not one that I have to complete by end of year, is to focus on finishing sock designs that I have already begun. I really need to finish Stray Cat socks using Stalwart Sock Yarn. Here’s a sneek peak:

StrayCat

I also need to knit me a pair of Chocolate Turtle Socks, finishing up writing the pattern as I go. The prototype was a pair of socks I knitted for my son using a skein of Wollmeise a generous friend mailed it to me as a surprise, and as soon as son saw it, he commented that he should probably ask if I could knit him some good socks one day……(what’s a good mum to do?) 

TurtleSockI

Lastly, I need to rewrite WRBTR Socks – I knitted these using a stitch that I’m sure is not new, but nonetheless, I made it up on the fly. Here’s the story behind them: at Sock Summit, my hostess handed me a travelling scarf she was working on so that I would have something to knit in the world record challenge – everyone was required to use straight needles, and I didn’t have any with me. When I asked Sarah what stitch I should use, she told me “just anything you feel like knitting”……moments later Pearl McPhee is telling us that we must continue to knit without stopping to fix mistakes! So I decided I could manage a variation on a rib stitch for this travelling scarf – hence the name World Record Breaking Travelling Rib Socks. I worked this pair in sport weight yarn, and I love wearing them with boots:

WRBTR Socks

I’ll come back later with my other two resolutions…..

Modern Lace Shawl: Pamuya

November 1, 2010

I’ve been busy getting a Fall garden going lately – the weather is just delicious right now, and almost every evening ends like this:

Sunrise 10/31/2010

Once indoors, I squeezed in a few rows here and there on Pamuya designed by Alexandra Weidmayer, which I thoroughly enjoyed knitting.

Pamuya II

There are enough plain(ish) rows for mindless knitting while reading or travelling. I really like how it looks relatively modern, yet is light and lacey.  You can check out more of Alexandra’s designs here: dragansvarg

Pamuya VII

The yarn is Schaeffer Trenna, which is 50/50 merino & silk – feels so good, I can’t quite make up my mind as to whether this is a keeper or a gift for someone special….

Beaded Hot August Nights & Other Projects

October 7, 2010

Care to join me for a cup of tea? I couldn’t resist donning these gloves for my afternoon ritual. Turns out that adding beads isn’t too difficult, and so so pretty!

BlueTeaParty

Next time I knit up this design, I think I’m going to make them elbow length. I made this pair for Fingerless Gloves Fanatics Summer Swap on Ravelry. I’m thrilled that they look to be a good fit for the recipient.

I participated in another swap: OT FGF Insanity Housewares Medium Flat Rate Box Swap – that’s a long name for a swap! I tried knitting dishcloths and a market bag – I have a new respect for these items and will have to make some more for me:

Housewares Swap

Here’s a really versatile yarn, raffia!

Raffia Market Bag

Made a pretty market bag, and see what I did with the leftovers:

VeggiePatchFall2010

Its pretty late in the year, but I don’t think you can ever count on the weather in Oklahoma, so I may as well throw caution to the wind, and a few seeds on the yard. I’m sticking with a small patch as an experiment – most of these seeds are for late Fall/early Winter crops, some I may try to cover and hope that they don’t die come the first frost.

Hot August Nights Rewind

August 30, 2010

I’m reknitting Hot August Nights to send in a swap I signed up for in Ravelry.  I’ve been wanting to redo these with beads for some time.  I came up with this design to see just how lacey I could go and still create a wearable glove.  The lace pattern itself doesn’t have any stitches more complicated than the occasional sk2p, however, knitting a small circle in laceweight on the wrong circs, well, that’s a challenge I should have avoided.  Of course when I wanted to start this project, I couldn’t find the right size Addi circular needles, not even a KnitPicks, and because I had to start NOW, I blew the dust off a Clover bamboo circular figuring that it would do well enough.  (So wrong!)

Do not, do not, waste your time wrestling with an inflexible cord and stubby-ended needles on a fiddly project.  I frogged the gloves twice and set them aside while I went on a couple of business trips.  During my travels, I spent some well won $$ that my ever-loving partner gave me on a set of Hiya Hiya interchangeable needles.  Of course as soon as I got home, I cast on for Hot August Nights again with my fine new needles:

HiyaHiyaII

 

Once I got over how pretty the yarn is (bought in Shanghai, I can only tell you its 80% merino and was very inexpensive), I had to take pics and come here to share my appreciation of these needles. 

I bought the small needle sizes in the 5″ needle point length. For about $75 I got seven pairs of needles, a selection of cords, and a very pretty case that holds all these with room for more and an extra zippered pocket.  If you find yourself always using the same length cords, you can build a collection of fixed needles for less money.  However, I like having the case to organize everything, and really like being able to keep spare stitches (ie: for thumbs) on a spare cord.  I thoroughly dislike trying to transfer stitches from waste yarn and so interchangeables are the way to go for me.

These needles are made of stainless steel – the colour is light so dark yarns are a little easier to see, and the material is very lightweight.  The joins are smooth; my stitches only gripped and stuck a little on the first dozen or so rows, so I think that there may be something on the surface for shipping that soon went away.  Points are pointy!  Long tapered points that picked up my skinny yarn with ease.  Best part is this – no need to find a tool to tighten the needles onto the cords.  (This is important or me because I lose little things).  I thought that the joints would loosen up over time, but they do not.  I’m sure this is because the cords swivel in the joint, so the needle does not get twisted over and over as you knit.  This also causes the pliable cords to behave nicely when using magic loop.   The only thing I’m missing, is caps to put on the cords to prevent stitches falling off if I’m holding them for later.  Nonetheless, I’m a fan – I will be checking out Hiya Hiya products next time I’m shopping for knitting tools. 

I’ll come back and show off my pretty FGs once I get one finished and blocked…..

Nettie’s Neckwarmer

July 26, 2010

Remember that BabySis knitted some lovely neckwarmers while visiting with me recently? I promised her I’d design some more. The stitch I came up with is reversible – here it is in Berroco Vintage which I have to say doesn’t look too great right now:

P7261030

P7261032

Likely it will look fine after washing – the yarn does feel pretty good for having 50% acrylic, but its probably more suited for a man’s sweater that would be worn over a shirt than for wrapping around a sensitive neck. Even though I’m super-busy at work, it shouldn’t take me long to finish up and rinse this baby…..

Quality Time

July 3, 2010

Since I moved to the U.S. (17 years ago) I treasure time spent with family from England. My BabySis and brother-in-law came to visit and we had a splendid time together. Alas, today I have to return them to the airport and bid them farewell.

During our quiet time at home and on the road (more about our road trip after I’ve sifted my photographs), I helped BabySis advance her knitting skills. She knitted her first project on her last visit with me, and wanted to use up some yarn she brought along this time. We settled on Celtic Cabled Neckwarmer from Storm Moon Knits.  Here’s the result:

CabledNeckWarmer

Nice huh? BabySis announced that she’d like to make several different neckwarmers for Christmas gifts so we set off to L & B and picked out a few nice worsted-weight yarns. Then I picked out a few stitches from Barbara Walker’s indispensable Treasury of Knitting Patterns and we chose one that would show off the Mochi Plus yarn she fell for:

Annette'sNeckWarmer

All it needs is buttons – I think its lovely. It was so rewarding to help my sister through the process of learning how to knit, then taking on patterned stitches, and button-holes even! Of course, choosing patterns and yarn is much more fun now she has mastered more than the basics.

(I wonder if I might wind up on that Xmas list??)