Archive | November 2012

Warm Hands, Warm Heart

You know, after relating the saga of my Damson shawlette earlier this month, I’ve had a new appreciation for how far I’ve come as a knitter. I’ve been apprehensive about projects that I consider to be more complex, often putting them off “until I have more experience.” I took the plunge on these gloves because my hands have just been so cold, and I’m absolutely thrilled with everything about them.

These gloves are everything that storebought gloves are not: warm, comfortable, well-fitted, long cuffs, and if I do say so myself, beautiful. This project is a perfect illustration of why I became a knitter. I needed something specific, and I made it happen. The cabling was a piece of cake, especially since I did it without a cable needle, using this method by Grumperina. I wasn’t sure about the fingers, but I ended up picking up twice the number of stitches when joining one finger onto the next, and then using k2tog to decrease to the correct number of stitches. This only left a few small gaps that I was easily able to close when weaving in ends. The results are comfortable as well as good looking, with no gaps to catch on anything or let in too much wind.

Just the facts:  Knotty Gloves by Julia Mueller in Knit Picks Stroll, color Aurora Heather.

Startitis (Induced)

Hurricane Sandy rolled through the Northeast this week, and here at the farm, we were ready. While everyone else was out buying bread and milk, we were stocking up on firewood and aluminum foil (for cooking in the embers) and making sure we had enough chicken feed laid in. We battened down the barn for the poultry, changed batteries in lanterns and flashlights, and freshened up the water in the gallon jugs we always keep full. And last but not least, I printed out plenty of knitting patterns, of course!

What followed was a serious bout of induced startitis. I cast on a Hogswatch stocking for Kurt. I used the Falling Snow Stocking pattern by Jennifer Hoel, which is gorgeous and rustic and knits up in a flash, since it uses bulky yarn! For yarn I went with my trusty standby, Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Bulky, in Wine and Bare. I planned to cast on and knit the first section as written, then re-chart the second section to depict the Hogfather and his sleigh pulled by wild boars by adapting some of Sandra Jäger‘s excellent charts. I wasn’t anticipating just how quickly this piece would go, so when I got to the point of needing to chart the Hogfather, I set it aside.

Next up was a pair of gloves for me. I normally opt for fingerless, but I think that’s going to be changing as I work outside more and more – my fingertips just get too cold. I lose more fine motor abilities to the cold than I do to something covering my fingertips, but cheap cotton or acrylic storebought gloves certainly won’t do! This pair is out of Knit Picks Stroll in Aurora Heather, and matches the hat I knit to wear around the barn and under my riding helmet. The pattern is Knotty Gloves by Julia Mueller. If you like gloves, you’ve got to check out her designs – they are just jaw-droppingly gorgeous!

It wasn’t only about casting on, though. I did finish up a Christmas gift, as well as my long-suffering Damson shawlette. This is a lovely, simple, well-written pattern from the incomparable Ysolda Teague, and I’m really ashamed of how I’ve treated it! I attempted it as a very new knitter, before I had any ability to read my knitting or fix mistakes without starting over. Through no fault of the pattern’s, that was a frustrating endeavor. I set it aside and restarted last June – that’s 2011, for you folks keeping track. Over a year ago! I got two rows from the edging cast-off and knew I’d run out of yarn before it was finished. I had more yarn, but, unable to face winding another ball, I simply buried it. So, faced with hours of hurricane knitting time, I dug up the last skein of yarn and wound it (much less painfully than it would have been a year ago, thanks to my new Strauch ball winder, which I love) so that I could finally cast off and declare victory! Perhaps I will find time to get a good photo to share with you at some point in the future, but for now, all that matters to me is that it is finished!