Check out my guest post today on Whipup.net. This pattern is a little project I’ve been working on and am so glad to team up with Whipup to share. It’s another illustrated sewing pattern, this one for Convection Mittens. They’re felted wool with full fleece liners…your hands will stay toasty no matter what!
I have not yet watched or read the Twilight series, although this writeup on npr.org kinda made me want to: “Breaking Dawn is where the Twilight series goes straight-up cuckoopants.” Cuckoopants? What a great word. Sounds like the perfect choice for a heckler movie night with friends. And wine.
If you do have a Twilight fan on your gift list, or you just want a quick-knit present, I recommend a mitten/scarf set inspired by Bella’s movie wardrobe.
This set is first in a short list of commissioned Christmas projects. My friend in Ohio will give these to her mom. I don’t know that friend’s mom is a Twilight fan…we just picked these out because she liked the cables….but I do know her mom is not a foxflat subscriber, so I can safely post.
The yarn is malabrigo worsted, which I chose because ravelry users said it was soft and there weren’t many complaints about pilling. For the first time ever, I bought it directly from another ravelry knitter using the “stash” filter. Have you ever bought yarn this way? A few days after sending my paypal payment, the yarn was at my door. Best thing ever.
Mittens: Bella’s Mittens by Subliminal Rabbit
Used: Size 8 dpns & <1 skein of Malabrigo worsted in red mohogany
Mods: started pattern at row 24 for a shorter cuff, added 5 stitches of width after cuff, and added length to both thumb and hand.
Scarf: Bella’s Cable Scarf by Georgina Carr
Used: Size 8 dpns & 2 skeins of Malabrigo worsted in red mohogany
Ravelry Project Pages: Mittens and Scarf
Our first snowfall of the season is predicted for late this Saturday night. I’d say I finished the herringbone mittens for the snowfall, but in fact I will probably mail them to Rachel C. for her 30th birthday. She’s received a series of Katie knits since 2004. Even in the beginning, when the items were super simple and/or wonky, she was very appreciative (or pretended well enough that I was convinced).
When I was just graduating from “scarf land,” it was encouraging to have friends like Rachel who gladly accepted knit gifts. Who’s been in your knitting fan club from the beginning?
Rachel, I hope these mittens help make up for the weird scrap-yarn hat I sent you that one time in 2007. They’re warm…I tried them out on my walk this morning to get an egg & cheese bagel.
Technology and humans were both going haywire this week at work. It was bonkerstown. Did you experience this too? I thought it was a full moon thing, but a check of the lunar calendar ruled that out. I passed out Thursday night and woke up 8 hours later in exactly the same position in bed. That’s when you know you’re exhausted.
In between all the turmoil I kept knitting my stranded herringbone mittens.
And look! One is done. I’ve been blocking it on my hand so that it will take shape as the right-handed mitten.
One other piece of happiness is that our friends got a puppy. This puppy was part of a litter that showed up on her parents’ doorstep in North Carolina. They drove down a few weeks ago to get her, and Sam is smitten. In about two weeks the puppy will be bigger than Sam, at which point he might not be so fond of her. We’ll see if the love lasts. But how cute are they?
I’m charting new waters with my knitting and trying…dun dun dun…stranded color work. With the fall season of Castle and Community starting next week, I’ll also need to cast on a mindless television project that I can switch to. Following this teeny chart is an all-consuming task.
What new knitting skill have you tried lately? Was it a pleasant experience?
I’m making these two color Herringbone Mittens without Poms. My knitting friend Christine (who just had a great opening week with her yarn-dyeing business – skeinnydipping – which I had to give a shoutout because how freakin awesome is that?! ) was my encouragement in giving stranded work a try. However much of a game changer the internet becomes, there is still something special about someone sitting next to you on their couch and cheering you through a new knitting skill.
I am about five rows into the chart.
Christine’s advice was that I work the mitten with the right side facing in (opposite of how it appears in the photo below). This way there’s less chance of pulling the strands too tight. Over-pulled strands make for an uneven surface, even after blocking.
If I become a stranded colorwork master I can make all kinds of pretty picture mittens for people. Here are some of my favorites from ravelry…
(left to right, top to bottom)
Mittens to Order
Deep in the Forest Mittens
Q. What do you call sitting in a hot spring in the rainy forest surrounded by naked people, listening to one of them play a didgeridoo?
A. an uncomfortable situation
B. the opening scene of a horror flick
C. a relaxing Saturday afternoon
Trick question! The answer is D: a mix of all of the above.
Okay just kidding about the horror flick part. I have to stick up for Oregonians there, because although I’ve witnessed philosophical rants, strange musical performances, and a whole lotta PDA at the hot springs, I’ve never felt unsafe. Maybe a little grossed out (picture PDA the likes of the “lover” hot tub skit on SNL…only nude), but all in all, everyone is very respectful.
On Saturday morning my friend and her fiance drove out to Cougar Hot Springs and were kind enough to take me along. If we didn’t work 8-to-5 jobs we would’ve gone on a weekday – that’s your best insurance for having the place to yourself. But hey, if there’s gonna be a crowd at least let it be an interesting one. And the didgeridoo player had that covered. On a whim we stopped by a roadside BBQ place on the way back to town. The Wagon Yard was AWESOME. Great prices, cute atmosphere, and one of the best pulled pork sandwiches I’ve ever had.
In knitting news, I finished my sockyarn mittens and gave them a test drive on the bike commute to work. The best part is that I recently upgraded to a new red rain shell, and the mittens’ stripes look even better next to the red coat. Three cheers for unexpected accessory coordination!
1 caterpillar, 1 ladybug, 1 sockyarn mitten
I finished up one of my leftover yarn mittens and blocked it. Despite no calculations on my part (even knitting deserves mystery and suspense) it looks there will be enough yarn. The whole point of the project was to give leftovers a new purpose, so it would have posed a real ethical dilemma had I needed more of either color.
The caterpillar and ladybug have their own repurposing story. They were made by Leroy, a now-retired stone mason from my hometown. I met Leroy when I worked summers for the City Engineering Department. Sidenote: working for the Engineering Dept. is pretty awesome when you’re sixteen because you get to drive a boxy orange chevy truck circa 1980 outfitted with a cb radio AND you get assigned your own call number on the city frequency.
Anyhow, when Leroy retired he started making yard art out of old tools and hardware – rakes, shovels, pruning shears. He gave my dad this spectacular metal bird made of welded tools as a retirement present. Word got back to Leroy how much I liked his creations and one day caterpillar & ladybug arrived in the mail.
Here in Eugene, my neighbors use a lot of recycled and repurposed materials to create eclectic, funky, and sometimes strange yard decorations (see photos below). My sense is that their material selection comes from a personal identification with ideas like sustainability, reducing waste, and green living. These terms are prevalent in the marketing of yard art at local community markets and homegoods stores.
I have been meaning to ask Leroy how he defines his yard art. What are the intentions behind his choice of materials? Does he identify with terms like eco-crafting, upcycling, or green craft? If not those terms, then the ideas and values they represent?
What about you? Was there a time when you were upcycling or eco-crafting without even knowing what it was called? Did particular people, communities, or websites inspire you to integrate these principles into your work?
Front yard seating area in my neighborhood
Gazing balls made from bowling balls
I struggle to find worthwhile uses for leftover yarn (cat toys anyone?). Here’s a sneak peek at my latest yarn-leftover-project: a pair of mittens that will use up wedding shawl yarn leftovers and extra Noro silk/wool sockyarn. Needles are size 1 and the pattern is my own.
I started the first mitt on a long train ride between Rome and Austria. Read and I shared a little 6-seat cabin with an Italian family, and once they started chatting back and forth in Italian I pulled out my knitting and became oblivious to all around me, UNTIL I realized I was the subject of the conversation:
Italian man gestures towards my mitten-project (insert some Italian)
Read points to me (insert more Italian)
Man asks clarifying question
ENTIRE CABIN LAUGHS
Getting teased by Read…that happens every day. Getting teased by Read in front of others also happens pretty often. Getting teased by Read in front of others in a foreign language made me blush. I was already self-conscious about being a walking breathing one-language American stereotype, so to get laughed at by the group and not know why was embarrassing. Post-joke I got the English recap from Read:
My grandmother used to knit. You don’t see anyone young these days who knows how.
Well, she is actually quite old.
Oh yes. I love her, but she is old. She’s (age) and I am (2 yrs. younger).
ENTIRE CABIN LAUGHS