Random thoughts of a fiber enthusiast - mostly fiber related, sometimes coherent

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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.

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.

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