A Mitten

Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s Cloisonee mitten caught my attention the other day – oodles of bright colors on the cuff – and even though I am in the middle of a few knitting projects, I had to try them out.  The cuff is what makes the mitten, and the fact you can do it in any colors you want, and as long as you want, make it a fun project.  Being a magpie, I flew to it!

I did change the pattern, though.  I did not have any worsted weight hanging around, but a lot of double knitting weight.  I had some Heilo, some Cowboy Colors, and pushed them together until I found a pleasing arrangement.  My gauge is 6 sts / inch on size 3 needles with this yarn, so I did the largest pattern.  I also want to note that with an increase of 4 sts. after the cuff is done, and picking up only 1 st where the thumb stitches are, the knitter is still left with 44 sts. on the needle (unless I missed something).  As a result, the final decreases, done every 5th st. will not work out.  I picked up another stitch to make the final hand a multiple of 5 stitches – 45.

Project Inventory

Today is nearing the end of the spring break.  The weather has been wonderful, with a day of rain to clear the air, and sunny days with wind and fair skies.  The trees are budding into leaf, the birds are making love songs, and the squirrels, well, are going nuts.

And in the middle of all this, I have managed to get a grip on things, meet up with people for lunch, read a bit, knit, and think about (but not do) some gardening.  I have a fig tree and plum tree which need attention, a vine to move, and so on.  And a lot of knitting projects.  When I have time to play, I like to begin things.  But do they get done?

Owls

All I need to do is sew on the buttons – but I made a mistake in the darts so, rip it or not? This is a pattern by Kate Davies at Needled.

Buttoned Cardigan

Only a few inches left on the sleeve and I am done. What’s taking me so long?  This is a cardigan by Eva Weichmann, owner of Eva’s Needlework in Thousand Oaks, CA, which I’ve mentioned before.


Top Down Beret from Hell

I’m beginning the decreasing toward the brim . . . not soon enough!

Hat in Design Mode

I found an issue here – bobble placement. Back to the drawing board.

Golden Autumn by Lucy Sweetland

Just a gorgeous hat, but I got sidetracked.  Lucy is one of my favorite designers and photographers.

Gloves

One hand down, another to go.

Mittens in Design Mode

Out of my Cascade 220 stash.

The Relentless Scarf

So boring I can’t stand it.

Socks

Lots of socks.  Too many.  And this is not all the inventory, either.

Socks to be Ripped

The yarn is from Riihivilla in Finland, naturally dyed with cochineal and indigo.  I’ve decided that the yarn is too pretty to hide on my feet, so now all this is sitting on my desk while I reconsider how to use the yarn to show it off.

Victorian Lace Shawl

Nearly done. It’s been sitting on a shelf for two years. I don’t know what is taking me so long, but I think it will get finished pretty soon.  It is a beautiful yarn, perfect for the pattern, and the colors have a lovely iridescence.

What’s a girl to do?

Double Knitting

In the past few months I’ve given thought to double knitting, which is the creation of mirrored patterns on a double layer of fabric. I’ve found some patterns that really have caught my attention. What really got me more interested was one called Cheesehands, by Julia Mueller. I really like the design – it’s a small project – and I have someone in mind who likes warm hands.

It also has a matching hat, so the temptation to knit is there! The pattern is quite cheerful, I think, and certainly worth the effort of learning double knitting.

Also, if you like gloves, Julia Mueller has incredible patterns, from whimsical to classical. Her other items include socks and hats. Check her stuff out on Ravelry.  Her cable and twisted stitches are different and intriguing.

The current edition of the Twist Collective has a lot of gorgeous patterns, and a hat called Four Winds by Alasdair Post-Quinn.

The article he wrote about double knitting is quite good.  What is even better are the videos embedded within.  These videos enhance reading about the whole process, including his incredible cast-on that allows the knitter to begin knitting immediately.  For me, the long-tail cast-on like this has always been confusing.  For some reason, it makes sense here.  (My long tail is very different.  I think it is easier.  Maybe I’ll film it one day.)

Here are the three videos in the article.

Double Knitting Cast-On

Double Knitting – Regular and Twisted Stitch

Double Knit Decreases

Interestingly, when getting the links on YouTube for Alasdair’s videos, I found that there are quite a few from the Twist Collective which I plan to check out.

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In the meantime, I plan to finish a few hats and a shawl and a sleeve before I take on double knitting.  And paint a few pictures.  And prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday.

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Addendum: I lied.  I started playing with double knitting.  Here is a link with some good tutorials:  Golden Apples.

94 Days Until Christmas

The Buttoned Cardigan is at a point where I have to focus and pick up stitches for the sleeves.  I like to do this when it is quiet, when there is good daylight, and I can listen to music that soothes the nerves.  Calmness.  Once I’m there, I will be able to work on the sleeves and watch a movie, but until that point comes, it is time to work on more mindless projects, or at least the sections which I deem mindless.  And, with only a few days left for Christmas, I felt it was a good time to begin work on projects for family members.

The two projects I have going on right now are Anemoon, by Lucy Sweetland, and Ishbel, by Ysolda Teague.

Lucy Sweetland is a very talented designer and photographer, with an eye for clean design combined with beautiful touches. Anemoon is an example (see below). Her Emerald Mitts are also another example.   Check out her blog, A Black Pepper.  There is a link for her under the “blogroll” to right, as there is for Ysolda Teague of Scotland.  Ysolda is another talented designer who creates everything from little mice and mushrooms to intricate sweaters.

Anemoon

A number of years ago I attended a conference at Asilomar in Northern California where I took a dyeing class with Nancy Finn of Chasing Rainbows Dyeworks. From this workshop, I have about 300 yards of single ply mohair-wool blend that is sort of a mottled purple. Knitted up, a stitch here and there stands out, bright against the rest of the stitches. It is this yarn that I am using for the Anemoon beret by Lucy Sweetland, author of “A Black Pepper” blog.

I think the word “anemoon” is Dutch, and means “anemone” in English. The anemone is a beautiful flower, elegantly simple.

This beret is like the flower – very elegant, simple, with a sophisticated design. Cables emerge from the body of the beret, not out of the ribbing as most cables do.  A number of plain, purled rounds are done, and then the cables begin, like a stem, to emerge and twine, with bobbles like flowers to add interest.

Straight out, cables annoy me! I really don’t like the idea of doing an Aran sweater at all. In a beret or hat, cables don’t go on and on and on. Much more fun!

Anemoon is intriguing because the cables weave in and out, yet are held within four panels which repeat themselves.  I’ve separated out the panels by containing them with different colored stitch markers setting up their boundaries, and a different one to mark the beginning of each round.  For someone like me who doesn’t like doing a lot of cables, Anemoon is the perfect project.  What you see here was accomplished, once the ribbing was done, in a few hours of a lazy afternoon. I’ve totally enjoyed the rhythm of the cables and watching them grow along with the hat.

This yarn makes me think of storm clouds as they fly across the sky. Colors shift and puddle, and then change in the blink of an eye.

Ishbel

I began Ishbel just a few days ago, and am in the process of doing the stockinette that leads into the lace. Pleasant, easy knitting – perfect for doing in front of the television. The color is a lovely turquoise merino-bamboo blend single-ply. I’ve got about 400 yards, so the small Ishbel may be the one I end up making. As a shawl, or neck scarf, the yarn will be very pleasant against the skin as it is not scratchy at all. I am making Ishbel for a family member who walks to work; she can wear it on those chilly mornings approaching so soon.

Who Gets Anemoon??

While I’ve got definite plans for Ishbel, I must admit, this Anemoon may end up on my head! I’ve got the ribbing of another started in a white tweed for another family member . . .

And for More Distraction   . . .

Look what came in today’s mail!  I’m in trouble now! I still have my Selbuvotter mittens to finish!

Isn’t it good?

There is just something about color knitting – stranded knitting – that gets me more than anything else.  Of late, I’ve been enjoying the making of hats and mitts and gloves, in cables and in lace, but ahhh!  Color!  Truly addicting.  This WIP is from Terri Shea’s book Selbuvotter, and this is NHM #7.

NHM 7 - d

NHM 7 - c

I’ve only been working on these for a few days, but I think I should be done in about a week, between work and classes and life….

NHM 7 - b