Saturday, 25 February 2012

Spock Mittens

Pattern notes:  This pattern will make a pair of average man-sized mittens.  If you want smaller mittens, either use smaller needles, thinner yarn, or try casting on less stitches for the cuff and adjusting the rest of the numbers accordingly.  If there is demand for it, I will work out other sizes but I haven't done that yet.  The pattern has been sort of test knit (as in I wrote it out as I was knitting the first mitten and followed the pattern and adjusted it as I was knitting the second mitten), but there may still be errors as this is my first original pattern and I'm making it up as I go along.  Please let me know if you find any errors or have any questions!

You will need:
200 m/100 g worsted weight yarn.  I used Manos del Uruguay Maxima in colour M2415 and I used ~165 m for these mittens.
A set of 3.25 mm dpns
A set of 4 mm dpns
stitch marker
Waste yarn or stitch holders
Tapestry needle

CO 40 stitches with smaller needles. 
Join to work in the round, and work k1, p1 ribbing for 4” or desired length.
Switch to larger needles as you knit the next round
*K10, M1L*, repeat from * to * 3 more times – 44 sts
K3, place marker (m), k around

Thumb Gusset:
M1L, k to m, M1R, sl m, k to end
K around
Repeat these two rows until 17 sts before m on first needle.

K across 17 sts before m, remove marker.  Slip 17 sts just knit to stitch holder or waste yarn.
K around to last stitch, slip last stitch of round to beginning of next needle.  This will be the new beginning of round.

K2tog, knit to end of round. – 40 sts
K every round until mitten reaches to bottom of fingers.

Index & middle fingers:
K 11, slip next 18 sts to holder, CO 4 sts with backwards loop method, k to 2 sts before end of round.  Slip last 2 sts to next needle, this will be the new beginning of round.  Divide sts over 3 needles as follows: 9, 8, 9 – 26 sts.
K every round until mitten reaches middle of index fingernail, redistribute sts over 2 needles.

  1. K1, ssk, k to 3 sts left on round, k2tog, k1.
  2. K around.
Repeat above 2 rows once more.
Repeat row 1 twice more.

K1, ssk, k to 3 sts left on needle 1, k2tog, k2, ssk, k to 3 sts left on round, k2tog, k1
Repeat this round until 10 sts left
K2tog around – 5 sts
Break yarn leaving 6 inch tail, thread through remaining stitches.

Ring & pinky fingers:
Starting at the gap, place stitches from waste yarn over 3 needles divided as follows: 5, 8, 5.  With needle 3, join yarn leaving an 8 inch tail and pick up 4 stitches from 4 cast on stitches, pick up one more stitch at the gap.  Knit around to 3 sts  before end of needle 3, slip last three stitches to needle 1.  This will be new beginning of round
K1, k2tog, k to end of round. – 22 sts
K every round until mitten reaches to top of pinky finger.
Divide stitches over 2 needles. 

  1. K to 3 sts left on needle 1, k2tog, k2, ssk, k to end.
  2. K around
Repeat above 2 rows once more.
Repeat row 1 twice more

K1, ssk, k to 3 sts left on needle 1, k2tog, k2, ssk, k to 3 sts left on round, k2tog, k1. – 10 sts
K2tog all around – 5 sts
Break yarn leaving 6 inch tail, thread through remaining stitches.

Starting at the gap, place stitches from waste yarn over 3 needles divided as follows: 6, 6, 5
Join yarn leaving an 8 inch tail, knit around 17 thumb sts, pick up 2 sts at the gap. 
Knit around to 2 before end of round, k2tog – 18 sts
K around until thumb measures to the tip of thumbnail
K2tog around until 4 sts left.
Break yarn leaving 6 inch tail, thread through remaining stitches.

Weave in ends, using the yarn tails to reinforce the joins at the base of the fingers and thumb.

Make second mitten.

Pattern is for personal use only.  If you would like to sell items made from this pattern, please send me a message either here or on ravelry.  My ravelry user ID is amywamy.


It is finished.  After months of diligence and patience, I finished it last night.  It started out as something fun, but as the weeks wore on, I began to question my sanity.  It certainly had its ups and downs.  There were stretches of time where I didn't know if I could go on, and then just when I couldn't take it anymore, my spirits would be lifted and it would be enjoyable again, just enough to make me want to keep going and see it through to the end.  There were points at which I wondered why anyone ever thought this was a good idea, and point at which I wondered why I hadn't done this sooner.  But at last, the hard work has paid off, and it is finished.  It was fun while it lasted, but boy am I glad that it's over.

I have finally finished watching the entire series of Dawson's Creek.

Oh, I'm sorry, did you think I was talking about the sweater?  Yeah that's not done yet.  I am partway through the hood but I don't have any pictures of it because it looks weird.  And anyway the sweater was not my focus this week.

First up, my Daybreak/Sunset shawl is finished and blocked and I LOVE it.

I am probably going to wear it all the time, which works well because it goes with almost all of my outfits.  Because it has ALL OF THE COLOURS.  Well, it doesn't have orange or red or yellow but I don't wear much of those colours anyway so it's okay.  And it doesn't go so well with plaid or other stripes, but maybe I don't care.

My main knitting project for the week was new mittens for the Enabler since he lost the gloves I made him.  He wanted a warm pair of winter mittens, didn't really want gloves, but doesn't like mittens either.  Quite the conundrum.  So he asked if I could do split mittens somehow and I said sure, and after a quick search on ravelry I did not find what I was looking for.  There was one pair called Glitten, but it is really cabled and girly looking and not really what I wanted.  Then there was this pair of Glittens which I found really off-putting, no offence to the designer.  I just think they look really weird, almost obscene.  I can't really describe it any other way.

The next step was realizing that in order to get what I wanted, I was going to have to figure it out myself.  That's right, I was going to have to design something.

So I did.

Pattern will be posted shortly, I wanted to give it its own post for clarity's sake!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Sweater, Interrupted

This week's on-the-go project was the Turn A Square hat by Jared Flood.  I cast on Tuesday night while at the theatre waiting for the play to start (and even managed to knit most of the k2, p2 brim in the dark without messing up.  Be impressed), worked on it at my knit night on Wednesday and a bit on my lunch break on Thursday, and finished it Thursday evening.  It's for the Enabler because clearly he deserved a reward after losing the gloves I made him.  Apparently he won't lose this hat.

I made it out of Shelter and some leftover Noro Kureyon.  I like being able to make projects out of yarn that is already in my stash.  It's very satisfying, especially when it involves using yarn leftover from a different project.  However, I always end up having leftover leftovers.  How many times do I have to use a ball of yarn before it'll be gone?  And each time it gets less useful but I still can't bring myself to throw out the rest of it.

Anyway it was a really quick and easy knit, and although I didn't block it like suggested I think it looks alright.  I cast on 104 stitches at the beginning instead of the 96 in the pattern because the Enabler has a giant head, but I probably could have stuck with 96 and it would have been fine.  He says it fits well but I think it's a bit too big  He's the one wearing it though so if he likes it I guess that's what matters!

Instead of the jogless join technique suggested in the pattern, I used Eunny Jang's method which I've mentioned before.  I really think it is the best.  If you didn't know the join was there, you wouldn't even be able to tell.  The beginning/end of the round where I did the colour changes is in the middle of the picture below.

I also made some progress on my sweater this week.  I managed to join the sleeves (no magic required), and I started on the raglan decreases.  It really looks like a sweater now, and I don't even have to arrange the pieces to make it look that way because it's all one piece!

However, I have halted a bit and I'm not really sure what to do next.  I made the sleeves a bit narrower than what the size I was knitting called for because they looked too wide, so I have less stitches on the sleeve portions than what is indicated in the pattern.  I also didn't increase as much for the bust as the pattern said, so I have less stitches for that as well.  I knew these modifications would change the stitch count from the pattern, but I just thought that I would figure it out later.  Well, now it's later and I'm a bit stuck.  I can't decide if I should try to make the stitch count that I have match what's in the pattern to make the end part easier, or if I should just keep on doing what I'm doing.  The hood size is the same across all sizes in the pattern, so you'd think that when I'm finished the raglan decreasing that as long as I can get the right amount of stitches going for the hood and it's centred then all will be well.  But there's also neck shaping that I think I'm supposed to start soon.  Part of me thinks I should just forge ahead and figure it out as I go, but the other part of me is pretty sure that's a terrible idea.

What will happen next?  Tune in next week to find out...

Monday, 13 February 2012

It was love at first sight

Somehow, within the last week, I have obtained more than a kilometre of sweetgeorgia yarn in the colour that is foisted upon every little girl, who then grows up a little and then (because it's in her genes), demands that everything be this colour because it is the bestest colour.  Then she grows up a little bit more and rebels dramatically against all things that are this colour and you'd be hard-pressed to find even a shred of it anywhere in her wardrobe because it's "too girly".  Then she grows up still more and realizes that maybe being a little girly isn't a bad thing, and starts introducing it back into her wardrobe, one item at a time, until one day she realizes that it has somehow taken over, and once again has to scale it back until the wardrobe is a bit more balanced.  Or maybe that was just me.

Of course, I am talking about pink.  Although these days I still do wear the occasional pink garment, I realized after obtaining so much pink wool at once that I have never bought strictly pink yarn for anything that would be for myself.  I have bought some pink acrylic (shush, it was a long time ago) to be incorporated into blankets or slippers, but I've never bought pink wool.

And now I have, like I said, over a kilometre of the stuff.

To be fair, 765 yards of it is a skein of sweetgeorgia merino silk lace that Helen gave to me in exchange for a bunch of homemade cider.

I do like pink, but this is not a pink that I will wear (it's a little dustier in real life than in the photo), and not in lace weight.  However this does not mean I am ungrateful for the yarn.  Quite the contrary.  It's very soft, I do like the colour (just not for me), and I have never knit with lace weight before so I am kind of excited to try.  I was showing off my pink yarn to my mom on the weekend and she immediately exclaimed that she loved this colour, so I'm pretty sure this will turn into something for her.  I'm not sure what yet, and anyway I'm not going to talk too much about it because I might attempt to have it be a surprise.  I have a few ideas rolling around in my head already!

The other 375 yards of pink are from the February shipment of sock yarn from the sweetgeorgia sock club.

I should have been expecting pink due to it being February but it still caught me a little off-guard when I opened the box, perhaps partially due to the other pink newly in my stash.  I do love this pink though, it's a more vibrant pink than the lace weight, and mixed with the purple it's quite striking.  It's still a little bright for a shawl or scarf by itself but I think it would look delicious striped with black or a deep purple or something like that.

I've been all about the stripes lately.  There's just something about them that makes me happy.  I finished Daybreak/Sunset and I can't wait to block it and wear it!  It even has a little pink in it.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

I suck at sleeping in

Taking good photos and really showing off the projects is all about presentation.  Lighting is important too but it's not even 7 am and so there is no lighting right now (yes I know it's Saturday.  I have a problem).  So for today it's all about presentation.

For example, if I showed you this

you would be confused as to what it was you were looking at.  You might think you see some distinguishing characteristic, but would never really know unless I specifically told you what it was, and even then you'd probably never see it.

However, if I showed you this

you would immediately recognize it as a sweater (or at least part of one)!  See that?  See what I did there?  Yeah that's my sweater.  The sleeves are totally done.  The torso is about 2 inches away from being done, and then comes the scary part where I have to actually somehow join the sleeves to the torso.  Not sure how that's going to work.  I'd better brush up on my binding spells because I'm pretty sure magic is involved somehow.

In other news, my Daybreak/Sunset is trucking along.  It's one of those patterns where I decided not to follow the pattern exactly for the number of repeats and just make stripes until I ran out of the Noro, and then just knit the border until I run out of the black.  The problem with that, however, is that you have to figure out how much yarn each stripe takes.  I got to 18 stripes of each colour (the large size is 20 stripes), and had to make a decision.  I had about one whole colour repeat left, and each stripe at that point was taking roughly one whole colour repeat.  However, each subsequent stripe of colour is 14 stitches longer than the stripe before it, so each stripe takes more and more yarn.  I debated for awhile...  either I cut the yarn and play it safe, or I put it all on the line and go for it.  Worst case scenario I would fall a couple of inches short and have to tink around 900 stitches.  There was roughly a 95% chance that I would run a bit short.  So what did I do?

I played it safe.  I know I know, you were hoping that I would risk it and subsequently have a story about how I either reigned victorious (highly unlikely) or had to suffer through a massive amount of tinking (very very likely).  But no, I cut the yarn and sacrificed what may have been another whole stripe (again, very unlikely, although maybe I'm just trying to convince myself that I did the right thing).  This is all of the Noro I had left:

It might look like a lot but it's really just a loose lump of yarn, and keep in mind that I would have had to get around 1000 stitches out of it, which is quite a lot.  Also most of it is a lighter purple colour and not that brilliant purple/blue that you see in the front.  So I ended the striped part on a really bright colour instead of a lighter one.  Is this enough justification for you?  Good.

No more pictures of the Daybreak/Sunset until it's done, which will (hopefully... maybe) be today.  It's so close to being done I can almost taste it wear it!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

They say bad news comes in threes

A couple of months ago I got a text message from my brother that said this:

"I got mustard all over my knitted gloves.  How do I wash 'em?"

This, of course, is a knitter's second favourite sort of information to get.  After explaining to him to use mild soap and let them soak but don't scrub too much or the wool will start to felt, and then let them air dry, I tried to show that I wasn't upset by saying that mustard adds character so if the washing doesn't work, it's no big deal.  I didn't get any further explanation from him than "It was a comedy of errors," and I didn't pry any further.

Around Christmas (after giving him the pepperoni pizza scarf), I asked him if the washing of his mittens had been successful.  He said "Oh, yeah the washing worked fine, but I lost the mittens."  Mustard on knitwear is second favourite because the outright loss of a knitted item is possibly the best thing to hear.

Mustard is fixable.  Outright loss, however, is harder to overcome by ingenuity.  Then the next thing he said was, "No rush or anything, but if you wanted to make me new mittens, that would be cool."

Being a good big sister it wasn't long before I had planned and made the new mittens.  I had yarn leftover from the pizza scarf, so I thought, why not make matching mittens?  However, I didn't want to make mittens with pepperoni pieces on them, (trust me, if I ever crochet another pepperoni slice it'll be too soon), so I opted for simple stripes.

I didn't mind making the new mittens because the benefit of the new mittens over the old ones would be threefold:

1. I'd make them a bit longer because I had noticed the old mittens were a little too small on him when I first gave them to him.
2. The colours would hide mustard (and even ketchup!) stains better than the old mittens.
3. The new mittens would be more unique, and thus harder to lose.  Whereas the old mittens were grey and easy to misplace, the new mittens look like this:

They also have the added benefit of being Gryffindor colours, if you're into that sort of thing.  I gave them to him yesterday as an early birthday present (although I think I forgot to tell him that they were an early birthday present... so happy early birthday little bro!).  Not that he reads this blog, pretty sure he's too cool for that, or at least too busy playing Doom.

Then, a few days ago I was visiting my parents and asked my dad if he'd worn the fingerless mittens that I made him for Christmas.  He said he hadn't gotten a chance to yet, and then asked me if I only knit with wool these days.  I said that yes, most of what I knit is some form of wool.  He then confessed that wool makes him terribly itchy, and asked if I could maybe make him some fingerless mittens out of... wait for it... this is hard to say.... Ok here goes....



I know, it's painful, but we'll get through this together.  I told him I had some acrylic in my stash and I could see if there was something suitable in there but that I wasn't hopeful.  I then suggested Berocco Vintage which is a 50% wool, 50% acrylic blend, and perhaps would that be okay?  I don't think I can bring myself to go out and buy some new acrylic.  Not even for my dad.

So if my brother's lost mittens was strike one, my dad being unable to wear his mittens was strike two.

At least there is still one man in my life who loves and cares for the things I knit for him, few as they may be (well except for that never-worn acrylic scarf made in the earlier days of my relationship with him, and before my relationship with wool).  The Enabler has been the recipient of two much loved knitted items.  A pair of socks, and these gloves, which are the texter gloves by Kim Hamlin.

As soon as I finished them back in October, he started wearing them, and has worn them pretty much every day since, even through that one week in January that it was -30 C every day.  Every day when he picks me up from work, he grabs the gloves off of the passenger seat before I sit down because by the time he gets to my office from his office, the car is warm enough that he doesn't need gloves, and he's usually playing with his phone while he waits for me.

Until today.  The absence of the gloves when he picked me up was immediately conspicuous, and it didn't take long until he said those three little words...

"I lost them."

My initial thought was not one of panic, but just disbelief that they were actually lost.  "I'm sure they'll turn up," I said.  Where could they have gone in between home and work?  And then I remembered that he had gone on errands during the day.  We determined the places that he had been during the day and I asked if he had called them yet.  He said no, so of course I decided that they would be at one of those places.

Once we stopped driving he made his phone call to the first place.  No gloves.  He called the second place.  No gloves there either.  He called the third place, and they told him to call back in 10 minutes while they looked and asked around.  I was convinced that they would be at that third place.  For 10 whole minutes I knew that they would definitely be there.  After the 10 minutes, he called back....

And no gloves.

He feels terrible about it, I'm quite sure that he feels worse than I do.  The way I see it, is that I spent a little money on yarn and a few hours of my time, which hardly even counts.  And for this negligible cost of time and money he got 4 months of good glove use.  Gloves can be remade.  I don't even have to buy the yarn because I've got half of the ball leftover.

Even so, I guess it's strike three.  We'll call it strike two-and-a-half.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Sweater Avoidance

I don't have much of a sweater update today.  I worked on it a bit over the week but it pretty much looks the same as it did last weekend.  I started increasing for the bust (although not very much), and I have about 2/3 of a sleeve.  That's it.  It's not really portable anymore so it doesn't leave the house, and anyway it's hard to get really excited about 97 billion miles of greyish purple moss stitch when I have projects like this on the go.

The pattern is Daybreak by Stephen West.  I guess it's called Daybreak because it looks like a sunrise?  Although I'm a contrarian so I'm calling mine Sunset because these colours remind me more of a sunset than a sunrise.  Once I got into a rhythm with it and didn't have to look at the pattern anymore it became a really fun and relaxing knit.  And, as opposed to the sweater, which is 148 zillion miles of the same colour, each stripe is a different colour!  The yarns I'm using are malabrigo sock and Noro Silk Garden Sock, which is exactly the right yardage for the largest size of the shawl as written in the pattern, but I've pretty much decided that I'm just going to keep making stripes until my Noro runs out.  It might not even be an issue because I might use all the Noro even though it still looks like I have lots left.  I think at last count I had 12 stripes of each colour, and the pattern says to go until 20 stripes of each.  Each stripe (4 row repeat) increases the stitch count by 14.  I have no idea what my current stitch count is but it's a lot, and apparently it's going to increase by a lot more.  I don't really want to know how many stitches it is.  I'm pretty sure I can't count that high.  All I care about is the colours... oh the colours....

I've also been working on my Snicket Socks.  Now that I've been working on them for a little while, I've realized a few things about them that have given me pause.  Don't get me wrong, I love how they look, and I love the colour, although I still can't get it to photograph right, it's like they reflect light completely differently depending on whether a camera is focused on them or not.  The below picture was taken in direct sunlight and edited slightly and it's still not right but it's the best I can do.

As I was saying, there are a few weird things about this sock:

1. The pattern is kind of poorly written.  Or at least it's written in a way that I don't like after just having done a couple of other very cabled patterns.  Instead of doing an abbreviation section for the cable directions (e.g. writing C2F in the pattern and providing the direction once that C2F means to slip one stitch to the cable needle and hold to front of work, knit one, and then knit one from the cable needle), the designer has written out the direction "sl 1 st to cn and hold at front, kr1, kr1 from cn" each time.  This makes the direction much longer and more confusing looking than it needs to be.

(As an aside, I learned how to cable without a cable needle when I was knitting the snapdragon flip-tops because using a cable needle to hold one stitch is really annoying.  I'm really glad I learned how to do it because these socks would be HELL otherwise.  I used this tutorial video.  Oh knittinghelp, where would I be without you?)

2. Every knit stitch in the sock is knit through the back loop instead of the usual knit stitch which is knit through the front loop.  This has the effect of twisting every knit stitch.  It doesn't make it more difficult, it just makes me confused.  I think maybe it makes the cables stand out more?  Or makes them sturdier?  I'm almost tempted to try the same cable pattern just with some other yarn and knitting the knit stitches through the front instead of the back just to see what it looks like.  If anyone has some insight into what twisting the stitches accomplishes, please let me know.

3. In reading ahead in the pattern, it looks like the pattern continues all around the foot, top and bottom.  Nope, I was wrong.  I just didn't read far enough.  I was worried for a minute there that I was going to have to *gasp* adapt a pattern because I didn't relish the idea of walking on big ol' honeycombs.  Whew!  Disaster averted.

I guess the sock isn't that weird, it's just me that's weird because I don't understand things like twisted stitches and reading directions.

.....  OH!  I almost forgot.  In my last post I promised a non-prize for the blog reader who correctly guessed the identity of the mystery item in the photo.  Well as it happens, I only got two responses, both of them in person.  The Enabler, who read the post and said "I know what it is!" and I told him he wasn't eligible as he was there when said item was photographed.  The other response was from Christina who, at our Wednesday night knit and chat night, asked me if it was soap.  I told her it was not soap.  She then asked if it was something edible and I said that yes, it was something edible, but she did not venture to guess any further than that.  So I guess the non-prize has to go to Christina for being the closest.  Congrats Christina!

However, I'm disappointed I didn't get any other guesses.  I suppose the promise of no prize was not enough of a reward to type a couple of letters and click "publish".  What more do you want from me?!?  Sheesh.

Anyway, since clearly nobody is waiting with breathless anticipation, let's get this over with.  The mystery item is.....




Pesto Cheese!  And by the way, it was effing delicious.