With my love of knit socks, it’s no wonder I’ve gravitated to mittens. I particularly love stranded mittens, but I’ll happily knit away on a pair of cabled or plain mitts as well. Small projects seem to be my forte. While I’ve knit at least one sweater, mostly to prove I could, they’re not my current obsession.
This is knitting that isn’t going into the Yule Gift Pile for next year. Once in a while, I have to make something for myself and the husbeast. These are for me, mostly because they’re way too small or girly for him! I will note that he works in trucking and delights in wearing colours not generally associated with diesel fuel and testosterone fumes just to piss off his co-workers, so girly really isn’t a problem for anyone but me…because I don’t always want to share.
2♥s Beat As 1 mittens
First up, a pair of 2♥s Beat As 1 mittens by Yvette Noel. Lovely cable mitts made out of Burgundy Cascade 220 Superwash Sport. At least, I think that’s what I made them out of because I lost the ball band. Hopefully that will be less of an issue this year, because most of the ball bands that went missing did so when I cleaned up my little craft cave in the basement. Now that it’s relatively clean down here, I should hopefully be able to keep track of my ball bands.
The mitten was the December “Pattern of the Month” for the “I Make Mittens” group on Ravelry. I was very happy to take part because the mittens are lovely! I think that my only minor criticism is that cables are slow-going for me, like speed bumps to my knitting. Maybe that’s a good thing, and maybe I should try to slow down a bit more, but there’s always that part of me that says…
These look finished, but they’re not. I can tell because they have a provisional cast-on in bright pink yarn. Gorgeous Ruba’iyat Mittens designed by Heather Desseraud. I plan on lining them, so while the pretty exterior is done, the interior linings are still waiting for me to decide what colours I’m going to use, and whether I’ll just use leftover sock yarn or some other yarn that I’d intended to use for mittens but found were a little difficult to work with. Updates will be posted when I figure out where I’m going with this!
I honestly meant to update well before now, but while my intentions were good…my followup was crap.
The knitting content has been almost non-existent on the blog for a while, so I will offer up an apology for anyone looking for knitting and finding everything else. My knitting has had a tendency to go in fits and starts the past couple of years. First it was a full-out sock obsession that went into overload, after which I took some time off from serious knitting. I really did burn myself out. The past two years, I’ve recovered in just enough time to get the Christmas Knitting over and done with before sinking back into well-earned break that turned into extended sabbaticals.
So I’m going to try and do better this year. Maybe space out the Christmas knitting so that it’s not all being hurriedly done at once.
Excuses aren’t knitting, however, so here we go!
These were the first socks completed, sometime in June. I was experimenting with tighter gauge and had knit them on 2mm needles. They fit my foot, but they were somewhat too snug — so they are a perfect fit for my mother-in-law, Sheila. The tighter gauge will ensure that they will last a long time and stay nice and cozy.
Socks for my own Mum! These, too, were at a slightly tighter gauge, but for a bigger foot. They were knit from the toe-up using a Fleegle Heel. I couldn’t tell you what the yarn is, but it felt like it was possibly a Zitron/Trekking product from the feel of the yarn. The colour, however, doesn’t seem to be part of that line. Ah well…it was still a good knit 🙂
Mittens for Dad! I had made mittens for everyone *but* him last year, and I really wanted to make sure that he had warm hands for this year. They were started last year on boxing day, and I managed to get one mitten finished before putting them aside. Picked ’em up again at the end of November, finished the second mitten, then moved on to the liners. The liners look pretty similar for both mittens, with the greet at the finger tips. I had two small balls of very similarly coloured Trekking (if not two dyelots of the same colourway), which I used for the liner closer to the openings. The fingertips are some leftover Cascade sock yarn. Dad assures me that the thumbs are the right length, and since my only worry was that I’d knit the thumbs too short, I guess we can call these a success!
A set of mittens for my co-worker Lila, who loves Tolkein and the Peter Jackson version of Middle Earth. She caught sight of these over my shoulder one day when I was glancing at Ravelry, and mentioned how she’d love a pair. She has knitters in her family, but getting them to make anything for her is a trial. These are my birthday/Christmas gift to her. The background is Kroy and the design is actually an acrylic baby yarn that was chosen mainly for the glittery bling that magic doors require. The wool in the Kroy will keep her plenty warm, methinks.
Socks for my father-in-law, Don – aka “why do I keep losing the ball bands?”
The yarn is possibly ONline Supersocke 100 Forest Color, but I can’t be 100% certain as…well…I lost the ball band. Probably when I cleaned up my office earlier this fall. Oops. Again, stripey goodness. It keeps me amused.
Last, but certainly not least, a scarf for my sister-in-law, who can be rather difficult to shop for. She apparently loves the scarf, however, and I’m not surprised…it’s 2 skeins of Malabrigo Mecha in the Lotus colourway. 100% Merino goodness! I used the 1-row scarf pattern, and it worked beautifully with the way the yarn was dyed.
Next time, I’ll try to show a couple of the other projects I’ve been working on but haven’t had time to post quite yet!
January didn’t shape up as I expected. I did knit quite a bit…just not on the things I had intended. Somehow, though, you can either roll with it, or allow yourself to be steamrolled.
I didn’t feel well over the first half of the month, which put a bit of a crimp in things. I didn’t really have much ability to concentrate, so I stuck to socks.
I made a valiant stab at getting a pair of mittens done, but I lost confidence after having some difficulty with the liner. I’ve been making liners using fingering weight yarn. Kroy is a bit heavier than that. It caused a lot of bulkiness and extra stitches that I had to try and account for. It took about two nights to get the liner to a point I was happy with it. I’m also realizing that the thumb hole on the outer mitten was knit a couple of rows too high. It makes the mitten a little too tight across the thumb, and there’s no way I can easily repair it unless I want to rip back the liner so I can get into the mitten so I can start picking it apart at the fingertips and thumb, re-knit the mitten….I’d be better off just re-knitting the mitten from start to finish.
So….mitten drama. I put the mittens aside and worked on…
I started these on Christmas Eve while during a family party. I cast them off on January 24th. We were “social” during the second half of the month, so the only thing I could work on was something portable and dead-simple….like socks. They aren’t the ugliest pair of self-striping socks I’ve worked on, but they’re close. They never seem to look like they’ll be bad when you see them in a ball under store lighting…it’s only once the sock starts to take shape that you realize you’ve had the equivalent of a yarny Rick Roll.
I guess I figured correctly that these will make excellent Hallowe’en socks — they’re bound to scare anyone who looks upon ’em.
I have another pair of socks on the needles. More about those as we go through February.
No spinning for January. As mentioned, being sick and then being out of the house isn’t conducive to spinning. The two nights I was setting aside for spinning wound up being taken up by laundry and fixing the mitten mentioned above. February, however, will have spinning! I just have to decide which fiber to start working on, as I have some pretty wonderful bags of fluff to choose from.
The Husbeast and I are trying to clean up our diet. Which means less sugar, and more of what you’d call “natural whole-foods”. Essentially, we get rid of the “fillers” that have the highest calorie and carbohydrate load. It evens out our blood sugar (thankfully neither of us is diabetic), which means our moods are definitely more stable. Other side benefits include less headaches/migraine, less joint pain, and less muddled thinking.
And the way I look at it, it starts with chili.
That chili has ground beef, onion, garlic, carrots, red & orange peppers, celery, and a jalapeno pepper…chopped up and mixed with something I’m coming to refer to in my head as a “spice bomb”. The flavours are amazing. And no…we won’t be having it with bread. It’s hearty enough as it is.
I generally tuck it away in a crock pot on “low” and let it do it’s thing during the day. By the time we’re ready for dinner, it’s ready to eat. And we get leftovers, which make for excellent meals at work for the rest of the week.
See? I told you it starts with chili!
This spicy number is mitten #1 of the first of two pairs of mittens I need to finish up. What I find awesome about it, is that it looks like handspun….but it’s Kroy. Patons Kroy from Michaels. I have mentioned previously that I am a fan of Kroy, and this is one of the reasons why. This mitten is Kroy from the inside-out. The liner is Kroy. The outer is Kroy. These are going to be very warm hands indeed.
Don’t get your hopes up, Dad. These mittens are too short for you. They’re going to be used as chess pieces in the eternal battle of wits that is “Trying to get the Husbeast’s Grandfather to Accept a Gift”. If all else fails, they should be large enough to fit Dad-in-law. But that’s only if he fails in his mission to tactically stash the mittens in Grandad’s house while he’s in warmer climes.
But first…that thumb is huge. I will re-knit it with a couple of decreases and move on to mitten #2 of the pair.
Writers have NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Knitters….well, they just pick a month and knit the heck out of things. I’ve heard of NaKniSweMo (Sweaters), and October usually is dubbed “Socktoberfest”. January is apparently NaKniMitMo, which translates into mittens.
I’m knitting mittens. I have two pairs on the needles. In both cases, the liners are done, I’m just knitting the handsome outer shells.
Both pairs are for men. One of whom has freakishly long hands. Yes Dad, I’m looking directly at you. (No, those aren’t your mittens. The liners aren’t near long enough).
If there is one thing that Granny Martin tried to impress upon me as a youngster, it was that you should always have warm feet and warm hands. As I’ve learned since, you can cover the rest of yourself in as much wool as you like, but without those extremities taken care of, you’re still going to be a chilly, chilly body on a cold day.
I love mittens and handwarmers. I think they’re a great accent to wrap up your winter outfit. Sometimes it’s the only thing you can see! Having lived North of 60, I’m well aware of how to bury yourself in your jacket, hopefully with hood (and plenty of layers beneath). The only thing with whimsy is the hands.
My brother’s family is still in the Yellowknife area, so I like to make the kids fun things that they can wear over the long winter. For my niece, I love mittens. She loves being fashionable, so I figured she’d love a pair of traditional, lined, Latvian (stranded) mitts.
Nope. The pattern really wasn’t working out. Sure, I got the lining right (yay!), but the pattern was getting lost in the colours of yarn. Time to take it back to the basics.
Much better! And what young lady wouldn’t like pink robots? The pattern is Robomitts by SpillyJane, only mindly tinkered with by yours truly, As they’re lined, there is a turned hem, and some extra robots to fill in the addition of the cuff. I also changed a couple of designs on some robot tummies. I also had to place the thumb a little differently due to the liner, so that made a difference as well (but not much).
The yarn is an unnamed hot pink for the lining (lost the ball band in Crafting Central downstairs many moons ago), and the outer mittens are Koigu Premium Merino. I have decided that I will only use my Koigu (and koigu-like sock yarn) for mittens from now on, as I have lost FAR too many socks of this blend to holes that came out of nowhere. Like one pair of socks that wore through in record time (they were less than a year old when the feet started fraying like nobody’s business). So new rule of thumb: Koigu is for Hands Only. We will try to find some other yarn with brilliant solid and mildly variegated patterning and a higher nylon content if we want socks.
Mum, like my niece, received lined mittens. Harry Potter-inspired mittens. The pattern is O.W.L. mittens by Celeste Young. My Mum loves the Harry Potter series, so it seemed a no-brainer. The tweaks made here? Well, again, they’re lined, so I adjusted the cuff as necessary. Otherwise, it was a pretty straightforward knit, practically 100% to the pattern. Which is an oddity for me as I generally tweak the hell out of anything I knit, but this didn’t really need it. I only had to fix a couple of spells on the palms.The helpful folks on Ravelry pointed out that a couple of the spells don’t actually exist, so because I’m handy at charting via Excel Spreadsheet, I tucked a couple of “real” spells into their place. Easy peasy.
The lining is the same unknown Fuscia that feature in my niece’s mittens, and the outer mitten is Knit Picks Palette in Pennyroyal and Mulberry. I had picked up a little of the Palette to play with as so many other mitten knitters seem to like it, and fell in love with it. Took advantage of a late-November sale to pick up even more for the coming year. I love that they give you more than enough so that you have extras for later. Seriously wonderful and warm wool!
Here’s hoping that over the long term the yarn lives up to the hype I’ve now given it!
Finally….you might want to stop here if you are offended by the f-bomb on a pair of knitted mittens.
You can’t say I didn’t warn you.
I knit these on the sly for the Husbeast. I actually knit two pairs, but only managed to get photos of Robin’s because his Dad’s mittens came off the needles and into their wrapping literally 10 minutes before his Dad walked through our door on Christmas Day. So you will have to imagine the other pair (which have a cuff more like my Mum’s mittens).
I didn’t line these, by the way. The pattern is “How Cold Is It?” by Drunk Girl Designs. These are done in Knit Picks Palette Pennyroyal and Abyss Heather. He thinks he saw me working on these at one point, but he is mistaken as I knit them Totally On The Sly when he wasn’t around.
His Dad’s mittens were made out of Cascade 220 Sport in Brown (a dark chocolate brown) and Extra Creme (kinda taupe). I knit them on 2.5mm needles. That’s Addi Turbo slang for “size 1.5 but we’ll call them size 1”. I Do Not Recommend knitting with sport weight yarn on size 1 needles. It hurts the hands. Yes, it makes awesomely warm fabric (particularly as this was merino), but it hurts. And it makes you procrastinate. Which is why, even though I cast them on sometime around the middle of November, they weren’t finished until the Very Last Minute.
The look on everyone’s faces when he opened them up was priceless, however, and totally worth the arthritic attacks suffered!.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m horrible at self-editing and not posting current projects as they wind up becoming gifts for family and friends and I never want to either get hopes up or ruin a surprise. I’m hoping to stop that practice come the New Year, as I’m going to try spacing my knits out throughout the year. My yarny goals for 2015 are as follows:
– 1 pair of socks per month
– 1 pair of mittens per month. Possibly lined
– 1 4oz package of fiber spun & plied per month.
That gives me a pair of socks to take with me wherever I go (#projectsockdrawer), a pair of mittens to go nuts on the stranding (#projectmittenbasket), and a bit of an excuse to delve into the fiber stash (#fiberpalooza). I’m hoping that by the end of the year I’ll have a few more handspun items knit, and a topped up sock drawer and mitten basket. I like the idea of a mitten basket. Some days you want more variety than the same old mittens you’ve been wearing out for 3 years. (The Hashtags are mine, btw…inspired/purloined by other knitters’ projects, but mine nonetheless)
The family will just have to guess which knits are for them!
So now, after all the wall of text, I should probably break it up with a little eye candy. Today’s choice is a lovely pair of socks that went t my Mother-in-Law, Sheila.
Robin and I were taking a poke through one of Calgary’s many fine yarn stores (quite possibly Pudding yarn) when we spied this really lovely skein of pink-and-grey Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock Multi, I loved it, but didn’t think I could justify the expense, when Robin mentioned that it would make some lovely socks for his Mum.
Bear in mind, when I think of Sheila, I think in terms of vibrant Autumn colours. Forest greens, bright and burnt oranges of falling leaves….it offsets her strawberry blonde quite nicely. Apparently, though, she has a secret liking for lighter colours that her son is aware of, so we bought the skein, took it home, and I cast on a pair of Hermione’s Everyday Socks with it.
I wish I could remember the colourway, but the ball band has gotten lost in Crafting Central down in the basement. Eventually I will find it and add it to the Ravelry entry for this sock.
Sheila also scored a pair of Fiddlehead mittens I’d been working on for myself as a heavy-wool / extreme-cold-weather project. I really do need a pair of deep-winter mittens for scraping the car’s windshield on those days when it’s -20 or colder, but even as I was knitting these, I didn’t feel totally in tune with them for myself. They were telling me they were going to belong elsewhere. I think they will keep her nice and toasty. As it was, my Dad was eyeing them up. Good thing his hands are Inhumanly Large and require Custom Fitting, otherwise she might have lost them to him!
I meant to post before now, but things have been scattered and hectic over the holiday (I consider it ‘the holiday that wasn’t’ because I worked for most of it, but what can you do, right? It’s the nature of the beast when you knowingly continue a career path that includes features shift work).
So, since I didn’t really post any of the things I was knitting for Yule *as* I was knitting them, I will do so here!
Project #1 began as this lovely combination of fluff from FatCatKnits fiber club. The theme was FairyTales, and the two colourways are “Angry Dwarf” (oranges) and “The Prince” (blues).
I turned it into these mittens, which went to my Dad. They’re Jared Flood’s “Strago” pattern, only elongated to account for my Dad’s really long fingers.
Next, I discovered the Inspira Cowl. I went looking for the right yarns, and came up with a ball of Noro Silk Garden that was looking for just the right project, and a ball of Noro Kureyon that I despaired of ever using because it was hard on my fingers while knitting. Turns out that it was perfect for stranded knitting, as I could carry it a little looser in my left hand (I knit stranded two-handed). These went to my Other Mum, Sheila (for lack of a better term, my Common-Law Mother-in-Law 😉 )
And because I was still on an Inspira kick (honestly, I’m surprised Robin wasn’t sick of seeing me knit the same thing for weeks), I dug into my stash and found a bit more handspun that would suit my own Mum. She’s the only person I know of who can, and will, wear these colours together. At the same time. And not make it look crazyhorriblebad. If you ask her why this is, she’ll tell you that she’s a “winter”.
My nephew Milo’s mittens were next, but we’ve already seen them. I knit them in Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light.
Off the needles next were my niece Georgia’s mittens. They’re a mishmash of “Wibbly Wobbly Mittley Wittley” by Therese Sharp and the Warmer on the Inside mitts, and knit with Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light and Brown Sheep Lanaloft Sport Weight yarn. There’s a long story of angst and frustration behind them, but I will spare you only to say that they were a work in progress for the better part of the year, including 3 or 4 changes of yarn, pattern, and other things causing the wailing and gnashing of teeth (such as a yarn store owner who insisted on “helping” Robin find what I needed when I’d already given him instructions. Note to yarn store owners: Don’t do this. Please).
Last but not least, mittens for my Common-Law Father-in-Law, Don. They’re my Magnum Mitten pattern, only in full mitten form. I knit them out of Paton’s Kroy in Flax and Black, and they came out quite nice and warm.
I really like patterns and projects that give me very little grief. Seriously.
Speaking of which, at some point I had started Rose Hiver’s Quaternity (actually, during the KAL), and wound up putting it on the back burner while I completed the Yule knitting. I finished them off as a palate-cleanser after Yule. Koigu Premium Merino in a nice silvery grey and royal purple. These went to Mum the other day because she had mentioned earlier that she needed a new pair of mittens. Hint recieved! 😉
I’ve been wanting “TARDIS mittens” for awhile now. I looked online and found mittens decorated as Tardises (Tardi?), and mittens decorated with Tardises (what is the plural on that, anyhow?). I just didn’t find what I was looking for. There was one front-runner, but I quickly found myself ripping it back and starting all over from scratch.
In addition to the notebook I usually carry in my purse, I often try to find ways of sneaking graph paper too. I never know when I’m going to want to doodle something and see how it turns out, whether cables, lace or colourwork. I had whipped out one of my home-made mitten templates at work one day and started filling in dots, and to my surprise…I had a somewhat roughed-in Dalek shape. And then a Cyberman-type shape. It wasn’t too hard to come up with an angel. The Sonic Screwdriver was a bit of a challenge. After all, whose screwdriver do you choose? So, I kinda mishmashed one out of a bunch of them. It’s a hybrid.
So I present to you: Warmer on the Inside. Because they are, particularly in the snowbound weather we’re seeing in Calgary at this time. This pair won’t get to stay with me; they’re moving on. They’re knit at about 8 stitches & rows/inch, using Berocco Ultra Alpaca Light in a dark blue and silvery grey. I used 2mm circular needles. They’re rather densely knit because, again, going somewhere very cold. I hope that the recipient will like them. I think the Husbeast will be particularly reluctant to see them leave.
I also included charts and instructions for making handwarmers out of them, so you don’t have to have full mitts if you don’t need them.
As a final incentive, I’m offering the pattern at 25% off until the end of Christmas Day (Mountain Time). Ravelry coupon code is “whovian“. Fantastic, Allons-y, and Geronimo indeed! 🙂