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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Regina Mitts


2/16/08: This page,
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/02/thoughts-on-increases.html, will show you my thoughts on thumb gusset increases.



Pattern: Regina Fingerless Mitts (my own design)
Yarn: Elann Baby Cashmere, Rose Heather, 2 balls.
Needles: 2.75 mm and 2.75+ mm (see below)
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They're done! They're done! I'm so excited that they came out OK. I'm still very new at knitting mitts. These are only my third! My first mitt was just a simple K2P2 tube with a hole in it for the thumb, that's pretty much as basic as it gets. My second mitt was a slight improvement, with a more interesting cable design and a slight gusset for the thumb that doesn't actually wrap around the thumb. This was mostly out of laziness, of wanting to knit from one end to the other with only 2 ends to weave in. For this third mitt, I decided to fiddle around with a wraparound thumb watchamacallit (what do you call that part of the mitt that wraps around your thumb or finger?). I like how it came out and have changed my mind. It's definitely worth joining yarn and weaving 4 loose ends.



Sorry, no photos of both mitts worn together. I couldn't figure out how to hold the camera in my mouth to take that shot. ;-) However you can see the right mitt worn here.



I designed these mitts to match my Regina Scarf, which I've been wearing whenever I go out. As you can see, the mitt isn't exactly like the scarf. There just wasn't enough space on the mitt for me to include the outer cable. These mitts fit my hand, so that would be an x-small/small size. They keep my hands warm and happy. :-)



The pattern isn't exactly alike on both mitts. This is intentional. I tried to mirror them by starting the pattern on different rows. So you start a full 5-bobble branch on the outer side of the mitt from the wrist cuff.

Yeah, these photos of the mitt not worn don't look very good. The pattern really shows better when it is worn on a hand. The mitts look much better when you see them in real life. I think the right mitt looks a little better than the left mitt because I had some trouble with the left one. There were a couple of times where all the stitches fell off one of the needles! And there were times when I dropped stitches, and the knitting got stretched this way and that way while I was trying to fix it. Of course, I'm the only one who would notice where these events occurred.



I had some needle size discrepancies. I used circular needles, all Susan Bates that were labeled "US2" and "2.75 mm". Some were 2.75 mm, some seemed more like 3.0 mm. I could feel the the size difference in my hands. The larger ones didn't fit the 2.75 mm slot of my Susan Bates needle gauge. CatBookMom suggested getting a needle gauge from Nancy's Knit Knacks, so I'll have to see where I can get one. I'll need at least two. One to keep in my project bag, another to keep in my circular needle storage place.

Despite this needle size discrepancy, I didn't notice any difference on the actual knitting. I think I can say that I've gotten comfortable with knitting with these itty bitty needles. Then when I switch back to using 4.5 mm or 5 mm needle projects, they feel like they go so much faster. Anyhow, I really feel like there may be socks in my future...

I'm not sure if there is any interest in a pattern for this mitt. Bobbles on mitts?! It's not a very practical design, although they do look pretty.

February 10, 2008 Update:

I've typed up the pattern. :-)

First I must apologize if this does not conform to "standard" mitt pattern format. I am not a professional pattern writer and this is my second attempt to type up detailed instructions for a mitt. I've tried to transfer my notes/scribbles into something that I hope makes sense. It is a bit more verbose than I would like because the Left Mitt and Right Mitt are done slightly differently because the cable pattern is not identical. I wasn't sure how to write this up in a shorter fashion. I'm afraid the whole thing reads more confusingly than it actually is. However I've made this available for anyone who is interested. I would appreciate any feedback you could provide that would help make this more readable.

I also want to note that these mitts are a ladies x-small/small size.



Regina Fingerless Mitts Pattern:
Regina Fingerless Mitts Pattern from Box.net (no registration required, just click on link & save file)


Stitches used in these mitts include:
Knit-One Purl-One Ribbing, BW1 pg 39
Knit-Two Purl-Two Ribbing, BW1 pg 39
Pattern 2.1, HG5 pg 16
Pattern 2.1, HG5 pg 16
Pattern #99, NKSL pg 64
Stocknette Stitch, BW1 pg 10

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Yarn info:
Fibre Content: 60% Baby Alpaca/ 30% Merino Wool/ 10% Cashmere
Made In: Peru
Care: Hand Wash/ Dry Flat
Gauge: 28 st/4 inches 3.25 mm (US 3)
Yardage: 100 m (109 yards)
Size: 25g (0.88 oz) ball
Price: $3.30 USD

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

My WIPs

Here are just a couple of things I'm working on.


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This is a CatBookMom original, her Twisted Rope Scarf knit in Elann Highland Wool. It's coming out nicely, and is a great pattern for mindless knitting in front of the telly. I'm not making the seaman style scarf, so I'm just knitting from one end to the other. I wonder whether I will need more yarn because I'm doing cabling where the neck ribbing would be. Not that this would be a problem since I do have more than 4 balls of this color. :-)

The yarn is a light blue, photo doesn't show the color well at all. See that big FAT knit stitch in the cable? That's where I joined the next ball of yarn using spit splicing, you really notice the thickness of the yarn when it's in a cable. I was hoping that section would fall into the K2 P2 ribbing section so it wouldn't be as noticeable. Sigh, you just can't control these things. Of course nobody will really notice it when the scarf is worn.




This is my attempt to make Regina Fingerless Mitts to match my Regina Scarf. I'm using Elann Baby Cashmere.

I'm using four 2.75 mm (US3) size circular needles, two are 29" and two are 24". I just noticed something odd about the needles. Although they're the same brand and all the packages say "2.75 mm" and "US3" on them, they are definitely NOT identical. Two of the needles fit through the 2.75 mm/US2 slot on my needle gauge. The other two DON'T fit!! These two are small enough to fit through the 3.25 mm/US3, but they aren't really 3.25 mm/US3 needles (because they're a smidgen smaller than my actual 3.25 mm/US3 needles). I don't see any real difference in the knitting, despite the discrepancies in actual needle sizes.

When I'm done with the needles, I want to put them back in my circular needle storage place without putting them back in their packaging. Why? It's so that they don't curl up again while sitting in their packaging, after I've uncurled them from using them. This is what I usually do. So here's the problem. I can see myself, in the future, taking these needles and sticking them in my needle gauge to figure out what size they are and then wrongly assume they are 3.25 mm/US3 needles. It looks like I will have to keep these needles in their original packaging, and make a note on the packaging that these needles are "odd".

My needle gauge is one of those Susan Bates needle gauges. I wonder if there is some other needle gauge that is more accurate or has more finely tuned needle slots. Is there a needle size between 2.75 mm and 3.25 mm?

I have to wonder whether this is a daft design. I mean, who would really wear a mitt with so many bobbles on it? It's so... frivolous, for lack of a better word. It's not practical at all.

Oh, I was at Starbucks in Fremont today, finishing up this mitt. It took me 2 hours to do the last 8 rounds plus picking up the thumb stitches and working 7 more rounds there; I'm a slow knitter. This is my first attempt to make a wrap around thumb watchamacallit on my mitt, and I think it came out OK. Still don't really know if I'm doing things correctly, I mean, this is only my 3rd mitt ever. But it fits my hand and looks alright, so I'm guessing it's not half bad. Anyhow, a guy -- A GUY!!! -- came up to ask me what I was knitting. Well that was a first. I know guys knit, I just didn't think there'd be so many out there that one of them would actually come up to me to comment about knitting. I had to wonder whether he came up to ask because my knitting looked kinda odd. I'm not knitting this on DPNs as most people would. And for circs, they're certainly on the longer side than most people would choose for this project (I'm guessing here). So what he must have seen from 8 ft away was an odd pink thing with 6 long "tentacles" dangling from it. Must be a strange site. :-)

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Annoyed

I was just checking one of my Yahoo email addresses and noticed an email from my Gmail address (smariekknits at gmail dot com) with the subject line "Fwd: Photo" which contained some JPG files and an attached .BHX file. First of all, I knew I didn't send this email from myself (Gmail) to myself (Yahoo). The email message was really the Blackworm thing from a while back, which is pretty much summarized in this old article from PC Mag.

This email was just a little reminder not to go click happy about opening attachments from "known" senders.

Cozy Bathrobe Scarf

Note:
1. More Free Patterns can be seen along the sidebar (on right side),
or you can use the Free Patterns label to view all posts.
2. Free Pseudo-Patterns or Pattern Outlines can be found using the Free Pseudo-Patterns label.



Pattern: Cozy Bathrobe Scarf (see below)
Yarn: Elann Cuzco, 3 balls
Needles: 9mm (US13)

Mmm.... a cozy bathrobe. That's what I had in my mind the entire time I was knitting with Elann Cuzco, a cozy soft alpaca yarn. This yarn is SO SOFT!!! I love how it is very light and warm. I had no idea how the finished scarf would come out since it went through several incarnations. Now that it is done, I find myself petting the scarf a lot. :-)

Cuzco, with it's unique qualities and heavier weight, is an unusual yarn for me to work with. I knew instantly that cable patterns would not do. I had to come up with some way to knit this up that did not involve cabling because there wouldn't be enough stitch definition with the "fluffiness" of this yarn. What to do? The quick and easy thing to do is to just cast on and knit every row until I run out of yarn. I should have done that, but I had to scratch an itch of mine to try out this and that...

At first, I envisioned a plain scarf with ruffling at the ends. It looked fine the way I envisioned it in my mind. However it didn't work out as I thought it would after trying it three different ways and not being happy with any of the results. Poor ball of Cuzco, it was completely terrorized during this process. The yarn is not terribly fun to frog when you have a bunch of K2Togs to pull apart.

I didn't want to do any fancy stitches because it would just get lost in the "fluff" of this yarn and I wanted to try something more interesting than garter stitch, so I picked out the Double Broken Rib pattern from Barbara Walker #1 pg12 thinking it might be a decent enough alternative. I know you can't see the pattern very well from the photos, due to the "fluff" factor of the yarn and my inability to take photos of any red colored knitting. So click on that link (2 sentences back) to get a better look at what the pattern is like. I know there are people who hate non-reversible stitch patterns. The Double Broken Rib stitch is not reversible, however lack of reversibility never stops me from using a stitch. It just doesn't bother me that much. This pattern is very easy to memorize so it makes for great mindless knitting. I do like the 2-stitch wide columns of knit stitches that run the length of the scarf, however the "broken rib" columns really get lost in the Cuzco fuzz. As a result, you notice that there is some sort of texture to the scarf pattern however it is difficult to see what it is clearly. Thus I do not think this stitch pattern is an ideal match for the the Cuzco.

I did not bother with a pretty chain selvedge on this scarf, thinking that it wouldn't get noticed under the "fluff" of this yarn. I think I will give it a try though, on my next Cuzco scarf. The yarn is a little difficult to work with at first, but then you get used to it and it's easy knitting.

OK, now I have one leftover ball of red Cuzco. What can I make with it???

Stitches used in this scarf include:
Double Broken Rib, BW1 pg 12




Here's how I made the scarf...

I used 3 balls of Elann Cuzco, all of it. So if you want a longer scarf, you will definitely need a 4th ball. I knit very loosely using 9mm (US13) needles. I suppose I could have used 10mm (US15) needles too, however I might have needed to use a 4th ball if I did this. My scarf came out to about 6.5 inches wide and 66 inches long (17 cm x 168 cm).

Cozy Bathrobe Scarf

Yarn: Elann Cuzco, 3 or 4 balls
Needles: 9mm (US13)

LOOSELY cast on 14 stitches.

Row 1 (WS): Purl
Row 2 (RS): Knit
Row 3: K2 * P2, K2 *
Row 4: P2 * K2, P2 *

Repeat rows 1 to 4 for pattern, knit until scarf is desired length, ending with row 2. LOOSELY bind off.

To make a Cozy Bathrobe Keyhole Scarf using 2 balls of Elann Cuzco:

LOOSELY cast on 14 stitches. Work rows 1 to 4, five or six times. (Or when scarf reaches around 7 to 9 inches or so long)

Make keyhole: Working row 1 of pattern, work 4 stitches, bind off center 6 stitches, work remaining 4 stitches.
Close up keyhole: Working row 2 of pattern, work 4 stitches, cast on 6 stitches over the gap, work remaining 4 stitches.

Continue with pattern from row 3. Knit scarf until scarf is around 28 to 30 inches long or until desired length, ending with row 1. LOOSELY bind off.

Now wrap the scarf around your neck and you will never want to take it off. Oh.... did I mention that you should LOOSELY cast on and cast off? ;-)


Elann Cuzco info:
Fibre Content: 100% Brushed Fine Grade Alpaca
Made In: Peru
Care: Hand Wash/ Dry Flat
Gauge: 8 st/4 inches on 9.0 mm (US 13)
Yardage: 40 m (43 yards)
Size: 50g (1.75 oz) ball
Price: $4.60 USD

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

January Ramblings

I stumbled upon this neat little pattern for a Doctor Who Tardis iPod Cozy. Hmm, something to think about if I can work up (down?) to knitting on 2.25 mm (US1) needles. I've never knitted with needles that small, but I do know that I have 2 or 3 circular needles in 2.25 mm and even some in 2.0 mm (US0). I know I have one empty package for one of the 2.25 mm circs and can't imagine where it could have gone. It's not like I knitted with it. I think I might have grabbed it for use as a stitch holder in some long forgotten WIP.

Anyhow, the reason I've been thinking of an iPod Cozy is not because I need one for mine. I already have one. However DH was telling me about a male colleague who is keeping his iPod in a draw string pouch. From the way DH described it, I imagined it to be some sort of not-very-masculine looking jewelry pouch. So I wonder whether I might manage to knit something a bit less feminine looking. Making a plain iPod Cozy is not rocket science. The challenge lies in making something unique. The Tardis iPod Cozy would definitely not fall under the ubiquitous category. Though it is not for everyone...

Another pattern I found interesting was this Dalek sock pattern. It's definitely something I would like to try someday. But I should probably figure out how to knit socks in one color first. :-)

--<>--

When I first got my Fuji digital camera (our current flavor is the Fuji F10), I looked into sites that could give me some help in using the camera. In this process, I discovered a neat site called Fuji Mugs which features themed photo challenges. There is a time period when you can submit photos, and then there's a short period when people can vote for their favorites. There are two categories, the Main Category for photos taken with Fuji cameras and the Open Category for photos taken with any other brand camera. I find it interesting to look through the submissions. They usually offer camera setting info and post processing info, both of which are Greek to me.

In the recent Rouge et Noir (Red and Black) challenge, there was one entry in the Main Category that caught my eye, this photo, which features a woman wearing a scarf. Besides the vivid colors, I just love how the color changes vertically from one long edge to the other long edge of the scarf. Don't you think that's gorgeous?

--<>--



I'm currently working on a second pair of Persephone Mitts (in the yarn you see above) and am thinking about working a proper thumb watchamacallit. I don't know what you call it. It's that thumb gusset part where it actually wraps around the entire thumb and works up the thumb to give more thumb coverage. We'll see if I actually do that when I get that far on the first mitt. It will depend on my laziness factor. Do I want to just knit from one end to the other on one continuous strand of yarn without having to rejoin it again and weave in 2 additional ends when I'm done? Probably. I have a tendency towards taking the lazy route which would explain why I try to knit hats in the round and avoid the whole business of seaming it up at the end.

The yarn is Elann Baby Cashmere in Morning Mist color. I originally thought the yarn was green, but now I realize it's more blue. The photo above is a bad example due to nighttime lighting. It looks more like the shade of blue in the folded up scarf you see here which was knit using the exact same yarn and color.

I'm currently listening to an audio book while knitting these mitts. It's Keeping Watch by Laurie R. King. I had read two of her other novels, The Art of Detection and Locked Rooms. The first was a Kate Martinelli series and the latter was a Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series. I wasn't really paying attention when I picked up Keeping Watch so I had a hard time getting into it at first while I'm listening and waiting for it to get to something/someone somewhat familiar to the first two books. Then it hit me that this must be an oddball standalone novel. I did get into the book after a while, I just love the way Laurie R. King writes. I'm almost near the end. I've got Martha Grimes' The Old Wine Shades queued up for my next book, it will be my first from this author.

Let's see, also on my mind is turning these mitts into Persephone Socks. What do you think of that? Can you imagine this cable pattern on your feet? I do have some sock yarn. Ok, my only 2 balls of wool/nylon sock yarn, in purple of course. I picked them up a couple of years ago thinking I'd give socks a try. Still haven't touched them. But having recently gotten more comfy with using 2.75 mm needles, I think there is a much higher probability of starting a pair of socks now. I can probably figure it out if I put my mind to it. It's probably easier than the Patchwork Textured Vest I'm still trying to knit for my Mom. I'm sure part of the problem is that I am substituting Elann Highland Wool in place of the Lion Brand Lion Cotton the pattern calls for. The other part of the problem is that I am totally not motivated to work on it, after casting on for it three times already. And it doesn't help that I am so sick of looking at the Allspice color of this yarn.



And I'm thinking of using this, Elann Baby Cashmere in Rose Heather color, to make fingerless mitts to go with my Regina Scarf.



Here's a photo showing you the two yarns together (sorry, same bad nighttime lighting). Regina was knit with Elann Luxury Merino Superwash (ball on right) in Regency Rose color. It's not quite an exact match against the Rose Heather, but I think it'll be close enough. Elann doesn't offer Baby Cashmere in a Regency Rose color.



I still have a hard time following knitting instructions on a page. My eyes have a hard time staying on the correct line, even if I try to block out the lines above and below with post-it notes. (Plus, Miss M likes to pull off any post-it note or post-it flag she sees on any piece of paper, page of a book, or even from the stack itself).

When I worked on my first lace thing, Miss M's baby blanket, back in Dec04/Jan05 (ah, fond memories of knitting the bulk of this blanket during a trip to Carmel in the first week of January 2005), I used index cards to keep track of which row I was on. The blanket was a simple 4 row pattern, with only one row being a difficult pattern row. So I wrote down each row's instruction on its own index card, a 4-card stack kept together with a small binder clip that I would flip through as I finished each row. This method worked for me.

Then I knitted more on and off (mostly off after Miss M was born in March 2005), and somehow forgot about this neat index card method for a long time. But I rediscovered it when I designed the Osiris Scarf because I was losing track of where I was while trying to knit from my 3-pages of notes. So I wrote down each row's instructions on its own index card, 40 index cards total. You can see it in the photo above, it's the stack on the left. I think the middle stack is Regina, and the right stack is Winterbourne. A little over three years after I started knitting and I am still relying on this beginners crutch. I have several unopened stacks of index cards in the computer room, right next to my knitting books.

Oddly enough, I didn't write down the row instructions on index cards for my Persephone Mitt. The bulk of the instructions were written (in very small print) on one page, and I can't tell you why I seem able to keep track of the rows very easily on this one.

Anyhow, I think these will be the last mitts I design cuz I'm just not good at designing things in more than one size. Hands come in so many different sizes, so mitts aren't as one-size-fits-most as scarves. I think that's why scarves and dishcloths work so well for me. I'm starting to think it would be so much easier to follow someone else's pattern instructions after they've done all the work figuring out how something should be knit. Yeah, I'm feeling a bit tired. It's like how I no longer want to tinker with the computer and think it should just work, ya know?

--<>--

I've heard that lots of people knit in public. I can't say I have many opportunities to do this as I'm almost always with Miss M and she would never let me knit or do anything else that takes away my attention from her. However I might be found knitting at Starbucks in Fremont once or twice a month, when/if I can find a seat to enjoy my grande Chai.

I can count on one hand the number of people who have stopped to comment on or ask about my knitting. Three. The first time was a woman asking me about the lace scarf I was knitting, and commenting on the softness of the yarn. It was Elann Baby Silk. I finished that scarf a long time ago but "lost" it before I could take a photo of it. I'm still waiting for it to turn up. The second and third times were on the same day. That totally shocked me. The first commented on the scarf I was working on and we sort of discussed techniques for preventing edge curling.

I can't say that I have ever seen any other knitters while I was knitting at Starbucks. I wonder if some of the passersby think it strange to see someone knitting when most other people are chatting, reading, or using their laptops?

--<>--

Ok, I'm officially on a yarn diet. Really. Really really! This was decided when I looked at our checking account after paying bills (well, several days after paying bills when they're all cashed the checks) and found our balance to be $0.00. It was the mortgage payment and property tax payment that really did it. And they were pretty darn quick about cashing those checks too! Sigh... So now I'm sitting on a few bills until I am able to write more checks.

I have plenty of yarn in my stash. But why is it that all the projects I'm inspired to begin require different yarn weight and/or colors from what I already have???




Look what I picked up from Lupicia during my last visit to the Valley Fair Shopping Center in San Jose ... Grenada, Lichee Black, Darjeeling First Flush. I'm looking forward to trying the Darjeeling. This is one area of tea I am unfamiliar with. The lady at the store told me to drink it straight, not to add any milk to it. I'm looking forward to trying it tomorrow afternoon, while Miss M naps. There were a couple more teas I was thinking of picking up, but I cut my browsing short when Miss M cried, "No poo poo!" while inching away from me. That pretty much means the statement is false, so I wanted to leave to find a place to change her ASAP before it became a bigger mess.

We are still potty training. It seems like we've been doing it forever. She certainly understands the idea, but she doesn't always tell us when she needs to use the toilet. We've been using pull-up diapers, and even the "feel & learn" ones that should feel wet when she wets her diaper. She's either oblivious or doesn't care if her diaper feels wet. We've got a over-the-toilet potty seat for her to use at home. I haven't figured out what we'll do for her in public restrooms after she is completely potty trained. Those toilets are so big that she would definitely fall in.

Miss M is starting to learn how to tell time. On a digital clock, that is. The analog clock will be more challenging. I know we didn't have digital clocks around the house while I was growing up. I even remember an analog clock/timer on my mom's stove. It seems that almost all clocks these days are digital... around the house, on the stove, on TV equipment (VCR, etc), in the car. Although you can find an analog clock in some Infiniti car models. I wonder what most people choose for their wrist watches, analog or digital? I haven't worn a wrist watch in at least over a decade. I used to rely on a (work) pager, now I rely on my cell phone. Hmm, that's odd... I don't know why the xclock command just popped into my head. LOL! I haven't used a UNIX machine in ages!

Well, that's all folks. There's really nothing interesting to report and no neat knitting projects to show you at the moment.

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Monday, January 14, 2008

Persephone Mitt 1






2/16/08: This page, http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/02/thoughts-on-increases.html, will show you my thoughts on thumb gusset increases and photos of this mitt in Morning Mist and Peacock colors. I redesigned the thumb gusset to wrap around the thumb, you can see this in the Peacock colored one in the two photos above.




Pattern: Persephone Fingerless Mitts
Yarn: Elann Baby Cashmere, Dusky Lavender, 2 balls
Needles: 2.75 mm (US2)

I mentioned earlier that I was trying to create fingerless mitts to match this Persephone Scarf but couldn't figure out how to fit the pattern into a small mitt's width using the same DK weight yarn. I chose Baby Cashmere in the some colorway (woohoo!) as the scarf and hoped it would work out. I've never designed a mitt before (unless you count the simple tube I made earlier) so this was all new to me and I really had no idea what I was doing, whether I was approaching it correctly or on the right track. I certainly hoped it was going to work out because it takes forever to knit fingerless weight yarn using 2.75 mm needles! This is the smallest needle size I've ever worked with and it took some getting used to, but it felt comfortable after finishing the first mitt.





Overall, I don't think the mitt came out too badly. It fits my hand, which means it is an x-small/small size. That means it won't fit very well on anyone with much larger hands, viz. the rest of the population. :-( So my next goal is to try and tweak it into a slightly larger size.



Unlike the previous tube I made, this one has some minor shaping. I added a sort of gusset for the thumb.



Here's the happy pair. Do you think it goes well with this scarf? I love this dusky lavender color, it is so pretty. And this yarn is very soft!

Stitches used in this mitt include:
Knit-One Purl-One Ribbing, BW1 pg 39
Knit-Two Purl-Two Ribbing, BW1 pg 39
Pattern 16.19, HG5 pg 39
Stockinette Stitch, BW1 pg 10

First I must apologize if this does not conform to "standard" mitt pattern format. I am not a professional pattern writer and this is my first attempt to type up detailed instructions for a mitt. I've tried to transfer my notes/scribbles into something that I hope makes sense. I would appreciate any feedback you could provide that would help make this more readable.

I also want to note that these mitts are a ladies x-small/small size.




Persephone Fingerless Mitts Pattern:
Persephone Fingerless Mitts Pattern from Box.net (no registration required, just click on link & save file)




Yarn info from Elann:
Fibre Content: 60% Baby Alpaca/ 30% Merino Wool/ 10% Cashmere
Made In: Peru
Care: Hand Wash/ Dry Flat
Gauge: 28 st/4 inches 3.25 mm (US 3)
Yardage: 100 m (109 yards)
Size: 25g (0.88 oz) ball
Price: $3.30 USD


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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bitten by the mitt bug


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I've been bitten by the fingerless mitt bug. Here's my current WIP. I'm trying to make fingerless mitts to match the Persephone Scarf. My first challenge is finding a suitable yarn for the mitt. The scarf was originally knit with Elann Highland Silk, a DK weight yarn. I couldn't figure out how to get the cable pattern to fit on a small mitt using the same yarn, unless the cable pattern wrapped around to the palm side. I wasn't sure whether the pattern would be as noticeable wrapped around the entire mitt, but maybe I'll try that in the future after I figure out how to get the cable pattern to appear just on the front side of the mitt.

Last year I made Vicki a Persephone scarf in dusky lavender color, using Elann Highland Silk. I went stash diving and found some Elann Baby Cashmere in the same dusky lavender color, this is fingerling weight yarn. I'm hoping that these mitts come out OK so that this can be a matching set. However it's slow going with a lot of trial and error, knit and frog, since I have very little mitt experience. I'm winging it in unfamiliar territory. Wish me luck!!!

Oh, I have to add that this is my first project using 2.75 mm (US2) size needles. This is the smallest size I've ever used. OMG, the knitting goes so slowly with such small needles! You knit so many stitches and have such little knitting to show for it. Fortunately cabling with such thin yarn is basically the same. :-)


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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Warm Hands

Note:
1. More Free Patterns can be seen along the sidebar (on right side),
or you can use the Free Patterns label to view all posts.
2. Free Pseudo-Patterns or Pattern Outlines can be found using the Free Pseudo-Patterns label.


Note: I made a follow up version with thumbs, you can see it here:

http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/02/warm-hands-warm-thumbs.html.


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Pattern: Warm Hands Fingerless Mitts
Yarn: Elann Highland Wool, Ruby, 1 ball
Needles: 4.5mm (US7)

As I sit in this cold house in the afternoons while Miss M "naps", I find that my hands get very very cold. After several days of this (or perhaps also the perceived cold from the 3 whammo storms we experienced last weekend), I decided that I must knit some fingerless mitts to keep my hands warm. A little something for added warmth while also allowing free use of my fingers. I didn't need anything fancy. I just wanted no-nonsense functional mitts. So these are as simple as they get. It's just a plain tube knit in K2P2 ribbing, with an opening for my thumb. Ribbing was the automatic choice for its snug yet stretchy fit. The thumb hole is pretty much made in the same fashion as the keyhole in Miss M's scarf, no real shaping, nothing fancy.

One mitt in the photo doesn't quite look like it's mate. That's because I was wearing the first mitt while knitting the second. So that first mitt got more stretched out than the second one which I hadn't worn before taking the photo you see above. My covered hand was very happy while I knit its mate. :-) I foresee myself making several of these as gifts since they are so quick and easy to make. And the K2P2 ribbing pattern makes it very easy to resize for larger or smaller hands. Miss M saw mine, tried to wear mine, and now wants her own, so I will be knitting a pair for her little hands too.

I knit these with Elann's Highland Wool yarn, which is listed as worsted weight but knits more like a very light worsted or maybe even DK weight for me. One ball is enough to make a pair of small mitts that fit my small hands. Mine are about 8 inches long, I wanted something a little longer to cover a good part of my wrist.

When you start this tube, it looks so small & narrow that you will start to wonder if it will even fit. K2P2 ribbing is pretty stretchy. After knitting an inch or so, you can slip it over you hands to check for sizing. You'll be surprised to find how much it can stretch!

Here's what I did to make my mitts, which fit my small hands:

Using 4.5mm needles, cast on 36 stitches, join into round.
Work K2P2 ribbing for 36 rounds. (about 6 inches)
Thumb hole round 1: K2, P2, Bind off 6 sts, P1, continue with * K2, P2 * to end of round.
Thumb hole round 2: K2, P2 Cast on 6 sts, P2, continue wit *K2, P2 * to end of round.
Work K2P2 ribbing for 10 rounds. (about 1.75 inches)
Bind off.
For the second, right mitt, I did the thumb hole rounds a little differently because I wanted the place where I joined the round to be situated on the palm side. I know these are reversible, it's just a quirk of mine because I can see where the join is so I don't want it on the top side. Most people wouldn't really notice where the join is situated though. I guess I'm just being anal.

Thumb hole round 1: * K2, P2 * until last 8 stitches, then Bind off 6 sts, P1.
Thumb hole round 2: * K2, P2 * until you reach the gap, then Cast on 6 sts, P2.
I have a quirk where I can't work the thumb hole opening on stitches at either end of a needle, they have to be somewhere in the middle. So for the left mitt, I worked the thumb hole on Needle 1 (first needle). For the right mitt, I worked the thumb hole on Needle 3 (last needle). I'm probably making this sound more complicated than it really is. All you need to do is bind off 6 stitches somewhere on the round, and then cast on 6 stitches over the gap on the next round. Easy peasy. I chose to bind off in a K2 P2 K2 section.

This mitt can easily be resized to fit a smaller or larger hand. Just cast on more or less stitches, as long as they are in multiples of 4 ... such as 32, 36, 40, 44, etc.

You can make these as long as you like. I knit mine for 6 inches before I made the thumb hole. You can knit more or less rounds of K2P2 ribbing to make these mitts as long or short as you like them to be.

You can choose how much finger coverage you want by knitting more or less rounds after making the thumb hole. I have small/short hands so I only knit for 1.75 inches past the thumb hole. Someone with longer fingers might want to knit a few extra rounds for more coverage.

Stitches used in these fingerless mitts include:
Knit-Two Purl-Two Ribbing, BW1 pg 39

Elann Highland Wool info:
Fibre Content: 100% Highland Wool
Made In: Peru
Care: Hand Wash/ Dry Flat
Gauge: 19 st/4 inches 4.0 - 4.5 mm (US 6-7)
Yardage: 100 m (109 yards)
Size: 50g (1.75 oz) ball
Price: $2.38 USD

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Last Sunset of 2007

Purple Phoenix pointed me to this slideshow of some awesome photos of the last sunset of 2007, all taken by various people from around the San Francisco Bay Area. She submitted 3 sunset photos. You can see the slide show at http://www.flickr.com/search/show/?q=sf2007sunset. Purple Phoenix submitted 3 sunset photos. She's becoming quite a good photographer, you can check out some of her photos here.




I finally worked up a little motivation after having frogged Mom's vest last month. It took me two tries before I could correctly cast on 92 stitches for this third try of knitting this vest. I can't explain how I started by casting on 98 stitches, then knitting 7 rows before I discovered the mistake. Did I forget to double check and count the stitches on the needle before starting?

This third try should (hopefully) be wide enough, however I'm not sure if the length will work out since I'm still getting 3.5 inches out of 20 rows of the block pattern. Same as in my second try. When I reached 3.5 inches of the first block pattern, I had to decide whether to stop there and move on to the second block pattern or to continue on for another 4 rows. I was afraid the latter might give me too much length. I guess I will just have to continue knitting and then see. With my luck I will end up frogging this back section again.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Chemo Cap for Cap Karma

Here is another hat I made for Cap Karma. This will go to a local cancer patient.



Pattern: Utopia Hat

This is a lavender/purple hat. I love how stretchy this cable pattern is. It makes it very forgiving so that it can fit a number of different head sizes. This hat pattern seems to be a popular one, over 150 of these hats have been made by Ravelry members. The only change I made in this lavender version is that I changed S2TKP in decrease row 4 to SK2TP. I haven't decided which I prefer. Same shiskabob, different texture, I suppose. (I left the S2TKP as is in decrease rows 5 & 6).

There are different ways to change the finished size of this hat or to compensate for differences in yarn/needles/tension. For example:

-- Casting on more/less stitches in multiples of 24.
-- Choosing a needle size appropriate to the yarn you are using, +/- a size.
-- Working the K2P2 ribbing for more rounds.
-- Adding an extra repeat of the Lower Half Cable Pattern and/or the Upper Half Cable Pattern.

I should try knitting this pattern using some lighter weight (sport?) yarn to see how it comes out.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

First FO of 2008



Pattern: Small Arrow Cloth
Yarn: Sugar & Cream, hot pink
Needles: 4.5 mm

Is this bright or what? The color is "hot pink", and it certainly is!

I wasn't planning to knit this cloth again anytime soon but moved it up on my queue after seeing a comment someone left about pattern accuracy. I really didn't think anything was wrong with the pattern since I had seen other people knit this cloth (Lisa knit several, Jessica knit a couple, Mona, and Ally, for example, and even a scarf from the pattern). Despite this, I went ahead and knit this pink cloth using the instructions that were posted in this blog post (that is, not from my pattern notes/scribbles). The cloth came out well, as you can see from the photo above, and I managed to confirm that the posted instructions were indeed correct. The only change I made was to use a garter stitch border instead of seed stitch border, because I have since discovered that I prefer a garter stitch border with lace patterns.

So to those who were having difficulties with the pattern, all I can suggest is to mind your yarn overs because that's usually what screws things up with lace knitting (for me, at least).

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I must thank Debbie for helping me find a photo of the new Doctor Who scarf. The photo I previously found of David Tennant was apparently not the correct scarf. She pointed me to this discussion where a few more photos can be seen. This scarf looks like it would have wider appeal to the general masses, it would be something anybody can wear without looking too "geeky", and of course it would be so much easier to find a suitable yarn/color than the Tom Baker version. Looking at the scarf, it really doesn't look too difficult to try to reproduce. I can't wait for them to air this Doctor Who episode on the "peasant" cable channels; I don't have the premium cable package that comes with BBC America. :-(

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I've discovered that Hakucho has nominated me for this Friendship Award. How sweet! Thank you for thinking of me.

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I hope everyone is having a wonderful New Years Day. I am going to spend part of it knitting another chemo hat for Cap Karma. I need to catch up with the charity knitting this year. Since it is a cable hat, I'll be able to watch some TV too. It always makes me happy when I can kill two birds with one stone. :-) I just finished watching Helen Mirren in The Queen. I enjoyed the movie, however I'd have to say I really loved her in Elizabeth I. I think I'm finally able to see her and not automatically think of Jane Tennison, in her role in Prime Suspect. The next movie I have queued up is Marie Antoinette, of which I don't have high expectations. Who knows, perhaps it will surprise me.

Teatime... I'm drinking Stash Ginger Peach Green Tea. It's a refreshingly light tea. The ginger makes quite an impact at first, and then you taste the peach as an aftertaste.

Oh, I just noticed that I've had 986,581 visitors to my blog. I wonder what will happen after the counter reaches 999,999. Will it roll back over to 000,001? Guess I'll just have to wait and see...

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