Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hemlock Ring Update 2

This is getting ridiculous. I am so close to finishing. Finally, I got almost to the end of the chart and thought, "Hey, I wonder why this one line is shaded a little darker." Turns out it's where the designer ended the blanket. So I have worked to halfway between his end and the end of the chart. Hopefully I will do the bind off this weekend.

I will start bobbled Vogue Knitting Mittens on my trip to Maryland this week.

Little progress on the pink baby blanket. I'm really sick of losing mittens - the sparkly white one is really a blow because they're the prettiest thing I've ever made.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Knit Night 2/5/09

Little knitting happened last night, but it was nice to have a homecooked meal. Even though I've been cooking for myself, Addie's shepherd's pie was lovely. I have done 13/70 rows of the chart on my hemlock blanket now, and as with most large things with me, it seems much more daunting halfway through than when I started. I just knit along, lalala, then think ,"Wow, self, well done, this is going swimmingly. What do you mean you're only 25% done? That's crazy kookoo bananas! This will take forever."

Dana says she's done with the band for her hat, but left it at home, and the baby booties... did not go as planned. She creatively cut the amount of knitting required in half, because the first bootie turned out for a giant monster baby. Addie, unfortunately is too busy with work, school, and homework to have any time to relax or knit. She spent all of her time off yesterday cleaning for us to come over. Her sister got a new puppy, I'm so jealous, it was soooooo cute.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hemlock Ring Update

I finished the vintage chart and am ready to move on to Jared's Feather and Fan increase chart! I have 31 days to finish for Mammay's birthday. This goal looks much more feasible with the tough middle behind me - a feeling which may fade as the circumference increases to a crazy size and each pair of rows takes many many minutes.

The other worry is the bind-off for me. On the Knit-A-Long group I've seen quite a few messages where people say things like, "Whew, ok I'm 2/3 of the way through the bind off now." Which means to me that this bind off is complicated and will take forever on many hundreds of stitches. I hope my circular is long enough for the outer realms of the blanket...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


This post will look a lot like the Berets one from earlier this month. But mittens. I have made more mittens than berets, but probably the same as hats. I'm going to pop over to Ravelry and investigate these numbers now.

Hats, inclusive............................21
6 = the same baby beret over and over
Adult Berets..................................6
4 = the same kids mittens for charity
Fingerless gloves..........................3
2 Fetching, 1 Dashing

This makes me think that overall, I knit pretty wide. Most things, I've tried a few times, with the glaring exception of adult sweaters. And, I suppose, lace. But I'm still working towards that, and openwork is no problem. The thing with me and mittens (or any genre of pattern, for that matter) is that I have a very steep learning curve. Read: act like an idiot until something clicks, then make significantly fewer stupid mistakes from there on out. Like the idea of a nice firm fabric being key to mitten warmth. Or the importance of using wool instead of acrylic on things that are supposed to be warm. Or how I've been weaving in ends wrong for five years (I always wondered why my ends popped out all over the place).

That said, the actual construction of mittens has given me little to complain about. From my first pair, I just read the instructions on how to make a gusseted thumb, and then when I saw what I had done, it made more sense. Now, my skill at picking up stitches has improved greatly, and I think there are fewer holes around thumb creases, but mostly I understood.

1. Four pairs of two-needle mittens.
Pattern: Family of Mittens (Lion Brand free pattern)
Yarn: Lion Brand Homespun (sea teal and coral)
Started/completed: for Christmas 2005
Comments: I gave these to the Hinsdale Food Bank in my grandma's name, because she endlessly knit children's mittens for charity. I can't even think how many tiny balls of yarn she kept to use as stripes. She filled a large floor basket with the mittens every year. I was pretty happy with mine, but shocked that a bulky yarn was being knit on 4s. Using two needles was great because I didn't feel like I was doing too many complicated things at once.

2. Cabled mittens
Pattern: from Mom's Accessories book
Yarn: Red Heart Tweed
Started/completed: Fall 2007
Comments: I don't remember much about making these, but I do remember not wearing them. To the point that when I accidentally threw out a bag of clothes for charity, they went with.

3. Fetching 1 - rainbow
Pattern: Knitty's Fetching
Yarn: Rowan Tapestry
Started/completed: Winter 07/08
Comments: Even though I made these in a DK instead of the recommended worsted, they were pretty warm and I loved them a lot. They went so well with my black coat and allowed me access to my fingers. I lost one only a couple months ago. Only one year of happy use, but actually they were getting a little loose, and even when I washed and reblocked, it was hard to keep them from scrunching up and sliding down my knuckles.

4. Sparkle Druid Mittens
Pattern: Jared Flood's Druid Mittens (Vogue Knitting, Fall 08)
Yarn: Sterling Silk and Silver - 63% Superwash Merino, 20% Silk, 15% Nylon and 2% real silver fibers
Started/completed: August-October 08
Comments: These were pretty much amazing to make and wear (except for one repeated mistake reading the pattern, ended up with a few sl2 wyif that looked silly). They're not very thick or windproof but they are so pretty. They are the most commented on of all my FOs on Ravelry. I started them just before I went to Mexico on business for the first time, and ended up begging a paperclip from a newsstand in the airport to use as a cable needle. I kept on with it even after I got home!

5. Fetching 2 Olive
Pattern: Knitty's Fetching
Yarn: Bernat Satin Solids
Started/completed: November 10, 2008
Comments: I made these on a business trip, then gave them to Cassie. I'm not sure how they wear, but they were noticeably thicker and more solid than Fetching 1.

6. Bulky Flip-top Mittens
Pattern: Bulky Flip-Top Mittens
Yarn: Handspun wool from a farm in Wisconsin
Started/completed: November 8-11, 2008
Comments: Oh, woe is me! I lost one of these last week and have been lamenting since! They were the super warmest most amazing mittens I have ever had. They kept me warm on the -13*F day - the coldest day in Chicago in 15 years! Oh, they were so tight and solid and had fantastic flip tops that I can now add in to any standard mitten pattern, but oh, the sadness of losing my best mitten. So sad.

And now, where do I go from here? Probably to the other featured mitten from Vogue Knitting Fall 2008 (like the Druid mitts). And hopefully quickly, too!

WIPs and Knit Nights

Bleh. I'm having trouble working through the WIPs. There are only two, and they're both blankets. One is the Hemlock Ring Blanket, and the other is a one piece baby blanket in a snappy jacquard. Extra colorwork, no fuss - love that. But they're on the extremes of interesting. The baby blanket is mind-numbing, but now too big for bus-commute knitting. Hemlock is a serious brain exercise, and I barely made it through the first 37 rows when I was alone in a quiet apartment this weekend. I tried working a couple rows while the boys were over, and that failed miserably. I'm one stitch off, but hell if I know where.

I have stash matched up to queued items, but starting another project when I have two so far from being completed is a horrifying idea. I really do need more mittens, though as my Knit-a-Day calendar reminded me yesterday, if I start something warm now, it will probably be finished just in time for toasty spring weather.

On a different note (can't decide whether it's an upside or what) Knit nights with Dana and Adrienne have been going really well. I think they both hold themselves up to some kind of standard like "we should be able to knit like Emily" which is ridiculous. Haha! No one can knit like me! But seriously, they've only done two or three projects each, and are doing really well. It's going pretty quickly, and they can both knit, purl, decrease, cast on and bind off - more than some knitters learn in their whole lives! We've been frequenting the Knit1 yarn shop on Lincoln Ave, just north of Addison - the owner is open late both Wednesdays and Thursdays, and I just happen to be in love with the selection there. Fortunately, I haven't gone in with a shopping list, since I can never find what I want if I know what that is going in. Does that make sense? Can't have a mission. Never works.

We've started rotating apartments to hang out at each week, and I suppose we'll throw in the yarn shop whenever necessary. It was kind of nice to give them each some yarn from my stash. Love to get rid of that stuff. Just some Homespun and baby yarn, but helpful nonetheless. I'm trying to mature into a new era of quality yarns, and getting rid of anything from Hobby Lobby and Michael's, much as I love them.