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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lady Eowyn Mitts

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Lady Eowyn of Rohan was no delicate flower.  She could organize her countrymen as they relocated to Helm's Deep, she could wield a sword better than many men, and she rode into battle where she killed the Lord of the Nazgul.  Lady Eowyn would have appreciated the practicality of fingerless mitts because they will allow one to get into (and out of) all sorts of situations while still keeping one's hands warm.  The intricate cable braid and honeycomb details cover the back of the hand while the ribbing of the cuff points gracefully into the palm.
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These mitts are knit in fingering weight yarn in three sizes.  They are designed to fit snugly (it's hard to kill Witch-Kings with floppy mitts), but if you'd like your mitts to have a bit more room, just go up a size or use one needle size larger.  All stitch patterns are presented in both charted and written format.
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Here is the link to the Ravelry page for Lady Eowyn's mitts.  If you purchase the pattern through Ravelry, a copy is permanently saved in your library just in case you should ever need to download it again.
Size 6-1/2 inch (7-1/2 inch, 8-1/2 inch) as measured across the knuckles
215  (250, 300) yards fingering weight yarn
Shown in Dark Yarns Rusalka Fingering Weight in Proserpine
$6.00

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Something to Distract You

yarma 
I'm still working on the new pattern, putting the finishing touches on the design, proofreading charts and text and triple checking everything before I call it finished.  In the meantime, I thought I'd share something that's sitting next to me.  Caleb got me the cabled vase for Christmas and I picked up the pink and white tulips yesterday at the store.  It's cloudy and overcast today (maybe rain later!) so the cheery flowers sitting here make me happy.  Also, Max stalked them when they first came home and then sat under them like a tiny jungle cat (in a tulip jungle).  Logan inspected each flower for bacon, but was unable to find any.  I appreciate his dedication to the job.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Just A Sneak Peek!

I've been working on something.  I've been charting and knitting and frogging and recharting and knitting some more.  It will be all finished sometime next week, but I thought I'd show you a tiny bit of it - just the inside of the cuff.  Just a little sneak peek.  (By the way, it's going to come in three sizes!)
yarma
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Endpaper Mitts

Just a quick note about yesterday's blog before I show you the mitt as of right now - thanks so much for all the complements, particularly on the zipper!  I made the zipper exactly as the pattern directed (and it wasn't hard), and that's how it came out.  Like I mentioned, the pattern is very well written and photographed so if you just follow the steps, you'll end up with a cute bag and a perfect zipper.  Auntiemichal and Madeline left comments with a link to a pattern by the same designer - it's not the exact pattern I used, but it looks very similar if you're looking for a pattern.  The zipper in the finished bags look the same.  I almost wonder if my pattern was discontinued and this pattern is a newer version of it (I can't remember when I bought it, but it was a while ago).  I can't see a designer having two patterns in their lineup that are so similar.
yarma
As you can see, I've got the thumb stitches set aside on a stitch holder, so now I'm working the top part of the mitt.  I love the way the colorwork pattern kind of fades in and out (due to the varigated yarn I'm using with the navy).  It almost looks like the actual endpapers from an old and much loved book, with it's various stains and smudges from countless fingers as the book is read and loved and passed down.  At least that's what it looks like to me!

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Little Detour

Today's post is about sewing!  I've been wanting to do some more sewing and have been working on straightening up my sewing room some because I hate sewing in a mess.  I can only work for little bits at a time because Logan can't come into the sewing room since The Babette is spread out in the middle of the floor.  I have a child gate across the doorway, so he can see in, but I don't need his assistance with The Babette.  Unfortunately, Max just jumps the gate and he is only partially cooperative.  He likes to check everything out (the sewing room makes him purr), but then he starts causing trouble.  He bites things, attacks things, wants to see the sewing machine needle up very close, and basically just isn't trustworthy in there.  So, little bits at a time, I get things straightened out.
yarma
Over the weekend, I decided to make a little wristlet pouch with some stash fabric.  I used the Elizabeth Hartman Wristlets Three Ways pattern, since I'd bought it ages ago from Pink Chalk Fabrics (it doesn't seem to be available right now).  The pattern has 3 different styles, each in two sizes - I made C1 if you care.  The pattern directions are very well written with good photographs of each step and you only need to use a straight stitch on your machine.
yarma
I lined it with a navy and white floral, but did the little inside pocket in the plaid.  I have no immediate plans for it, but it's cute and I might use it to corral my knitting notions.  Its big enough to hold a couple of 50 gram balls of fingering weight, but a single 100 gram ball would be too fat, so it could work for socks or mitts as a project bag.  For now I'm just admiring the little bag and trying to keep Max from stealing it.

Stay tuned, I'm planning some more sewing projects this Spring!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Zoom!

yarma
It always amazes me how fast the body of a sweater can go once the sleeve stitches go onto holders.  The last few rounds of the yoke section (as it's increasing), seem like I'm getting nowhere, but then, as soon as I separate the sleeves from the body, things really start to happen.  I'm working the decreases to the waist (this is a loose fitting sweater, but it does have some shaping) and then there will be increases for the hips.  I feel like things are moving along pretty well on this now!

Caleb is able to chew again now and he did some Euphonium practice over the weekend.  The band teacher is going to help him today with figuring out how to adjust to playing with the braces.  He's definitely done better this time around than he did last time.  Of course, there's a difference between Third grade and Sixth grade too!

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Endpaper Mitts

yarma 
I got a lot of knitting done at the orthodontist yesterday!  If you look at the top left of the mitt, you can see what I've done on the thumb gusset.  Thumbs always look goofy until you take the stitches off and put them on holders (at least that's what I think).  The mitts seem to be going pretty quickly, even though I'm only working on them for little bits of time.  I know the colorwork doesn't knit as fast as one color knitting, but I think seeing the two colors create the pattern fascinates me.  I am easily amused after all.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  We're going to have lots of pudding, and yogurt, and applesauce, and hot chocolate, and oatmeal.  We're also going to have lots of Advil.

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Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Sleeves Are Free!

yarma 
Or at least the stitches for the tops of the sleeves are free.  Life got a little crazy earlier this week, so it wasn't until last night that I had a chance to sit down and knit to where the sleeve stitches get separated from the body.  They are now waiting on stitch holders (waste yarn) while I finish the body.  I didn't get much farther than separating the sleeves because I've got to set up the Smart Counters on Knit Companion for the body shaping.  The latest update for Knit Companion has something called Smart Counters, and you can set them up for several different things.  I'll be using them for the body shaping, so when the pattern says to do something 5 times, every 4 rows, I can set that up with the Smart Counter, and as I'm knitting along on the chart (the back texture is charted), a little thing will pop up 5 times, on every fourth row.  I don't have to keep notes on a pad of paper anymore!  I do have to get all the smart counters set up for a chart all at once though.

That's my little job for today - set up Smart Counters.  Today is braces day for Caleb as well, so I'll be sitting and knitting at the orthodontist while he gets banded again.  He's starting Phase II, and he should only be in braces for a year, but I know the next couple of days are going to be rough for him.  Someday he'll look at his smile and be glad that he had the braces (I know I'm very grateful to my parents for orthodontia), but I know it's going to be a while before he realizes this.  Right now it's all about eating soft foods.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

This Morning's Blog is Brought to You...

yarma 
...by SNOW!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sweatering On

yarma 
I've worked more on my cardigan, although I'm not sure you can tell from the pictures.  I would really love to get this done so I can wear it.  It's cold!  Of course, we all know that when I do get it finished, it won't be cold anymore, but either way, I'd be warmer.  It's too cold to run this morning (I've found that both the real temperature and the wind chill have to be above 20 degrees F to run), there are little bits of ice (sleet?) outside, and even Logan is moving pretty quickly outside to do his business and get back in.  Max is curled up in bed again.  I think he's the smartest one of all of us, but he doesn't have to get groceries or run to the dry cleaners or all the other little errands I need to do today.  Did I mention that it's cold?

I am planning on getting to the part later today where I take off the sleeve stitches from this sweater.  That means that yes, you'll be seeing it again tomorrow, but that also means it should move along faster soon.  Hope you stay warm today!

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Friday, January 11, 2013

From the Depths of the Basket

yarma 
I found something you haven't seen in a while!  It's probably been over a year since this has been on the blog.  It's been waiting patiently and politely for me to come back to it while I worked on other things.  What is it?  It's Fiori di Sole.  The yarn is laceweight  - Zephyr in Coral.  I was wanting something other than my cardigan and mitts to work on, so instead of casting on a NEW project, I pulled this one out of hibernation.  I'm currently in the middle section, the one with lots and lots of Shetland Fern.  Which means lots and lots of TV knitting!

I hope you have a great weekend!  Caleb's going back into braces next week (Phase II) so we'll probably spend the weekend eating sticky, chewy, and crunchy things!

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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Mitts

yarma 
My portable project, the Endpaper Mitts are starting to show their pattern now.  The colorwork is feeling more natural in my hands and I'm working a little bit faster.  I'm to the part where I'll start the thumb gusset now.  I love the look of stranded colorwork, but I don't do it very often.  I think that's partly because I don't have the right colors or weight of yarn stashed.  I know some people do stranded colorwork in DK or Worsted weight yarns, but here in Texas I'd die of heatstroke in that weight of stranded knitting.  (For any non knitters out there, what you're not seeing in the above photo is that there are strands or floats of the colors as they go behind the stitches they're not part of.  The finished fabric is about twice as thick as standard knitting and the extra layer traps air, which keeps you warm.  Great for when you're in Northern Scotland, less necessary when you're in North Texas.)

Fair Isle knitting (a type of stranded colorwork) is typically done in two ply fingering weight Shetland wool yarn.  I've got fingering weight, but most sock yarn usually isn't two ply (three ply is more durabe), and even the sock yarn that is two ply (Madelinetosh Tosh Sock) isn't Shetland wool.  Shetland wool is "hairier" and sticks to itself better than superwash Merino.  This is important for things like steeks.  (Again for the non knitters - steeks are when you cut your knitting open.  Stranded knitting is easier to do in the round than back and forth.  This means things like armholes and necklines in a pattern like this are typically knit with steeks - little bits of extra knitting that will be cut open later.)  I've never tried steeks before.  I've seen them, I've heard about them, but I've never done them.

And this concludes today's knitting trivia lesson.  Didn't mean to post a knitting trivia lesson, but that's what happened when I sat down this morning.

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Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Now it's starting to look like a sweater!

yarma
I've been working on my Woodstove cardigan.  I had to stop and think for a bit because I'm using a bigger button than the pattern calls for.  Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem, but for this design, the front bands are knit as you go, which means buttonholes are worked as you go.  Not only would I have to use a different buttonhole, but I would have to refigure spacing for the buttonholes.  To make life easier on myself, I've decided to add buttonloops when the cardigan is all finished.  That way I can make them as big as I need and space them right.
yarma
I got a shot of the back of the cardigan as well as the front because the back has this subtle chevron texture.  The pockets (that will go on the front) also have the chevron texture, just to tie it all together.  I'm kind of wishing I already had this sweater knit - it's chilly today and it's just started raining.  We're supposed to get rain all day through all day tomorrow.  Quack, quack!

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Thursday, January 03, 2013

Something Little

I needed a little project to work on in addition to my other projects.  Something small and portable that I can work on when I'm out and about with Caleb.  The Hexipuffs are little, but if they're the only portable project I have, I get bored with them.  I've found that I can work on them in spurts and bursts, but making a long term commitment (a Hexipuff a Day?) makes me resent them and I find other things to do (Angry Birds, Bookworm).

I had originally planned on starting a pair of socks and that was my plan when I went upstairs yesterday for yarn - go to the sock yarn stash and find yarn and a pattern.  When I got into my sewing room (I use it more for knitting activities than sewing, but in my head it's the sewing room - no clue why that is), I saw The Basket of Potential.  This is a basket I used when I straightened up the sewing room early in December.  I threw leftover balls of yarn in there that were big enough for actual projects.  Most of them are partial balls of sock yarn, so there's not really enough for socks, but they are big enough for mitts.  They're all too big to really go into one of my scrap bags, and when they are left to wander free range in the stash they get lost, forgotten and shuffled to the bottom of the bins.  I figured throwing all these little oddballs into a basket would keep them where I could see them, they'd have a better chance of being used, and I'd get some smallish projects out of them.  The Basket of Potential was born.
yarma
As soon as I saw The Basket of Potential, I knew what I'd make.  When I finished up my Cladonia I had a decent amount of both yarns left.  I don't think I weighed the leftovers, but I feel pretty confident that I have enough of both yarns to make Endpaper Mitts.  I think just about everyone who knits has already made these, but it's been ages since I've played with colorwork and I've always wanted to make these.  Using up two partial balls of stash should work out perfectly.  I've finished the lower ribbing and I've actually knit two rounds of the colorwork section, but you can't really see it yet.  These don't have a time limit, I can just knit them when I have a chance and not worry about finishing them by the end of the month.  When I'm done, I shouldn't have very much of the yarn leftover and I'll have mitts to match my shawl!

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Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New Year, New Projects!

yarma 
It always feels good to start fresh for the new year.  I finished up the Retreating Sweater and will have modeled shots later this week, but it's blocking right now.  (I'm blocking the hem and the ribbing at the front band.)  You saw my finished Oak Grove mitts last week, and I finished up a few other odds and ends that were staring at me (they aren't all bloggable).  Basically, as of yesterday, I had a couple of projects that are essentially hibernating, my Hexipuff project, and The Babette.  That was all I had in progress.

Of course yesterday was January 1, so that meant I could start my new Sweaters 2013 project.  My first sweater is the Woodstove Season cardigan, knit in Beaverslide Dry Goods Fisherman's Two Ply.  This yarn is discontinued and I had actually used it in another sweater that turned out huge and was frogged years ago.  It will be nice to get this knit into a useable sweater.  This is a top down, raglan sleeve design and what you see here is the collar and one of my buttons.  I used a tubular cast on because I really like the way it makes the edge look.  It does take a bit more time, but it gives ribbing a much more finished look than my usual long tail cast on.  I got the buttons from Bead Freaky on Etsy and while they're a little bigger than what the pattern calls for (I'll have to refigure buttonholes to fit), I think they're perfect for this sweater and this yarn.  They're ceramic and they're very lightweight.

Today I'm planning on getting a pair of socks started - I don't have any little portable projects except Hexipuffs and I want to have an option.  If I'm not back tomorrow, send out a rescue team - I'm buried in my sock yarn stash!

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