Today was so sunny and bright that I braved the cold temperature to take some photos of recent projects, and I decided to add my Rainbow Warrior to the mix. I’d never taken any pictures in good lighting, and I was reminded of how gorgeous this shawl is. Stay tuned for pictures of new projects in the next couple of days!
It’s no secret that I like knitting. I’m a process knitter, which means I knit because I like the process of knitting, not necessarily because I want the end result. So when a friend asked me if I’d make her some mittens, I agreed right away. I’d be knitting anyway, why not make something a friend would enjoy wearing?
It turns out she’d bought the kit for these Line by Line Mittens to Gloves from Knit Picks, complete with five colors of Knit Picks Swish, because she wanted to learn to knit. Then she tried, and discovered she didn’t love it, and it made her hands and elbows hurt. But she still had this kit sitting there, staring at her and mocking her. (I’m imagining that last bit; that’s what it would be doing to me, anyway.) And she still wanted the mitts. They didn’t look complicated to me, even though I’d have to learn how to do the convertible top. She insisted there was no hurry, but when I finished the husband’s socks (which were supposed to be Christmas gifts but oops were not) I was happy to do something new and different, and I cast on the first mitt over the weekend.
They knit up quickly, though it didn’t take long for me to realize I’d forgotten the downside to stripes: ends. Lots and lots of ends to weave in. I texted her a progress photo after the first one was done, joking that I’d let her weave in the ends, and cast on for the second mitt.
With the basic mitts done, it was time to figure out the convertible tops. I took a break long enough to weave in a crap-ton of ends (yes, she would have happily done it herself, but I needed the break, and it was satisfying to see the neat and tidy mitts). Then I counted down the rows to where I was supposed to pick up 24 stitches. But I’d never picked up stitches in the middle before; I’d always picked up from an edge. So that took a few tries before I found a method that worked and looked acceptable. Not sure if it’s the “right” way, but eh, who cares about that, right? Getting the stitches all set up for that convertible top was kind of a hassle, to be honest, but once I got the first couple of rows done, it was smooth sailing, and by the middle of the Golden Globes last night, I had a complete mitten!
I’ll do the last mitten top tonight so that I can give her the mittens tomorrow, and then I’ll give the pattern back and never knit it again. I didn’t really care for how it was written. The thumb gusset was set up on both sides of the beginning-of-round marker, so I was fiddling with color changes and increases within a few stitches. I prefer it when the gusset is closer to the middle of the round, especially if there are color changes. Still, these are awfully cute, and it does feel good to do something nice for someone else sometimes!
I spent too many years working retail to ever want to go to a big-box store or mall on Black Friday. Instead, we continue a tradition started by my husband and mother-in-law when I had to be at work, and we go to a small town with a charming downtown of little independent shops. We eat at the same cafe every year, where we’re waited on by the same sarcastic, funny waitress every year. We get a photo with Father Christmas and buy fudge at the corner ice cream parlor/sweet shop. And we walk around and admire neat things, and usually buy a few things.
I found a lot of fun sheep/yarn related things…actually, the husband pointed out a couple of them! The only one I actually bought was the sheep teabag holder, because how could I resist that?
Lucky me, I also found a store that sold crafts supplies like buttons, ribbon, wool, and yarn! There were some big brands, indie dyers, and an in-house yarn. This is what jumped into my arms, Malabrigo Rios in Aniversario (all that PINK!) and Hedgehog Fibres Sock yarn.
They’ll both probably have to wait until I’m done with my Christmas knitting. I’m not sure I’m going to finish all the socks I wanted to make, but I’m not giving up yet. I made good progress on my Strutting Peacock this weekend. I’m past the gusset and just zooming along on the foot right now.
I did make a small modification, and I’m just doing stockinette on the foot instead of the zigzag pattern. It’ll be smoother in the shoe, nobody else sees that part, plus it’s a lot faster, so I know I’ll be able to get this pair done well before Christmas.
Speaking of Christmas, I did spend part of the holiday weekend putting up some decorations. No tree yet, because I don’t have the energy and I have a crazy dog that I’m afraid will eat the tree. But I’ll get there. Until then, I have my favorite part: my Santa collection!
Now, I just need to make sure I can keep Duncan away from it…
To all my U.S. friends, I hope you’ve had a lovely long Thanksgiving weekend!
It’s so weird how my knitting changes. Like, what I want to knit changes based on what’s happening in my life. Right now, things feel hectic and overwhelming and stressful, and all I’ve been knitting is socks. I have two socks on my needles, and they’re making me so happy. I even have fancy yarn picked out for fancy shawls, and it’s beautiful yarn and I can’t wait to knit with it…but I’m not ready yet. I just need socks right now. My current obsession is this Basket Weave Rib Sock.
The yarn is Schaefer Yarn Nichole, which is labeled fingering, but it feels like a heavy fingering. So when I knit it up with my size 1 needles, it’s all thick and squishy and I can tell these socks are going to be heaven to wear. I love the look of the pattern too; it’s a great design for a variegated yarn, letting both the stitches and the colors play nicely together. This is also the first time I’ve made socks for someone else, so I’m really hoping I estimate well on the foot length.
My other sock is another pair of Petty Harbor socks. These are for me, in Knit Picks Stroll Glimmer in “foxglove and kestrel”, AKA purple and gray.
Obviously it’s been taking a backseat to the blue sock. This is like my backup sock. But that’s okay, it’s perfectly happy waiting patiently for its turn.
It’s a gray, rainy Sunday here, and my errands are few and short, so I see plenty of knitting in the forecast. Hope your Sunday is equally pleasant!
I have another finished shawl! This week I bound off my Rainbow Warrior shawl, all 440+ stitches in a beautiful picot edge. As tedious as a picot bind-off is, I do so love the look, and it was the perfect finish for this shawl.
I’d wanted to make this shawl for months, but I wanted to do it just like the original, which meant waiting until I could justify buying the Miss Babs yarn. And a couple of times I tried, but the Perfectly Wreckless color was sold out, and I had to wait for that yarn. I just couldn’t make it with another color, I loved the pink variegated with the gray so much. Finally, I had two skeins of Yummy 2-ply in my hands: Perfectly Wreckless and Thunderstorm.
This was so much fun to knit. I loved balancing the garter stitch with the slipped stitch sections, how there was repetition that soothed me but also some variation to keep me interested. I loved seeing the colors pop out through the gray slipped stitches. My skein of Perfectly Wreckless had more black than I would have chosen, but overall I’m still delighted with it. I loved watching it grow each time I got to an increase row, until near the end when it was all squished together on the needles. I knew it was going to be quite large, but I couldn’t quite get a sense of how large, because I couldn’t spread it out enough.
Another thing I love about this pattern: it looks awesome on both sides. The “right” side shows off the slipped stitches and is more subtle with the colors, but the “wrong” side is just as delightful, with the colors on full display.
The pattern calls for eight slipped-stitch sections, but as I got near the end of the seventh, I realized my contrasting color was getting alarmingly low. I really didn’t want to play yarn chicken and have to frog back, and I could tell the shawl was already big enough to be wearable, so I ended with the seventh section. Since I still had plenty of gray left, I did the first two rows of the MC in section eight before starting the bind-off, to give a bigger, more defined final edge. I love this shawl. It’s exactly what I wanted it to be.
I feel like I have progressed to a new level of crafter: I purchased a Furls crochet hook! I’ve coveted their hooks for ages, those gorgeous colored Candy Shop hooks and the striking black and silver Odyssey hooks, but never gave in to temptation. Partly because of cost, but mostly because once I learned to knit, I wasn’t much of a crocheter anymore. If I didn’t crochet often, why buy a $30 hook when that money could go toward yarn?
Well. That all changed when I saw the ad for the pre-order of the new purple Odyssey hooks. I ordered one immediately and started counting down the days until it would ship. Lucky me, it shipped sooner than I expected, and I finally got to open it last night. It’s so pretty! It’s a darker purple than it looks here, but just as shimmery and beautiful. I pulled out some scraps to make flowers to test it, and found that it’s heavier than I expected, but not unpleasantly so. The shape was definitely comfortable in my hand. The only thing I didn’t love was that there’s no thumb rest, so when I picked up the hook I had to make sure I was holding it right to get the hook positioned, and sometimes as I worked, it would turn ever so slightly in my hand, putting the hook in a less-efficient position. I’m eager to try it on a bigger project and give myself time to get used to it.
Anyone else use Furls hooks?
Last night we had dinner with my mother, and she gave me a few potholders made by her mother back when my mother was young. I knew my grandmother could crochet: I have a fluffy loop dog as well as an afghan from her. But I’d never seen these little treasures before!
These three potholders are all two layers crocheted together, and I’m sure it was thread with steel hooks. The intricacy is amazing. I can’t imagine how long it took her to make each one. And these were definitely used; you can see the one in the top right is soiled. My mom remembers her dad cooking with one of these hanging out of his back pocket.
But these beauties don’t look like they were used at all! Each one is a real dress (I guess so you could slide it over the pot handle?) and they’re all done with perfect precision. I’m in awe. While I know I have the skills to make these, I definitely don’t have the patience! If any of you are inclined, there are some neat patterns here.
I would love to get these cleaned before maybe framing them to hang in my craft room. Anyone have any tips or recommendations? Keep in mind they’re over 50 years old!