December 23, 2007

FO: Fetching Mitts

These are not sleeves.

These are three pairs of Fetching mitts.

Posed by the chimney with care.

I know I said I wasn't going to do any Christmas knitting (other than one, single sock for my Mom, which I did finish, by the way.) But sleeve procrastination, remembering three people on my gift list, finding the perfect yarn in my stash, and an unwillingness to battle the mall led me to knit these.

They're all knit in Karabella Aurora 8 Space-Dyed. This brownish pair is color 14. I worked a purl bind off instead of the picot bind off, just 'cause. Otherwise, I followed the pattern exactly.

The next two pairs are color 7. On this one, I worked a regular knit bind off.

I knit the last pair on slightly bigger needles for a roomier fit, added an extra cable row above the thumb and then worked a decrease bind off (K2TOG tbl, put stitch back on left needle and repeat). I might like that bind off the best for these, but it didn't come out the way it looked in my Vogue Knitting. Oh well.

If this post seems a little rushed and loopy it's because I am. We leave for the airport in a few hours. I still need to shower, call the cab, finish packing, etc. Meanwhile, my stupid alarm clock has decided that it will go off at 6:09am, regardless of what time you actually set it for. So I'm up earlier than I wanted to be.

But I am glad to be able to get this post up. And most of all, I'm very glad to be able to wish you all wonderful, safe, happy Holidays!!

December 19, 2007


I was e mailing with Margaret (who is making fabulous mittens - go check 'em out) a few days ago and told her I feared I would get distracted from knitting the sleeves for my Oblique by a pair of stranded mittens.

While I can honestly say I have not cast on a pair of mittens, I must admit to succumbing to the distraction.

I remembered some yarn in my stash which might just be perfect for something in Selbuvotter and started to swatch.

I swatched the cuff pattern (chart A) from NHM #9. After finishing the main pattern, I looked at my little tube and thought of this post of Ali's. I couldn't help but throw some sleeves on there for a mini Selbu sweater.

ChapStick included for scale.

I'm going to make a little coat hanger out of some red pipe cleaner and give this to my Mom as a Christmas tree ornament. (It's been at least 20 years since she's had any hand made tree decorations from me.)

Oh, and by the way... my gauge is perfect for the mittens. Think I'll get back to those sleeves or am I lost to the mittens?

December 13, 2007

Thursday Frog Blog (Oblique Update)

Still chugging along on Oblique, despite some setbacks.

Setback the first happened at the raglan shaping on the back. The pattern tells you where to put the decreases at the edges but simply tells you to "work in pattern" to the next edge. It pretty much figures you're smart enough to handle working raglan decreases across the slanting lace stitches. Evidently, I'm not. Or at least I wasn't thinking it through on my first attempt.

As my raglan decreases began gobbling up my slanting lace stitches, there were several times when I made the YO for the lace pattern but didn't have enough stitches to make the corresponding K2TOG or SSK. I just slapped those lacy holes wherever they would normally appear without realizing YO - Lace Decrease + Raglan Decrease = 0 Stitches Decreased. Duh.

So there I was, having worked almost as many decrease rows as instructed but finding my stitch count to be distinctly higher than it should have been. Sleuth that I am, I deduced some error was being made. Bonehead that I am, it took me, like, half the day to figure out exactly what that error was.

Eventually, I realized what I must have done and knew the only solution was to rip. Enter Bruce.

I was back on track after that and have now finished the back piece and started on the fronts. (I like to knit both cardigan fronts at the same time, right next to each other, on the same needle.)

I was merrily knitting along, had finished the waist decreases and started the waist increases. I left off one night after measuring and deciding when I picked up the knitting the next day, I was ready to start the neckline decreases on the first row I'd be working.

I did not measure again the next morning. I just started those neckline decreases. Thus began setback the second.

I had a great day. I scored lots of knitting time and was having a blast working the neckline decreases and waist increases. I was in that beautiful knitting zone where you lose yourself in the process. The yarn is soft and supple. The needles are warm and smooth. Each row is more exciting than the last. You and the knitting are one and you can't put it down. Not even to measure the darn thing.

I knit like that for about three solid hours. I don't think I so much as went to the bathroom in that time. (Maybe this is more than you wanted to know, but when you've got a fetus kicking you in the bladder, not going to the bathroom can be a big deal.)

So anyway, when I had finished the waist increases and was thisclose to finishing the neckline decreases, I finally measured to see when to start the raglan decreases.

Oh, the horror when I measured and saw that I had started my neckline decreases too soon. About an inch too soon. The neckline for this sweater is already pretty low. An inch even lower and it would look very, very weird. I must have misread my tape measure the night before.

In a fit of frustration, I threw the pile of misbehaving knitting on the coffee table. The irony of how happy the model is in that picture is not lost on me.

I steeled myself for another massive frogging session. I was feeling especially bitter because I had had so much fun with the knitting that day and now I had to rip it all out, right back to where I was the night before. Grrr...

I got Bruce out again because taking pictures of a stuffed frog with errant knitting helps me keep perspective and a sense of humor.

Don't you think Bruce looks just a tad too satisfied sitting amongst the carnage? Well, he is. Because it turns out all that ripping was completely, totally, un-freakin-neccessary!

I measured again after ripping and was stymied to find the knitting measured exactly the right length to start the neckline decreases. I had not, as I previously thought, measured wrong the night before. I had, instead, measured wrong mere moments before.

I sat there, with my head in my hands for a good, long time. It was all so overwhelming. I had been so sure. It seemed so much more likely that I'd gotten it wrong the night before. How could this be happening? I considered knitter's black hole and tried to grapple with the possibility that I had found another example of the laws of physics bending to the will of the knitting goddesses. Could it be that both measurements were right? That I had started the neckline decreases at exactly the right length but that length somehow warped to the wrong length after nearly completing the decreases? Since everything I'd knit that day was already ripped out, there was no way I'd ever be able to know for sure. I'd simply have to chalk it up to a mystery and figure out what to do next.

I decided that I couldn't bear to re-knit it exactly the way I had before. What if this really was some strange force of knitting nature? I'd be an idiot to repeat the same mistake. So I decided to start the neckline a little higher this time. Even if that meant doing it "wrong." I figured I'd do it that way anyway because (I hope) a little too high would look better than a little too low on the finished sweater.

Yesterday, I got caught up to the row I had been on when I ripped. Last night, I didn't have the alertness or emotional fortitude to inspect and measure and see if things were better this time. While I was tired and bleary, if I had measured and decided that it was still all wrong there would have been tears, hysterics and possibly a lapse into a catatonic state.

I checked the knitting this morning and am happy to report that I fully intend to continue knitting onward. The new neckline starts about .75" higher than the pattern calls for, but I'm just going to consider that a personal and somewhat-intentional modification and move on.

I now know, that everything was exactly as the pattern suggests when I ripped out a whole day's work, but I'm trying not to dwell too much on that. I keep reminding myself that I had a lot of fun knitting that section of the sweater the first time, so theoretically I should enjoy knitting it again.

The reality is the textured lace pattern combined with the neckline decreases as well as the waist increases happening at the other edge makes the knitting pucker a bit. I'm sure blocking, seaming and button bands will resolve the pucker, but while the knitting is still on the needles, I'll have to carefully smooth it out when measuring. So there was warping going on after all. However, it was simply warping of some knitted fabric as opposed to a warping of the laws of physics. How mundane.

December 7, 2007

FO: Mama Mouse

Due to my first trimester blog hiatus, I never told you guys that I went to England. In October, my grandmother (who lives in Bournemouth) had her 90th birthday. My mom threw a big party and the whole family gathered from far and wide to celebrate.

Gaggy, as I call my grandma, said she didn't want any presents. She's 90. She lives in a fairly small flat. She pretty much has all the stuff she needs. So while I can totally understand her request not to acquire more things, I figured a small, hand knit gift from her granddaughter would be acceptable anyway.

I happen to know that my grandma has a weakness for small, cute, fluffy toys. She has a whole teddy bear collection, several piggie things scattered about the flat and she and I went on a Furby kick together however many years back (8 years ago or was it 9?).

So I made her Mama Mouse from Mel's Mouse Family (raverly link) in Knit 2 Together.

I used the recommended Classic Elite Lush yarn for the body. For Mama Mouse's cocktail dress, I held one strand of Koigu KPM together with one strand of Skacel Karat.

I gave her a pearl necklace.
I think she came out quite cute.

I did make a few minor modifications. The directions call for knitting the arms and legs flat then seaming them up. I didn't really see the sense in that, so I knit them in the round instead. Since the legs are started at the feet, I used the figure eight cast on to avoid even sewing up the bottom of the foot. It made the foot look much cleaner, too.

The cocktail dress is knit in one piece. You then put it on the mouse and sew it up at the back. The only mod I made here was to leave a hole at the back for the tail to stick out.

Gaggy loved her.

December 4, 2007

Single Sock Outbreak

Normally, I'm a very diligent second sock knitter. However a recent confluence of events has me knitting only single socks. I gotta say, I rather enjoy it.

About a month ago, the talented and generous Whitney sent me this adorable project bag.

Inside was one Tabi Sock from Knitting Classic Style as well as the pattern and enough yarn so that I could knit the second sock to complete the pair.

I was so thrilled. I had been wanting a pair of tabi socks and now I was half way there. Not only that, but I had never seen this particular pattern before and I felt like it was the tabi sock pattern I had been waiting for. Furthermore, Whitney picked the perfect color and yarn, Knit Picks Essential in Pumpkin.

I had a blast with this pattern and I adore the finished pair. I was delighted with the ease I had matching Whitney's gauge. She used US 2 bamboo dpn's while I used US 1 aluminum dpn's, but the socks match perfectly. Despite the perfect match, I'll always know that the left sock was knit for me. I love that.

I finished the sock the night before we left town for Hawaii. Could not have been better timing. It was cold and grey in the morning when we were headed to the airport. I wore my new socks with my flip flops and my feet were cozy and warm. Airport security was a breeze because I only had to kick off the flip flops but didn't have to get skeeved out walking barefoot through the airport. My feet were comfy on the plane and when we landed in Hawaii, I simply slipped the socks off and was ready for the tropical weather that greeted us outside.

I found wearing this pair of socks to satisfy my soul in a way I'd never really experienced. I felt the pride and satisfaction I get from wearing my own hand knits, but I also got that special feeling you can only get from wearing something made for you by someone else. All in one pair of socks. Brilliant.

Given how much joy that gave me, I'm so glad I can contribute to sharing that feeling with two other people.

See, I had also sent a single sock with pattern and yarn to Debra of Molecular Knitting. I sent her one Twisted Flower sock.

It's a fairly complex pattern. I really enjoyed knitting this sock but did feel a wee bit gleeful when I didn't have to knit the second, complex sock. I've always admired the pattern and wanted to try my hand at it, but I just kind of knew it would be the sort of project where I might run out of steam. Having the excuse, uh, I mean, opportunity to knit only one was pretty great.

The final, single sock is for my Mom. When she was visiting back in the summer, I did some hard core sock knitting enabling on her and got her to knit her very first sock. She finished all but kitchenering up the toe and then fell prey to second sock syndrome. When she went back home, she left her sock behind with the plea that maybe I would knit the second sock for her.

Well, I couldn't say no to that. But I can procrastinate like crazy.

I've only just finished up the gusset decreases. My thinking, at this point, is that I'll give her the finished pair for Christmas, making this one sock the only Christmas knitting I'm doing.

There. I said it. I'm knitting one, super-simple sock as my Only. Christmas. Knitting.

I had lost my knitting mojo for so long. Now it's back and I only want to knit Oblique for myself. My goal is to have it finished before I go back East for Christmas. And I don't feel the least bit bad about that, either.