Spring Cleaning #5

squirrel-mittenProject #4: Squirrel Mittens

I started these in the fall of 2007 and abandoned it on November 21, 2007.  How do I know the exact date? It was the date that I IMed with my sister about this project.  I had intended this to be mittens for Iris.

Obviously, it won’t fit her now.  She’s been growing like a weed.  Thankfully, Martin’s family is providing me with lots of little ones that I can give these to.  I just need to figure out what “year” to put on it.  My original intent was to put the Iris’ birth year on this, but I think I’ll just put the year that it is finished, so it can be passed between the cousins.  I’m hoping it will say 2009.  (At least I’ll have a chance to finish it in the correct century.)

The yarn is hand spun merino.  I believe at least the dark brown is from Nebo Rock, processed by Morro Bay.  I was aiming to replicate Koigu. I’ve mostly succeeded.  The yarn is a bit thicker, but, oh-boy, I think it is much softer and springy-er than Koigu. Yes, it’s that yummy.

Decision: In the queue after the shrug.  And give it to one of the Woolsey/McDonough kids, just in time for high summer.  But because they live in the Pacific Northwest, they may need it to watch the fireworks on the Fourth of July!

Project Updates:

  • Circular Shrug: I have 3 more panels left on the edging before I can start the sleeves.  The project is getting too large for dragging around, so it has been relegated to TV watching project. I think this will be done just in time for the cool summer evenings!
  • Anarchist Sweater: Grace has offered to take the project off my hands.

Cabling Along

cable-mittWhen I first started to knit cables, I used those metal cable needles that looked like a shepherd’s crook. I hated it. Moving stitches around the crook was a PITA.

I moved on to the metal cable needles with a little hump in the middle, like an elongated omega (Ω). This wasn’t bad. You can knit directly off of the needle, but my stitches were always in danger of slipping off of the needle.

Then I found the wooden cable needles with the little grooves in them. I thought I was in hog heaven. Everything is staying put. I even progressed to using whatever random DPN I had laying around. I learned this trick from Eva. Don’t know why it never occurred to me until I saw Eva do it when she was making the DNA scarf for an auction.

I knew about cabling without a cable needle, but the thought of leaving live stitches hanging out there, flapping in the breeze, was enough to give this control freak a heart attack.

This isn’t to say that I haven’t attempted it. I just wasn’t comfortable with it. And it took just as long, if not longer, than it would for me to execute the cable with a cable needle.

This year at Madrona, I took 2 classes that worked on my fear of cabling without cable needles: Lucy Neatby’s Even Cooler Socks and Elsebeth Lavold’s Viking Knits and Mitered Corners in Cabling.

Lucy showed me why I was having so much difficulty with my earlier attempts at cabling without a cable needle — I was manipulating my stitches too much. All that movement allowed the stitches to be stretched and ladder.  She showed me how to minimize the gymnastics and get the stitches mounted quickly and easily.  Elsebeth’s class allowed me to practice the technique over and over again until I was comfortable with it.  I, unknowingly, had the classes in the correct order.  Lucky me.

This week, when I picked up the yarn leftover from these socks to make a wrist warmer, I thought I’d spice it up and add some cables to it and practice my cabling without cable needles.  Of course, to fit the cables, the wrist warmers became fingerless mitts/gauntlets.  The good news? The immediate and repeated practice at Madrona was enough to imprint the methodology into my brain. There was the barest hint of a hiccup before I was zipping along. Before I knew it, the mitt was done, and nary a cable needle in sight.

Now, I just need to remember what I did so I can make the left hand mitt.

Fall is in the air

And it’s been cold.  Walking the dog now means long pants and sweaters instead of shorts and t-shirts.  My fingers are cold.  I can’t find my fingerless gloves, then I remembered that I left them up on the island for keeping my hands warm while walking on the beach.  It’s time to make another pair.  My eyes fell on the Green Bananas yarn.  It’s a bit thicker than what I like for socks (almost DK weight), but they are perfect for gloves. The first one took nearly a full day, since I was making up the pattern as I went.  3 rip outs later, I’ve got a glove.  The second one went quickly because I just matched it to the one already knit.  Unfortunately, I didn’t measure quite correctly (difficult to see when the lights are dimmed at the club and belly dancers are doing their thing), so it’s slightly smaller than the first.  But they’ll keep my hands warm while walking the dog.  He won’t mind.

Specs:
Gauge: 5 sts/in
Needles: US #4 (3.5 mm)
Pattern: My own, using the wide gusset recipe from Interweave Knits, Winter 2003. Gusset over 2 sts instead of 4; increased to 14 sts for thumb gusset. 3 row picot hem. 32 sts around. Otherwise, fit as I went to determine when/where to start fingers.

Hodgepodge

I made the mistake of taking a Claritin-D last night. I was careful by checking my blood pressure before and an hour or so after taking it. No increase in my BP. So far so good. But 4 hours later, I woke up and wasn’t able to go back to sleep. I was wired. BP still good, but couldn’t relax. I had forgotten what the extended pseudophedrine does to me.

So what’s a girl to do? Go to her spinning wheel and experience a little zen.

The Beat Goes On

This is “The Beat Goes On” colorway (discontinued) from Crown Mountain Farms. I sort of followed Teyani‘s directions for spinning the fiber, with one difference. I broke the roving into approx 10″ lengths. I ended up with approximately 60 lengths each of light and dark. I’ll be spinning 20 lengths of each onto 3 separate bobbins for a 3 ply yarn. The singles are approximately 40 wpi.

Isn’t it pretty?

And you know what? It worked. My body and brain settled down enough 90 minutes later for me to head back to bed for another 3 hours.

Oh, and you see that bit of fluff where the red arrow is pointing? It was a tip I picked up at SOAR. Remember my complaint of the rattle with the new WooLee Winder? It turns out that it’s because of my spinning method (semi-long-draw). When the tension is taken off of the spun fiber for drawing in, the mechanism has a bit too much play and rattles. By tying a bit of yarn around it gave it just enough cushion to muffle the rattle. It still rattles a bit, but no longer as annoying as it did before.

Near Anarchy ChartBy the way, look at this! See all those tick marks? Yup. I’m 3 squares from finishing the body of the sweater. I was hoping to finish it by 2008, but I’ll have to settle for finishing the body by 2008.

I think I will seam it up and work the neckline and waistband before starting the sleeves. That way, I’ll know exactly how much of each color I have remaining. I’ll work the sleeves in stripes instead of squares, as shown on the book’s back cover.

The colors are approximate and not exactly me (except the purple, which I bought later when I decided to work this sweater). They worked better for my stepmother, for whom I picked the yarn out for. But it should be a nice cozy sweater for wearing around the house or walking the dog.

To close, here’s a picture of the finished fingerless gloves. As I said earlier, they are dense and warm. A little bit of all the colors in the repeat shows up in each glove to make them definitely fraternal, but not identical. I like.

Fingerless Gloves

P.S. I finally signed up for Ravelry. My screen name is FiberMusings. Now I can see what the fuss is about.

Fingerless Gloves Done

No pictures. I’ve caught a lovely chill from an adorable cherub over Christmas, and am confined to bed.

The fingerless gloves are definitely fraternal, not identical. I’ve already worn them a few times while walking the dog. With the temperatures dropping to the 40s, they have been perfect dog walking gloves. The fingers are free to do what they need to do. The fabric is dense to keep not only the chill off, but also the light breeze.

The finger lengths do not line up because I didn’t do such a great job of counting the rows. But that’s okay. I feel rather bohemian when I wear them. Now, I just need a drafty artist loft in Paris and drink café by the bucket load.