Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hibernating mittens

The mitten is in hibernation. I finished the top and thought I was done with the body but all of a sudden sts started coming undone. I have to unpick the top and get all the sts on to needles and redo the top. Since I was frustrated and annoyed, I decided to put it away and work on other things.

Terry, the mitten is part Jamieson and Smith jumperweight (the blue) and part Harrisville Tweed Shetland which was on Elann a number of years ago. I think they were closing out that line. All the other colors are the Harrisville. It is also a true Shetland jumperweight.

I swatched the new body of the Lorna's Laces sweater. I used the pattern from the Coin lace scarf that was on Elann (the right hand side of the swatch) and a simple cable (the left hand side) along with dropped sts a la Clapotis. For some reason, the scarf pattern had extra twisted sts on either side of the coin lace pattern and I found that they masked the pattern. So I reswatched without them and this is the result. I really like it. I am debating whether to alternate the cable and the coin lace pattern or just do the coin lace pattern.

My daughter wanted a headband for running and I found a ball of this lovely alpaca. It is a beautiful heathered purple. I had some purple/green/blue aurora-borealis shiny beads (like the colors of a peacock) so I did a pattern with them. A fun, quick knit that should be done in another day. I just have the underside left to do and then I'm going to graft the beginning to the end for a seamless double thickness headband.
That is all for now! Maybe next week will see the return of the mitten.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mitten Knittin'

I am making slow but steady progress on the mittens. It is slow because the gauge is fine and I find it hard to knit for a long time. Steady because it is finally getting interesting and I want to knit bits of it. I am very happy with how they are turning out. I am just beginning the increases at the top.
I had to hold the fringe down to take this picture because it is curling up. I hope blocking will cure that. This is the back of the right hand mitten.

This is the palm of the right hand mitten. I did not use the traditional thumb hole method. The traditional method is to put the sts on a string and then cast on the equivalent number. The reason for this is to be able to try on the mitten as you knit. I thought that was an excellent idea but I didn't want to cast on. So I knit across the thumb sts using scrap yarn to create the opening, knit a few rnds, and then I threaded the sts onto another piece of scrap yarn and removed the scrap yarn sts themselves. This creates the opening without casting on. I should be done with this mitten soon and then I have one more to do. They are warm and snug.

I made ths cuff a bit longer so it will keep my wrists warm.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bumps in the design road

First, as promised, here is a photo of the completed Clapotis. I decided not to block it as I wanted it to curl and be cuddly around my neck. It is very warm and I'm enjoying it. Mother Nature has been making it attractive by bringing in cold weather in time. The two yarns combined quite well to create a cohesive pattern. It doesn't really look like stripes from afar.

After a week of fidgeting around because I hadn't started the Latvian mittens when I was fresh in the morning, I decided to start them on Friday evening. I'm not sure that was a great decision. I had to rip and re-do the braid and the fringe 3 times because of silly mistakes. Then I realized I had too many sts on the needles. I modified designs from a site with lots of Latvian mitten charts. The chart I started with had 80 sts and that seemed like a good number so I created a chart with 80 sts. But the two edges of my chart didn't match up! I had the wrong number of sts for a complete set of repeats which is key to circular knitting.

Since I was not going to rip and re-do the fringe and the braid, I decided to re-work the chart to fit the 80 sts. I picked different motifs, modified them to fit and created a new chart. Since then I've made some slow progress. I have made so many mistakes and had to tink back that it is slow going. But I am at the end of the cuff now. I have a couple of rnds more for the cuff and then I have to determine where to put the thumb opening and start on the body of the mitten.
These are going to be bullet proof and warm. I am knitting them on 2 mm needles so they fit. I should have started with 64 or 68 sts, not 80. Then I could have used 2.25 mm needles and the stranding would have been easier. Oh well. Warm, wind-proof mittens are not the worst thing I could have created.

The moral of the story is that it does require concentration and a clear mind to design. Trying to do it when one is tired and brain-dead is not productive.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Delinquent yet again

I'm late with this again. I had good intentions. I wanted to take a photo of my finished Clapotis in daylight and add it to this post but that hasn't happened. I don't know where the weekend went and it is difficult to find time to photograph in daylight during the week. I leave in a hurry in the morning and it is dark by the time I get home at night.

The good news is that it is finished and just in time for the cold weather that descended upon us on Friday. The bad news is that my winter jacket is busted. The zipper is not functional. It opens up. At one point in my life, I would have undertaken replacing the zipper. Not any more. I will look for a new jacket soon.

I have been charting my Latvian mitten pattern and planning out the color placement. Originally I was going to use 3 colors and selected a pattern that was executed in three colors. But after a few days of pondering the colors and where each one goes, I decided to add a fourth today. In artificial light, they look good together. I have them in my bedroom to inspect in daylight in the morning. If all goes well, I will cast on tomorrow.

I will post with photos this weekend.