The Knitworthy Mitts

This is a tale of loss, sorrow, a series of wailing texts, an internet search, and my reckless fearless launch into making unicorn-envy-inducing mitts. These fabulous mitts are a gift for a niece who can only be described as “knitworthy”. The story of the launch of this mitts project and my niece’s essential knitworthiness can be found in this earlier post.

Did you read the old post? Maybe you remember it from before Christmas. Here’s the short version… Never, ever, was there someone more knitworthy than my niece. She longed for some special mitts after her treasured mitts from years ago died. She will give them lots of love and a good home. I surrendered to the challenge, went stash shopping, found yarn, and cast on. My niece bought me the pattern book from Blue Moon Fiber Arts and I was in business.

Mitts
Here they are! Mitts that could reduce a unicorn to tears of envy.

Did I mention that these mitts are as much knitted art as yummy warmness for cold hands? Art comes with some pain, however… there have been tears. The cat has been chased away. Frogging happened… and happened… and happened. The project was placed into time out more than once. At one point I was using two magazines, a knitting chart created on the computer and the notes from another knitter as I worked. This has been a little extreme to say the least.

Details of the mitt.
And yet, these mitts were worth all of that! Do you see all of the details? There are ruffles, bobbles, braids, Fair Isle, and embroidery on these mitts. I thought about adding buttons or bells, but you have to draw a line somewhere, don’t you think?

The original mitts that were the inspiration for these were knitted by Ravelry knitter Susanmarie who created Monet Again mitts using a sock pattern for inspiration. Do you see the problem? I’m channeling mitts knitted by Susanmarie who used design details from the Sauvie Island sock designed by Blue Moon Fiber Arts. The original mitts that I had made for my niece years ago had herringbone braids, so I decided to put them into these mitts just as Susanmarie did with hers. I wanted to try out a design on the thumbs. I was kind of crazy…

Thumb chart
I found an online source that would allow me to make a chart for the thumb colorwork at ColorNotes Yarn and worked out a way to put a heart on my thumbs. Hey, this looks pretty good, right?
Heart detail on mitt thumb.
Design fail. All that work, and the crazy colors in the yarns made the heart kind of hit-or-miss. This is the better of the two mitts. Yuk. Ugly heart!
Embroidered heart on thumb of mitt.
Embroidery saves the day!!

The mitts are now blocked and ready to mail out to my niece tomorrow. A piece of my sanity heart goes with them. I know that she will treasure them for years.

Never, ever, was there a person more knitworthy than my niece.

But don’t tell me, Melissa, if these don’t fit or get eaten by the dog! ♥

My project notes contain as much detail as I could fit in. If you want to test your own patience and possible your sanity you are welcome to them!

Rocking the Craft Room

This is all Sharon’s fault! I’m referring to Sharon of Creativity and Family. Yesterday I woke up to find that she had posted a long, chatty list of all of her WIPs and projects for the coming winter months. Oh, my goodness! The woman has big dreams and a diverse (and endless) number of projects all lined up. She quilts, knits, crochets, sews, is doing something mysterious with scrabble pieces, and even makes her own yarn from tee-shirts. If you don’t already follow her you should check out her post.

The other thing that I discovered when I woke up was that my wrists, ankles and knees hurt. Like the tendons. Like there is no way that I am going to be knitting anytime in the near future.

This is so not fair! I am just entering the final pattern section and bind-off of the Drachenfels. One more day (or two) and it would be done. I want it, I want it, I want it now!!!  <snif>

Whatever. It’s getting warm again outside and I won’t be wearing a shawl for the next 10 days or so. Lots of time to get it finished. What I decided to do was to channel Sharon, go play in the craft room and shop the stash. If I can’t actually knit, I certainly can organize things, match patterns to yarn/projects and try to create a queue of my future crafting for the coming cold weather months. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

Storage
I already had yarn organized into types and weight. I just had to start pulling out yarn and reorganizing it in the bins with the patterns for my coming projects into some of my spare bins.

I pulled out several boxes of yarn into the main craft room and then discovered that it hurt my wrists to snap open and shut the latches on the boxes. Well, isn’t that special! Lucky for me I’m an old pro with wrist tendinitis. Years ago I had carpal tunnel surgery and spent months in braces. For a few years after that I still wore my braces when doing wrist challenging activities like moving books in my classroom or organizing boxes in the garage. I had to go on a hunt to find them, but eventually my wrist braces were located in a drawer of my desk in the office. I just needed to create some padding to go under them because I have edema in my arms these days (thank you scleroderma!!)

Socks
Well, look at these incredibly ugly hospital socks I got during my last health adventure. Just the ticket.
cutting off the toes of socks
I cut off the toes…
Thumb hole
Cut a slit in the side to make an opening for my thumb…
sock mitts
and I had the perfect padding mitts to go under the braces. 🙂
 Wrist braces
Add the braces and I attackd the bins! These braces look awful but as soon as they are on my wrist feels wonderful. I think I may sleep in them tonight.
Knitting projects
Here is the finished stack of knitting projects. Good grief!!

This was just fun to do. I moved yarn around and got things reorganized to create the project bins. I copied patterns from books and magazines with my printer/scanner so that I could slip the pattern into the bin with the yarn. The big bins contain the yarn and patterns for two sweaters, and the smaller bins have 1-3 projects each. I sat down (on the floor!) with my stack of boxes and the laptop computer and then entered everything into Ravelry to create this queue. In addition to the two sweaters I have 5 shawls, 2 long mitts, 3 socks and 2 hats. I thought about trying to put everything into the actual order that I will do the projects, but that is just crazy thinking. At least I have things into the queue and can move items around as I actually get started. Check out my queue if you want to see what I have lined up. 🙂

Since I was working in the craft room with the sewing machine it was a little hard to ignore the stack of projects on the shelf next to it. I pulled them down and discovered more to do. I had actually forgotten some of this…

Autumn Quilt
Look! This is an autumn themed quilt that I started a year ago and never finished. I just need to get the batting, sandwich the layers and then do the quilting. I’m not showing the whole thing now because… reasons. If I hurry it will be done before Thanksgiving! Stay tuned.
stuff
This is a special edition Colorado themed batik that I bought to sew a Professional Tote Bag with compartments and all the room I need to drag around knitting. The pink fabric and the blue with the small dots to the left is for the linings.
stuff
Unfinished Christmas place mats. I just have to do the quilting and put on the edging. These guys need to get done!!
and last but not least I had decided to make everyone new dishtowels this year
While I’m talking about Christmas, I also organized this idea for Christmas dishtowels. A few years ago I made everyone towels in a plaid design. When I got to the end of the warp I made this scrap with a natural colored weft. I kind of like it, and am thinking that if I get the warp back onto the loom it will make fast towels to give everyone with some of the other things I have planned.

Well, that’s it for now. I have organized and pulled to the front of the pile lots of projects and ideas. I’ve been wearing the braces for two days and my wrists are feeling better. I think that if I protect and rest them for another couple of days I will be good to go with the Drachenfels and hopefully it will be done by the end of next week.

If not I guess I’ll keep the braces on and get the garage cleaned out!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Farewell Summer, Hello Drachenfels

Yesterday was the last day of summer. Wow, how did that happen? I woke up, headed out to the garden to drink my latte, and there is was. The first changed leaf on the maple tree. It’s so hot outside I can hardly believe it, but the cooler weather of fall is on the way. Really, eventually it will get here.

Red leaf in green tree.
There it is! Fall’s first leaf.

Time to think about warmer clothes and shawls. Alexand has been driving me nuts with her posts about her Drachenfels (by Melanie Berg) knitting journey. It is just beautiful. Check out her post about knitting on the go here. There is just no way around it… I am suffering from Drachenfels envy in the worst way. Fall is here. I have finished all my other knitting projects. No more excuses. Time to get started on my own Drachenfels effort.

One of the best things about Ravelry is that you can poke around and check out the projects other knitters have made of any particular pattern. I found a project (by fineknits, one of the test knitters), that was done in three colors and a highlight color. Perfect!

Yarns
Here are my yarns. I will knit the body of the shawl using the two greys with the plum as the contrast color in the middle. The black will be used as a highlight color in the knitting and for the bindoff. All of these are Anzula Squishy and the cashmere in the yarn make them feel great. Here are the project notes at Ravelry.

Saturday night I visited one of my sons and cast on while watching him play Destiny after dinner. It was kind of fun watching him destroy alien creatures using a sword of fire (it’s a Destiny thing…) while I started on a shawl called Drachenfels. There were even some creatures in the game that were kind of dragon-like. It’s a sign!

Shawl
Here’s how far I had gotten by Monday night. The yarn that I am using is a lighter weight than called for in the pattern so I am using smaller needles (size 4 instead of size 6). I’m thinking that I can extend the pattern if I need to enlarge the shawl.
Close-up of stitches
and here is the close-up of the scale stripe pattern. This is the darker of the two grey yarns. I’m saving the lighter one for later on in the shawl where there will be more plum. The yarn is extremely soft and, well, squishy. (See what I did there?) This shawl should be a joy to wear.

Did you see the cat hair in the middle of the picture? No matter how careful I am everything that I knit has CAT HAIR ON IT!!!

Yellow cat
Yellow Boy: your point would be?

OK, I’m over the little cat-hair related rant. The shawl is starting out great and I’m really excited to finally be knitting it. The weather is still nice even though the leaves are changing so I plan on doing as much outdoor knitting as I can.

Bye summer.

 

 

Stash. Yarn. Shawl.

I am finishing up the Hitchhiker that I have been working on for the last two weeks, and then that is it. My needles will be bare. As soon as I have knitted the last three teeth on this baby it is over. To make things worse I also just finished reading a series of books, and haven’t found a new one to settle into. I am going through a serious slump. I’ve been listlessly wandering the house when I haven’t been out shoveling snow. I’m even considering vacuuming and cooking vats of comfort food. I’m making the cats nervous. I need new projects!!

Hitchhiker
Here’s my Hitchhiker back at the beginning. It’s almost done; I should finish it tonight.

Notice that I didn’t say I needed more yarn. The truth is, I always want more yarn. It’s an endless need with me. To try to nip a trip out to the yarn store in the bud I went online to check patterns on Ravelry and then started digging in the yarn stash. I think that I want to make some shawls now. Lace and beads!!

Well, here are the two big contenders on Ravelry. The first one is Edith’s Secret by Kristen Ashbaugh-Helmreich. I was aware of the Downton Abbey MKAL that was happening using Lorna’s Laces yarn (hosted by Jimmy Beans Wool). I kind of wanted to make a shawl with them, but there were 5 choices of yarn colors, and without knowing what the final product would look like I kept procrastinating and never did join in. The shawls are now done, however, and gee… they look really nice.. The different color combinations are up on Ravelry, and I have a better idea of what I like. The shawls have lace and beads… I think that I really need to make one of these.

The other shawl that I think that I’ll make is Sidere by Hilary Smith Callis. It calls for a heavy lace-weight yarn, but I’m thinking that I can get away with a light fingering and throw some beads in too. Anyway, the plan is to make an Edith’s Secret first, and then to knit a Sidere.

Into the stash! I need two contrasting colors of yarn for Edith’s Secret. One should be variegated, and the other just a monochromatic painted yarn. I have got to have some of that! I need at least 420 yards of each color, and it should be fingering.

Yarn
Wow, this is cool. I love these colors. There may not be enough yardage as each of these is only about 385 yards. Several people on Ravelry said they almost ran out.
Yarns
These yarns have enough yardage, and people will certainly see me coming. It could be that these two will be a little more color saturation than I can pull off in a shawl. Time to go look at more neutral yarns.
Yarns
I love this variegated yarn. The pink is laceweight, and will need to be doubled to use. It’s do-able, but seriously, I’m a grandmother. Do I want to wear this shade of pink?
Yarns
This is it!  This is the same variegated yarn as the picture right above, but I guess the snow and the grey tone it down in the picture. I’m going to make the lace details in the grey yarn and then use beads that accent the rose colors in the variegated yarn.

Well, that was easy. Seriously, I was loosing sleep over this yarn selection process. Today I wound all of the yarn that I thought was excessively yummy (even if I wasn’t sure what I would knit with them right now) and loaded my project bag with the cakes of yarn. I am happy! I have projects lined up again, and I am ready to cast on!

Oh, by the way, it’s almost March. Here’s a preview of the March New Year’s resolution sock.

Yarn and book
One of the yarns that didn’t get chosen for the Edith’s Secret shawl will become the March sock!

Resolutions for 2015

Well, this is it. There are only a couple of hours left for the year. The end of a really busy year, and I have no idea what exactly was  accomplished over the last 12 months. Well, I did read a lot of books and did a lot of knitting, but since I didn’t keep track of things, I don’t exactly have any numbers. I do have a memory of a quilt that I made for my younger son, and then there was the enormous landscaping project along the house, but seriously, the year is just a blur.

This year I would like to set some goals and then measure my progress. With the best of intentions, here is what I’m planning for in 2015.

Sock Books
Seriously, how many sock books does one knitter need? Wait… that’s not a fair question.

Knitting

  • I’m going to go through my sock books and select a different sock to make each month. Then I will knit the sock! Seriously, I will get this done.
  • I will knit the socks with the STASH YARN!!!
  • I will make a really serious effort to record my projects in Ravelry.
  • I tend to make multiple items of the same pattern, so I will also start a spreadsheet to list my knitted items. Ha! Next year I will know exactly how many baby booties I actually made.
Spinning Wheel
Here’s my beautiful Schacht wheel. Poor baby, the flyer is in pieces and it actually has a loose screw.

Spinning

  • I dropped my spinning wheel. Parts fell off. I finally sucked it up and told Maggie Casey of Shuttles, Spindles & Skeins (Boulder, Colorado) that I had hurt my baby. She told me (3 months ago) to bring it in and she would fix it. I will for sure absolutely without fail take it in this month!! next month before summer.
  • I’m struggling with the spinning wheel because I bought 5 ounces of Paco-Vicuna roving to spin. Wow! This stuff is soft beyond belief. I’m afraid to spin it. If the wheel is broken, I can’t be expected to spin it, can I? All right. I’m a big person. I will without fail get this fiber spun before the end of the year.
  • The Paco-Vicuna is from a local grower, Jefferson Farms. The name of the animal is Gulliver. I promise to call them up before the year is over and I will go visit Gulliver. Won’t that be a fun post!
Paco Vicuna fiber
This fiber is so soft I am scared to spin it. I need to settle on a project first, I think.

Books

  • Goodreads says I read 25 books this year. That can’t be right!! I know that I am reading more than that.  Therefore I resolve to list every book that I read at Goodreads this year.
  • I will even review every some of the books that I read.
  • Maybe I should start a spreadsheet while I am at it.
  • I would love to read 100 books this year. Ha! Really, it will be fun!
Home Run Roses
Here are the Home Run on the day I planted them. The shrubs are now 2.5 feet tall and covered with blooms after two years of growth.

Roses

  • The roses at the front of the house, Showbiz, look just terrible these days. Mainly they serve as food for wandering insects. Maybe I shouldn’t have dosed them with bleach while painting the house two years ago. They have never been the same again…
  • I am going to rip those roses out and replant with some roses that are hardy, full of blooms and resistant to insects. The Home Run roses at the side of the yard look great. Maybe I will get some of those for the front.

That’s it. There is only an hour left to the year. Goodbye, goodbye 2014.

Happy New Year everyone!!