Tag: knitting

TBT: Robot Mittens

TBT: Robot Mittens

Pattern: Love Bytes (Robot Mittens) by Grace Schnebly

Yarn: Cascade 220

Needles: Uhh, I forgot to note this

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: November 17, 2009

Completed: November 22, 2009

My favorite kind of colorwork to knit is stranded mittens. It is a perfect place for patterns you wouldn’t wear on a garment. The shape is ideal for colorwork patterns. They’re so quick and satisfying! Yet sadly I live in a climate where it is only mitten weather a dozen days a year.

These mittens have held up well over 7 years, probably because they’re worn rarely. As I write this I realize it’s probably time to pass them along. They’re adorable, but they are too big for me, and I have another pair of mittens I prefer on the rare occasion I need them.

What FOs have you recently let go of?

TBT: Handspun Thorpe

TBT: Handspun Thorpe

Pattern: Thorpe by Kirsten Kapur

Yarn: my handspun

Needles: US 10 (6.5mm) & US 11 (.80mm)

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: October 18, 2009

Completed: October 23, 2009

It is time for another knitwear Throwback Thursday, featuring my Handspun Thorpe. Eight years later I still remember spinning this yarn. It was beautiful merino roving, so fluffy and soft and delightful. I spun and plied it in a single day. I wanted to knit it into something that would reflect that character and Thorpe’s simple shaping and textures were perfect.

I probably should have given this hat away years ago. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have actually worn it. It is comfy and soft but it makes me feel so goofy that I always end up changing to a different hat before I leave the house. It is a really nice FO that just isn’t really me. It reflects the struggle I have with my handspun – the yarn that is fun to spin does not lead to the projects I want to wear. After reading Yarnitecture I have been trying to spin more mindfully as a practice, which I hope will also pay off in producing yarn that I will be more eager to knit for myself.

Do you have any lovely FOs that you keep even though they aren’t really your style? Tell me about them below!

Crafty Reads: Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook

I can tell you up front that I am not going to be able to do justice to this month’s crafty read, Norah Gaughan’s Knitted Cable Sourcebook. So I’m going to transcribe the notes I took while reading this book, to portray the way it blew my mind.

Chapter 1 – Essentials

The explanations for her own cable terminology are great. How useful to have a language to refer to types and parts of cables. Whoa her cable symbols are genius – they communicate so much information. Looking at her charts really helps you see the cable in fabric. A stockinette stitch equivalent: how many stockinette stitches are the same width as this cable. Well this is such a handy concept and I am going to use this cable reference for that detail alone. So helpful in subbing out cables.

Chapter 2 – Basics

I’m sorry, these are your basic cables, Norah? I am about to get schooled here. The grouping of the cables into related families is so helpful in seeing the the effect of simple changes. Adding a single purl stitch or a twist can alter the character of a cable.

Chapter 3 – Adding Breadth

I am definitely only understanding this on a surface level. That’s fine. It will take several re-reads and some swatching of my own to really understand these principles at work. It’s no hardship to imagine devoting time to this again.

Chapter 4 – Expanding

Sometimes I turn the page and see a new cable so astounding that I make a little sound. This is so clearly the result of a lifetime’s work. I may never understand this like Norah does, my brain just may not work that way.

Chapter 5 – Finding Motifs

No joke, this could be the textbook for an entire semester-long course. Cables in Theory and Practice. The patterns she designed each have their own interesting details, but are backdrops for you to play with cables. They make me feel 😍

Chapter 6 – Drawing

I feel like she is Prometheus and has just brought down fire from the Gods.

And that’s it! I highly recommend you check out this book yourself, it is so dense with beauty and information. Next month I’ll be reading The Colette Guide to Sewing Knits if you want to join me.

TBT: Burren Cowl

TBT: Burren Cowl

Pattern: Beech Wood by Ilga Leja

Yarn: my handspun

Needles: US 7 (4.5mm)

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: August 10, 2009

Completed: August 15, 2009

This month’s Throwback Thursday brings us to my Burren Cowl. It’s a garter-based cowl pattern made in my third ever skein of handspun. I named it for the limestone flats of Ireland called The Burren due to the texture and the fact that I took my FO shots there. The cowl has held up beautifully – I didn’t wash or de-pill it for the updated photoshoot and it looks as good as in the original photos.

I have made a lot of cowls out of handspun, but this is one of the few that I’ve held onto for myself due to the wonderful combination of yarn and pattern. I didn’t realize it at a the time, but garter stitch lace is exactly the sort of squishy, bumpy background that works wonderfully for early handspun. Any unevenness adds to the charm, and garter stitch brings the springiness that beginner yarn can be lacking.

I don’t tend to wear cowls much, but in the days after this photo shoot I definitely reached for this one more. They can be a nice splash of color, but in my climate I don’t often wish for a warmer neck, and I tend to wear delicate necklaces that get lost under a knitted item. I probably already own a lifetime supply of cowls. They’re fun to make so I will probably keep falling for their siren call and then finding them new homes.

Do you have any kinds of items you keep knitting even though you don’t really use or wear them? Any special knits you associate with a trip? Let me know in the comments!

FO Friday: Topsy Turvy Leg Warmers

FO Friday: Topsy Turvy Leg Warmers

Pattern: I made it up!

Yarn: Paton’s Classic Wool Bulky and BFL/silk handspun from a friend

Needles: US 9 (5.5mm)

Ravelry Link: here!

Started: January 15, 2017

Completed: January 21, 2017

My friend Megan sent me some gorgeous handspun in a swap, and no sooner was it out of the package than my daughter’s eyes lit up, “I want you to make me something with that!” This time of year the temperature can rise 30 degrees over the course of the day, so I loved the idea of making some leg warmers she could wear to school in the morning, and take off in the afternoon. I fell in love with the idea of brioche because it let me stretch out the handspun by pairing it with a commercial yarn, it makes them look extra fancy, and they’re reversible, which is nice for a recipient with budding fine motor skills.

This was my first brioche project, and it was fun. It was easy to get into the rhythm, and these sped along. I think it is such a lovely way to highlight handspun. You can really see the color changes, and it looks good as the foreground or the background. I chose to pair it with the Patons because the handspun is BFL/Silk, and I wanted a workhorse match to make these last on the playground.

I will be sad when the weather warms up and these go in a drawer until next year. Do you have any projects you’ve made to highlight a special yarn?

TBT: My First Socks

TBT: My First Socks

Pattern: Lifestyle Toe Up Socks by Charisa Martin Cairn

Yarn: Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs Gothsocks

Needles: US 1 (2.25mm)

Dates Worked: May 30 – June 20 2009

Ravelry Link: here!

A new feature I’ll be doing on the blog this year is Throwback Thursday. I would love to have an entirely handmade wardrobe, and to do so I need to make the clothes I will actually wear. What better way to see what works than to look back at my making history? So each month I’ll be reviewing one of my early projects – I want to see how they’ve held up, whether they’ve gotten much use, and what I would do differently if I made them today. I’ll only be reviewing projects I still own, and I am a brutal closet cleaner, so this is a good snapshot of what is really useful to me in a homemade item. 

First up is my first pair of socks. My first FO was in October 2007, but these socks from 2009 are the oldest homemade item I still own. I finished 33 projects in that interim that I got rid of – clearly my tastes have changed since them. But stripey socks? Stripey knee socks? I don’t think those will ever go out of style for me.

These socks get quite a bit of wear when it’s sock weather down here. The calf shaping isn’t perfect but they stay up and are comfy. They’ve held up pretty well for nearly 8 year old socks. You can see in the above picture that one heel is close to giving out. They also took an accidental trip through the washing machine which left them very lightly felted and made a little hole in one calf. Comparing my original picture to more recent ones, I can see that the light stripes have faded a lot. If I were to make these today I would do use a different sock pattern to better fit my foot, probably from one of the sock books I read last year, and I would do more sophisticated calf increases.

Overall, I would say these were a great success. They have had a long, useful life and still look pretty good. I no longer have the original yarn so I’ll have to find something else to darn them with when that heel eventually blows. Now that I work from home socks are one of the homemade items I wear the most, so a full sock drawer is a good investment for me.

I would love to hear about the earliest knit of yours that you still own. Is it still in your wardrobe rotation?

FO Friday: Strangling Vine Lace Scarf

FO Friday: Strangling Vine Lace Scarf

Pattern: Strangling Vine Lace Scarf by Nicole Hindes

Yarn: Springtide Farm 3 Ply Sport

Needles: US 3 (3.25mm)

Ravelry Link: here!

My mother-in-law, Sonnie, is a natural caretaker. She is so generous to others with her time and energy and never asks for anything for herself. When I was shopping at Rhinebeck this year I wanted to splurge on a skein of Springtide Farms cashmere. It is 100% cashmere and the softest thing I have ever touched in my life. I wanted the experience of knitting with this yarn but it didn’t match anything in my personal queue. Immediately I knew Sonnie would be the perfect recipient for such a decadent finished object. She would never request that I knit for her but she has proven herself knitworthy in the past and I wanted to wrap her up in some love. Sonnie, my husband, and my daughter all share the same blue eye color and I chose this skein as the closest match.

I only had a small amount of yarn and I wanted to use every inch of it for something wearable. I knew it deserved to be worn around the neck and chose this lace pattern based on consultation with my husband about Sonnie’s style. I made it narrower than the pattern calls for to get the longest possible scarf. I think it makes a sweet little neckwarmer.

In addition to being as soft as kittens, the yarn was delightfully springy. It really was a gift to myself to get to knit every inch of the 132 yards in this skein. I am pleased with my splurge – I got the joy of both using a luscious yarn and making something to treat a special woman in my life.