Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cursing the Cable

After taking a long, hard look at my current UFOs I decided I probably shouldn't cast on anything new unless I could actually finish something first. I have at least 4 pairs of socks, 2 shawls, a pair of fingerless mitts and probably some other things lurking around here.
Since it's still pretty cold I decided the fingerless mitts would be a good addition to my wardrobe this winter and even into spring so I dug them out and started working on them again.
The pattern is Cursed Cable Mitts, it was gifted to me by a friend who wanted a buddy to knit them with her. I'm totally going to call her out and say that I'm not sure she's knitting them anymore. Sorry Becca.
I'm knitting it slowly because I find the cable to be very frustrating.

I adore the way it looks (albeit hard to see in this photo) like a woven panel that runs the length of the mitt) but it's a lot of cabling and I was trying to do it without a cable needle. It turns out that for this cable, without a cable needle doesn't work for me so I dug out a cable needle. I promptly lost that cable needle and tried a spare DPN, when that didn't work, I went to another style of cable needle that isn't quite the same. I miss the other one.
Ultimately, I'm working on them slowly, slowly and I hope to be finished sometime before next Christmas. I'm not sure that I will make them as long as written in the pattern either although I would like them a little longer than my typical mitts which are barely past the wrist. We'll have to see how long my cabling patience holds out.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Handspun Ocean Waves

Tuesdays are for spinning so I can share my lovely finished Merino. I split it lengthwise and spun each half, with a little bit of predrafting, onto a bobbin.

They look pretty uneven but I was actually impressed that they came out within about 15 yards of each other. Not messing with singles to make more yarn always makes me happy. I waited the requisite overnight and plied the next day.

I absolutely love how it came out. Bluey-green and wonderful. There is some color variation but it's almost a semisolid which I really like and I'm not sure what it would like to be but I think it's lovely just as it is for now.

It's a pretty true, fairly even fingering weight. (There's always a little bit of variation with handspun and I think that's part of its charm. If it were perfect, it wouldn't be handspun.) The skein is 430 yards so it's a great amount to knit something lovely. I think it looks just like the waves in the ocean so although the braid is just called "January 2013" I'm calling my finished yarn; Ocean Waves.
I'm currently in a bit of a funk knitting-wise. I really don't love anything I'm knitting and therefore don't want to work on any of it. There may be some forced finishing or some ripping in my near future. I need to seriously dig through what's being worked on and what's in limbo and make some decisions. Then I can cast on something new without guilt right?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mission: Steek

Hey, remember this?

I didn't make it to our group steeking event at knit night the other night so instead I had to do it solo. I decided I would document it though. That would make me feel like someone was there with me, helping me through it. I had knit the cozy and it was all ready.
Next, the pattern (Steek this Coffee Cozy) called for you to crochet your steeks.

I did that part. As you can see, I used a contrasting color of yarn. I thought it would help but looking back I would use something a little less contrasting. Just in case it would show on whatever it is I would be steeking. Or I would machine-stitch it.
Next of course is the scary part. Taking a scissors to it! Eek!

Whew! So far, it seems to be holding together. I think I may have done this right.

Next you pick up stitches on the side and knit that ribbing. Then do it again on the other side.
Then you have to sew down your steeks.

Steeks sewn down. All that's left is blocking and buttons. I blocked first and then sewed on buttons.

Vintage buttons from my button bin.

Tah-dah! I am not sure about how it came out. I feel like the steeks where sewn down are a little lumpy. Maybe it's just me but I would be very careful of that if it were a garment. Otherwise, it was a fun project and got me to do something I would not normally have undertaken.
Plus, now I have an adorable new coffee cozy. If you need me, I'll be over here drinking out of my to go cup even though I'm at home in my pajamas.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Snow Day Spinning

Tuesdays are for spinning and I have been spinning. After I finished the Gritty Knits Merino in Cracked I briefly thought about digging out some other projects I'm in the middle of spinning and finishing them up. It's just so wintery here that I ultimately decided I needed some color in my life.
I went stash-diving and came up with this.

This blueish green Merino from Gritty knits was calling to me so I started spinning it last week. We got lots of snow Sunday night and I decided I deserved a snow day after being busy last week with the fish fry so I settled down, got caught up with the current season of Downton Abbey and spun most of the day yesterday.

I'm thinking it will be a simple two-ply and I'm not really focusing on making it anything but fairly even. I'm enjoying letting go and letting it be what it likes.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter Hope with Sunshine

I feel like this winter with its terrible, bone-aching cold and excessive snow has made everything harder. I have no desire to go outside. At all. I have no desire for human interaction. I just want to snuggle up in my cozy bed and stay warm as much as is possible. That of course is not realistic and then comes a beautiful day like today. The sun is shining brightly, the temperature has risen to the point where snow is actually melting and my heart is soaring. It doesn't mean I don't need some color this winter though. Color works so well in my knitting that it seems natural to knit something brilliant, eye-searing and bright.

Over a year ago in the nom of the month club I received this unusual skein. It's called Darling Clementine and since I'm not much of an orange person, I wasn't sure what to do with it. I started and ripped it several times and ended up deciding around Christmas time that it would be socks and that was the end of it. After finishing my holiday commitments I cast on and started knitting away. The other day I finally finished the first sock (somewhat delayed by an addiction to my spinning wheel and also to the wrist pain plaguing me last month) I feel like this project has gone on for a long time. It hardly matters though, I'm loving the results. A little unusual and I'm not sure what I will wear the finished socks for but they'll be there, in the sock drawer, reminding me that the sun does come out sometimes.
I also have a little plan for something else. Earlier my local knitgroup and I were discussing the fact that most of us had not tried steeking and were interested in the technique. We decided a low-commitment project would be a good idea so we found Steek This Coffee Cozy and decided those of us interested in trying out the technique would each knit to the point of steeking and get together for moral support and cut our knitting to bits! Our scheduled cutting party is our usual knit night, February 19th. I finished the main knitting last week.

I made a few changes and I'm so happy with the result, I can't wait to get it finished all the way! I used color A (Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Peapod) for the ribbing and the 'pop' color on the fair isle chart. I used color B (Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Marina) for the background of the fair isle chart and color C (Patons Classic Wool Merino in Aran or undyed) for the other fair isle color. I didn't use the 5 colors called for and I really love my result so I'm going to stick with it. Now I'll just count down the days until we cut. Eep! That's a little bit scary.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

All It's Cracked Up To Be

I've been more focused on spinning lately and I am pleased to report that I finished my Gritty Knits Merino in Cracked. The braid was split lengthwise and then drafted a bit to loosen up the fibers but I spun it to be what it wanted. The singles were somewhat marled so I thought I would probably end up with a somewhat tweedy-looking yarn. I think I was right. I finished the singles Monday evening and waited until Tuesday to start plying. Since I had errands to run yesterday and it was knit night, I couldn't ignore all other responsibilities and just spin but I finished it today.

Doesn't it look wonderful? All ready to be wound into a skein and that's just what I did.

This picture it a little dark but lovely just the same. It's about 350 yards so as I predicted about a sport-weight. I really like it and I've already soaked and twacked it, it's drying now so I can knit with it as soon as the mood strikes. I'm not sure what it wants to be yet but it's probably not going to sit in stash long, I'll be knitting it soon.
I also finally finished up the baby sweater I was knitting for a friend's baby. She was due in January and I held off on finishing the last little bit but once the baby was born I finished the knitting and blocked the lovely little thing. For some reason I just set it aside though, I didn't sew the buttons on. Since I was going to see the lovely little thing and her fabulous mama at Knit night, I sewed the buttons on yesterday and whisked it off to her. I hope she loves it!

I think it turned out pretty cute! It's Gritty Knits nom in Brazil and I knit it into the Maile baby sweater. I used the free version. A few notes: I would have liked a little more info about what weight of yarn she used, I think she probably used more like a sport weight, I felt like mine was really floppy while I was knitting it but I came very close to gauge. Also, if I ever knit it again (which I might, it was mostly a very cute pattern) I would do something different with the sleeves. When she has you attach them, you hold ALL the sleeve stitches on the needles and I had a really, really difficult time with it until I got a few rows in. I would say maybe hold a few stitches on the body and the sleeve and graft them later? Up to the knitter but I really did not care for the struggle with it as written.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Not Plan

After finishing and blocking my sort of epic Holden Shawl (I have decided mine is really too big to be called a shawlette) things have been a little slow. I can't seem to get back into any of the projects I had going before and I don't really want to start something new again so I've been spinning.
I started with this braid of Merino from Gritty Knits.

I got it in the Merino of the month club awhile ago and it is not my usual colors at all but I adore it. It had browns and tans and a bit of pink and some dark, deep browny black. It was so unusual that I wanted an unusual kind of yarn. I split the braid in half lengthwise and drafted the first half. I'm just spinning it how it would like to be spun and plan to chain-ply it when I'm done with it.

I just finished the first half and it's got lots of spaces where the singles are marled because two colors came together, I think it's going to be a very unusual, almost tweedy-looking yarn. I'm enjoying a quick and fairly easy spin too, no agenda, no ultimate plan but to make pretty yarn. Sometimes it's fun to let go and not have a plan.