Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Mousies!

Okay, I've been very bad about blogging my knitting. But if you've been trying to follow this blog (all 2 of you) you know that.

So I've made some mitts, and some socks, and I'll post pictures of them eventually.

But for right now, I just finished a couple of the pocket mice from Knitted Animals by Anne-Dorthe Grigaff.

Well, mostly from that book. I did modify them more than a little. Added whiskers, because mice need whiskers. And I used beads for eyes, not thread, because they're not going to small children, and mice need beady little eyes. And I added some yarn to be their front paws, because they needed stability. And the third one (on the bottom) I changed the knitting on the head, because I wanted it to be more centered. And I put in a couple sewing stitches in their shoulder blades, like the book says to do with the ducklings, to give them some shaping between the head and body.

But except for all that, they're the ones from the book!

They took less than 2 hours each to do. I think they're adorable. What do you guys think?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I knit a sock today!

A whole, entire sock. Beginning to end.

I cast on right after breakfast, and finished weaving in the last ends about 10 minutes before bedtime. (I'm staying up a bit late to write this, because I'm so chuffed.)

That's not all I did, either. I prepared and ate two meals, talked with my family, and did the chores I can do while still gimpy in one leg.

Nor was it a baby sock, or one that used really chunky yarn. It was a normal, full sized, adult hedgerow sock, with fingering yarn, and a tabi toe.

Now, understand, I knit almost entirely in isolation. So for all I know, this is the expected speed for continental knitting, and I'm doing the equivalent of standing up proudly and annoucing, "Look, everybody! I tied my shoes!"

If so, please indulge me. I've only been knitting for about 14 months, and this is significantly faster than I've ever finished a sock before.

It might have something to do with the needles.

When I learned to knit, the friend who taught me (and who occasionally knits with me, but who uses the English style, which I found slow enough that I taught myself Continental instead,) recommend that I buy Addi needles. So I've been knitting with Addi Turbo ever since I started.

A bit ago, I bought myself some Harmony interchangeable needles, but was so excited to get them that I didn't look at them carefully, and put two different sized needles on the cable, like a chump.

Which, umm... didn't work as well as you might think.

I was eager to try them again, but I was making socks, and the interchangeable needles aren't small enough.

So I used a gift certificate to KnitPicks that I got for Valentines, and ordered a set of Harmony Fixed Circulars in size 2, so I could make socks with them.

They cane today, about the time I was going to stop knitting and do some studying for a while instead; and I slipped the sock off the Addi and onto the Harmony. And then I knit, because they were so light, and beautiful, and aesthetically pleasing, and it was such fun to knit with them.

And kept on knitting. And, well, you know the rest.

I really, really like these needles.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mitt Pictures, and More...

Wow.. another month has just flown by.

First, here are the pictures I promised of the things I knit in February.

These are the silk mittens for my Friend with Cold Hands. This is the Cool Little Mitts pattern, knit according to the corrections. The right mitt is on the top, in both shots.


Cool Little Mitts; corrected incorrectly

(My Friend with Cold Hands hasn't yet sent the promised pictures of her hands in the mitts I made her, although she's told me that she loves them. That's a hint, Friend with Cold Hands, since I know you read this blog. :D )

This is the mitt, the way it looks in the book, and the way I knit it when I corrected the correction to match the uncorrected mitt. :D The right mitt is on the left. (Sorry if that's confusing.)

Cool Little Mitts; as they should be.

This may make it a bit clearer.

Cool Little Mitts; worn.

And, finally, the Rocky Road Raspberry socks I made for Skyia for Valentine's Day.

Rock Road Raspberry tabi socks.. with sandles.. in the snow

Yes, she's standing outside in the snow, in the new socks. (And holding up her jeans, so you can see them better.) This isn't so surprising when you consider that it was snowing just day before yesterday, too!

So, that's that. On to other things!

Some of you may know that I learned to knit in the first place because I wanted a pair of Endpaper Mitts, and I couldn't figure out any other way to get them. I cast on for them on Feb. 23, exactly one year and one day after I started to knit.

But I didn't get very far before I realized that this wasn't such a good project to take to the Dentist appointment I had later that week. So I put them aside, and started to knit the Hedgerow Socks, which had long been in my queue at Ravelry instead.

I really didn't expect to only wait for moments in the Dentist's office, before being taken to the back. But, as it turns out, it's really quick over there; and even if you count all three visits, (I needed a crown,) I only got a few rows done.

Add to that the fact that we've decided to buy a house, since this seems like a really good time to do that, between one thing and another, and the fact that I injured my knee a couple of weeks ago, and I haven't gotten much knitting in.

(Yeah, a nice knee injury seems like the perfect time to knit, but really, I didn't feel much like doing anything at all, so I just sat and read books when it was too bad to even get downstairs to the computers to work.)

So, counting the knitting I did on it yesterday, I'm still not finished with the first sock! Which is pitiful, I know, but there you go.

I'm going to try to got some knitting in every day for a while, in penance. Well, okay, it's not really in penance, but I am really going to try. I just timed it, and it only takes about 10 minutes to do four rows on the sock, which is one full pattern repeat now that I'm on the foot and half of it is just stockinette. Is that really slow, with 64 stitches in a row? It feels like it, but I'm not experienced enough to even know.

If I try to go any faster, I make mistakes, and it turns out to take more time, not less.

But I should be able to manage 10 minutes of knitting a night, and if I can, it'll really increase my production! That would come out to 24 rows between Mondays, which is lots more than.. ummm... none.

We'll see how it goes!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cool Little Mittens

I've spent the better part of the last couple of days knitting mitts.

Yeah, I know, usually I can only knit on Mondays; but a friend with cold hands sent me this bag of yarn, months and months ago, in return for making her a pair of fingerless mitts. Trouble was, I couldn't find a pattern that would work with the Tweedy Silk yarn that she really wanted mitts made from.

Then, a couple of weeks ago, I ordered a set of Options Harmony interchangeable needles from Knit Picks, and while I was at it, I ordered some gorgeous yarn, and a book called Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders, since all the books were on sale.

I finally had a chance to look at the book on Thursday night late, and found a pattern that I liked, and that only called for 102 yards of yarn.

The silk tweed had 104 yards, so I figured I could do this, if I was very careful.

As I said, the yarn has been sitting here, looking at me accusingly, for months. So I decided to take the day yesterday, and knit them up.

Now, I'd been warned that this book, although lovely, is full of errors. I'd been told to go to the Corrections Page for the book and check the errata before knitting anything.

So I did that, and found the corrections.

According to the corrections, the cuff should have been 3 inches long, not 2 inches.

But I decided not to change that, since I wasn't sure if the mitt had been knitted with a 2 inch cuff when it only took 102 yards of yarn, and I didn't have enough wiggle room to risk it.

However, the corrections also said to change which stitches were put on the holder to make the thumb, for the Left Mitt.

So I faithfully followed the corrected pattern. (Well, eventually I did. First I decided to put the marker for the left thumb increases before the increase, not after, because I thought it would be easier to keep track of, and what difference did it make? Then I found out what difference it makes, when I realized that I'd gone up the wrong side of the "v", and had to tink 16 rows. I won't be making that mistake again!)

The thing is, this book has the pictures all in the front, and the patterns in the back. So you're not looking at a picture while you make the mitts.

I had them both finished, except for the thumb on the left one, and was looking at them, when I said to myself, "Self, I thought the ribbing over the palm looked cooler than this."

So I turned back to the image, and took a look. And sure enough, it looked much cooler, and totally different! It was clear, from a single glance, that the Corrections had "corrected" the wrong hand! The left thumb had been done correctly, in the book. It was the right thumb that had been published with instructions to put the wrong stitches on the holder.


I could just see myself unworking the bindoff, tinking back 13 rows to the thumb, unworking the thumb on one mitt, and then changing which stitches were going to be used to make the thumb, and knitting them all back up again.

So I went to bed, instead. After all, it was very late. I was allowed.

This morning, when I got up, I looked at the mittens, and tried them on again. And I thought to myself, "Self, these fit really really well. I will cry if I tink and reknit, and then they don't fit as well as they do now. What shall I do?"

I answered myself, "Self, let's make another pair, and see if they fit better or worse. And while we're at it, we can check to see if we're right about how to correct the corrections, since we've only been knitting for a year (almost) and can very easily be wrong about this stuff."

So I did that.

I got some beautiful dark turquoise Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK out of my stash, cast on, and knit a swatch. (See, I'm good, I am!) While doing that, I realized that the whole ball was going to have to be rewound, because part of it had fallen off the rest, and had gotten all tangled.

I was also going to have to move up a needle size. The Cashmerino is much, much softer and springer than the silk. (Too bad it has the merino wool in it. My friend with cold hands would love it; but she's allergic to wool.)

So I rewound, cast on with a larger needle, made gauge, and knit the mitt. And I was right; if you apply the written Correction from the website to the right hand, not the left, and make the left as written in the book, the mitts match the photograph in the book perfectly.

This is what they look like, in the book, and with the Correction corrected to match the uncorrected mitt, instead of the corrected one. If you're making these, and you want them to look like this, the left mitt is correct, in the book. You need to change the right mitt to match it.

Cool Little Mitts; as they should be.

I was also right about the fit, though. The mitts look much cooler. But they don't fit nearly as well. The fit when you make them "wrong" is unbelievable. They fit like... well, like a glove! A well-fitting glove.

However, they look like this. Nice, but not nearly as cool as they were meant to be. The right mitt is on the top, in this shot. (It's on the left, in the blue mitts; but don't think about that. I sure didn't, when I was taking the pictures!)

Cool Little Mitts; corrected incorrectly

So my friend with cold hands is getting the pair that feels great on, since I decided not to spend a lot of time making them not fit as well, even though they would look cooler. I hope that's okay, friend with cold hands. (/me waves to her cold-handed friend.)

However, while I was finishing up the thumb on the right hand of the "test" pair, Michael came home from a business trip. I explained to him what had been going on, and gave him the (now completed) right mitt in the cahsmerino to see.

He tried it on, and then clutched it to his chest, looked at me with his best "puppy dog eyes" and said, "Can I have a pair like this, someday?"

So, of course, I knit the left mitt, and he's getting those. It's his "turn" anyway.

I also learned another thing, knitting two pair of mitts in two days like this.

When you're using Option Harmony needles, it's really, really important to make sure that you have attached the same needle size to both ends of the cable. Not only will it be much, much, much easier to slip the stitches back on the needle, but the knitting will look nicer, too.

Just sayin'.

Pictures when I get them! And if you want the corrections for the pattern, let me know, and I'll post it in the Comments.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rocky Raspberry Socks finished

The Rocky Road socks are done, in time for Valentine's Day (almost.)

This is what they look like, outside in the snow, because we still have plenty of that.

Rock Road Raspberry tabi socks.. with sandles.. in the snow

And inside, so you can see the tabi toes more easily.

Rock Road Raspberry tabi socks.. with sandles.. in the snow

This is actually a mix of two of the kits from Chameleon Colorworks "Sock of the Month" club.

I don't remember which month had the "Rocky Road" sock pattern, but this yarn came from the October sock. It was all lace and a black spider, so, since I wasn't going to knit that, and since I wanted to make a Valentine's present for Skyia, I used the truly beautiful yarn for these socks.

These photographs really doesn't do it justice; but it looks very valentine-y.

Once again, these needed to be Tabi socks, so I modified the pattern, using yet another Tabi Toe that I happened to have in a pattern here. Thing is, Skyia was at work when I got to the toe on the first sock, so I made it up anyway, and hoped. Turns out her toes are quite a bit longer than the pattern seemed to think they were going to be, and were crunched in the sock.

So I got to practice undoing Kitchner Stitch, tinking back to before the decreases, adding more yarn in, and knitting them back up with a few more rows before the decrease. For the grouped toes, and for the big toe. (She pretended the big toe was okay so I wouldn't have to do the extra work, until I got the second sock done with toes that actually fit. And then she admitted that it was really uncomfortable, and needed more rows.)

The pair is done now, though, and fits beautifully, so it all turned out!

I also have pictures of the socks I finished for Michael at the end of January. Sorry they are so late. (I'm not sure I even blogged about getting them done. It's been that kind of month.) Tabi toes, of course. I'm not sure I'll ever get to do a simple, plain toe again! Even I want the Tabi toes, and I'm going to try yet another version of them in the socks I started today, for me. But that's fodder for another post. :D

This was also a Chameleon Colorworks Sock Club sock; the September one. I changed the cuff and the toes, but had quite a lot of fun doing the "after thought" heel. It was a bit scary putting the needles back in, pulling out the provisional yarn, and hoping that I'd caught all the stitches. But it turned out it wasn't any more difficult than picking up stitches to do the gusset on a "regular" sock.

And having a different color for the heels and toes is worth not being able to try the sock on while it's being made (as long as you've measured things like toe length ahead of time. :D )

So, here they are on a very sunny day, with Michael's feet in them.

Michael's feet, in the socks

And here they are without his feet, so you can see the stitches and things a bit better. This toe was from the tabi socks in Not Just More Socks by Sandi Rosner, by the way.

Harvest Basket tabi socks, unworn

And here is a picture of the Swirling Gauntlets that I made for my friend in CA. (She says that she's going to send me photos of her hands in them, so when she does that, I'll post them here.)

Swirling Gauntlet mitts

As you can see, I damaged them a bit around the thumb when I was trying to stretch them out. But she has very politely said that it doesn't matter. Of course, that was before she actually saw them...

So, today I started another pair of socks, for me, because I had a dentist's appointment, and I was fairly nervous and wanted something that would take my mind off the waiting. As it turns out, she just looked and scheduled me for a "core and crown" next week. So I'm not hurting now; but I will be. :D

And that's all for now. Pictures when I get them! Bye!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mitts and a hat!

After a bit of a hiatus because of one thing and another, I managed to get some knitting time this past week. And there was much rejoicing.

First, an online friend of mine sent me, literally, a bagfull of yarn from Elann. All she asked in return was that I knit a pair of fingerless mitts for her.

So, I combed the web, or at least the Ravelery Pattern Pages, and found a couple of patterns. The thing is, she's allergic to wool, and most of the yarn she sent has wool in it. But there were two balls of a cotton-linen blend, in dark red, that does not. And one of gray tweedy silk.

I wasn't sure that I could make a pair of mitts from one ball of yarn. So I decided to make a "test" pair from the red, even though I knew by then (because I asked) that she really wanted the tweedy gray. See, I have never seen her, and I have no idea at all how large her hands are.

So I got those started a week ago, and finished them on Monday. And it only took a single ball of yarn! They came out very nicely, I thought. But much too small for anyone in this household. They drew quite tightly across the palm, and I wasn't sure that it wasn't a design flaw in the pattern. So I sent them to work with Skyia, and one of her coworkers could wear them very well. (Whew)

Which meant that they needed to be washed and blocked. I checked the label very carefully, and it said, "Machine wash, gentle, cold water. Dry flat"

So I cheerfully tossed them into the machine, on the gentle cycle, with cold water.

And they shrank!

Before, I could get my hand in, no trouble, they just pulled across the palm. After, it was all I could do to force my hand in at all. But force I did, because I wasn't about to give them up. (They are quite pretty, even if they'll never fit me. I'm thinking of making a pair my size, though, and Michael has already told me that he wants one. they are that good looking.)

I think it'll be okay. They are drying now. I'll take pictures, so I can post them, and then I'm sending them off to my friend in California. If they fit her, I'll see if I can get her to take photos of her hands to show you. If not, she's going to send them back, and I'll give them to a preteen I know.

And then, Thursday, I made a hat.

It was Skyia's birthday on Friday, so I got out the last of the purple fuzzy yarn that I made her mitts out of, last winter, and decided there was enough left for a hat. I had her choose a pattern, went to the yarn store and bought big needles, and made her the 5 Hour Hat from Dyabolical Yarns.

Even with size 13 needles, though, I couldn't make gauge; and I decided that I didn't want the yarn any looser than that. So I added a few stitches around, and a few rows to the crown, and got a hat that Skyia said fit "perfectly."

It only took about four and a half hours, too, even with the extra knitting.

I'll post pictures when I get them.

In the meantime, it feels strange to be making only one of something. When I think about it, I've never done that before. Everything else I've ever knitted, in the nearly a year that I've been knitting, was one of a pair!

I think I'll make another hat, just so it feels like I've finished. :D

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Santa's Mitts

I've been so busy doing things that I haven't had time to blog about doing them.

Most of them haven't been knitting (it's that time of year) but I did get the mitts for Santa done in time for him to wear them for the first big parade that he did, right after Thanksgiving.

I think they turned out rather well.

The finished mitts, unworn

He likes them a lot, they are warm, and the kids are as scared of him when he has them on over his white gloves. (I wondered if they'd work that way, since small children get hurt by people in white gloves aka doctors.)

The mitts, worn with gloves, modeled by Santa Himself


In order to get them, though, I had to do a lot of things I've never done before, like dye wool with food coloring. That was an adventure, all by itself.

See, when I looked at the knitting I'd done in the last post (was that two months ago! Oh dear! I'm so sorry!) I realized that I didn't really care for the colors much at all.

So I got on line, and started to look for the nice green and bright yellow-gold that I wanted. I couldn't find them. Not in Super Wash wool, anyway, and I needed super wash, because Santa sees a lot of kids, and kids get things kind of sticky. Santa's gloves need to be washed a lot, and it's much, much easier if they can be washed by tossing them in with whatever load I'm washing.

I did, however, find some very reasonably priced bare Superwash wool at Knit Picks. So I decided to get a couple of skeins, and dye some of it the colors I wanted, and use the rest as white.

When it came, I was absolutely delighted with it. It's the softest wool imaginable; not a bit harsh or scratchy, and really really nice to work with.

So the next weekend, I thought I'd go ahead and dye it, so I'd have the dry, colored wool to start knitting on the following Monday.

I divided it up, and soaked some in vinegar, according to the directions I'd found, and then dyed it with food coloring.

The green and yellow came out exactly the shades I wanted. The blue, not so much; but I liked the cobalt I'd purchased, so that was alright.

But I learned a very valuable lesson about not swishing the wool around while it's dying.

On that Monday, instead of knitting, I spent the day untangling wool. All. Day. Long. By the end of the day, though, it was all neatly made into Cakes, waiting to begin knitting the following weekend.

Which I did.

The knitting itself was great fun, and went quite well. I got the mitts done two Mondays, and a bit on one other day, to get them ready by the day Michael needed them. So about 2 and a half days of knitting to make the pair.

I haven't done any knitting since, though, because the last couple of weeks have been like that. More next Monday!