Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mission accomplished

Remember my mission from last week to knit a bunch of thumbs and get all of my unfinished mittens off the UFO list? Well, I stayed on task, and finished two out of three pairs:These have already been worn to school a few times, and I can see the wear already. The yarn is Novita Nalle -a yarn that I think has a lot of good qualities, but also problems, and something I probably wouldn't choose to buy any more. However, I have a ton of it in my stash, so it's slowly being turned into mittens and hats. Mainly for the kids, since they wear out (or loose) their stuff so fast anyway, that the quality of the yarn matters less in my mind.

The Latvian mittens also got thumbs. Here you can see how well the thumb is camouflaged against the palm:
I also finished something else:

Another pair of mittens for the 7-year-old. You know how kids need about 10 pairs over one winter, since they (the mittens) always get wet and lost and whatnot. So eight pairs to go... but that's ok, these are so fast to knit that I can crank out a mitten in an evening with little effort. The yarn is the same as in the other ones, Novita Nalle in variegated blues. I actually really like how it pools with this stitch count. And the dark blue swirls around the thumb - a very cool effect, I think.

I also felt that I needed a pair of nice gloves. The two pairs that I have now are both getting so worn that they don't look very attractive any more, so it's time to make new ones. One down, one to go:Here's a cuff detail:
And thumb increases:

I do prefer thumbs made like this, versus the traditional straight tube mitten and straight thumb, like in the Latvian mittens. This just fits so much better. My hands are very wide right under the thumb, and without increases mittens are often a little tight there.

The yarn I'm using for these gloves if Wildefoot by Brown Sheep, the same as for the Latvian mittens. I have to say that I enjoy knitting several projects with the same yarn, and knowing the yarn and the gauge really well. There's no surprises, and deciding on stitch count for example for these gloves involved much less guessing than if I'd just based it on a small gauge swatch.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Three things

What do these three things have in common?

No, they are not all missing a pair, just a thumb. And taking care of that common factor will be my mission this coming week. It's getting cold here again, and we need some mittens! The middle one in the picture is going to be a pair for the 7-year-old, the black and white are for me, and the orange/brownish pair is still looking for an owner. They are actually a little tight for me, which is the only reason I'm not keeping them for myself. I have an older pair worked in the same pattern (different colors) that I've worn to shreds. They are really nice and warm because of the double thick fabric, so I wouldn't mind a new pair of the same.

And the past weeks accomplishment? Well, while we're waiting for a better (or a little older) photographer and a hair cut, this is all you get for a picture:

(The Husband was too busy to take my picture and the 7-yr-old wanted to help, of course. It's hard enough trying to explain to a 38-year-old how to take sharp pictures, let alone a 7-year-old...)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

It's a funny animal, this entrelac. At times, the whole thing travels in the "wrong" direction, left to right. Even when I'm knitting in the round, it's really not in the round, but back and forth, although it does produce a round tube of fabric. I have to say I am most fascinated.

I first started by revisiting a couple of entrelac instructions that I'd read before, but never really tried. k2, turn work, p2, turn, k3, turn, p3, turn.... what!?!? There was just no way I was going to be turning the work every 2 or 3 stitches. Not even every 7, which was going to be the size of my square. So I had to remind myself of how to knit backwards. I'd once tought myself how, when I hated purling so much, because it was so slow and often gave a looser gauge (purling that is), but gave up on it, because knitting backwards was of course even slower, and the gauge was whatever. But it's actually not that hard, and now I'm to the point, where my gauge is about the same both ways, and I can even watch TV while knitting again.

I decided to go with the version where you slip the first stitch of every row. I tried it both ways, and even though slipping makes the stitch appear larger, I still preferred the neatness of it.

Now what's it going to be? Well, I'm trying to make a hat, although I'm very unsure of the shaping, even though the entrelac is working out just fine. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how it'll turn out.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

too fast...

A couple of nights of sitting on the couch and watching movies (long movies, mind you, we were watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy), and MIL's scarf was done:
(in it's unblocked form here)

Even the Husband commented that you knit that pretty fast, didn't you! Yup. And the reason? It is TI-NY!! About the size of a cub scouts neckerchief! And the pattern? It says 80 cm top to bottom, I have maybe 40. Here's my (medium sized) hand for scale:

I know my yarn isn't anywhere close to what they used, but still... If this was 100 % wool, it would probably block to one and a half times this size, but as it is, I don't think I can strech it much. So I'm going to start over with two more pattern repeats on both sides (the pattern starts from the outside edge with 6 pattern repeats on both sides) and go up a size in needles.

I'm not quite sure what I'll do with this tiny little one, but I've been wearing it on my shoulders today as a shrug, and I'm actually starting to like it a lot...

And since it is a nice sunny day today here in South Dakota, perfect for drying stuff outside, we did some dyeing. I've been eyeing other peoples entrelac socks and mittens and other items, and been wanting to try some, but I needed a nice yarn to do it with. I still had some of the Inspirations yarn Decaf left, so I decided to try that.

Two different shades of a very berryish color, still wet in the picture. I always think the hardest part about dyeing yarn is waiting for it to dry before you can use it! I'm again using the "hand-dyeing" method, pouring the diluted dye solution onto the yarn in my hand. You have so much more control that way than immersing! You see right away what it'll look like, you can stop when the saturation is what you want, and you can control exactly where the color goes. After I'm done pouring the color, I put it in the microwave for 3 x 1 min.

Another thing I tried (and wasn't quite as succesful) was to dye some yarn brown. Now the dyes I have are primary colors, and I'm mixing all the colors I'm using from them. And anybody who has ever done any painting and mixed their own colors, knows how difficult browns are! It is so hard to hit the color you were looking for, usually it just looks ugly and dirty. So I'm still working on that, and it may very well be that you'll never see any pictures of my experiment...