4 months of knitting

It’s been awhile I know. I choose to blame several things: post-wedding craziness, the holidays, and some health problems experienced by both my husband and myself.

This post is essentially just going to be a run-down of things I have been working on. It features some great patterns, including one I am writing myself (my first!). I guess that might be another reason for my lack of blogging: knitting addiction. I state where I got each of the patterns. To see which yarn(s) I used, click on the image to see a Ravelry description page.

I’ll start off with the arm knitting trend. Despite my already large stash, I decided to buy some extra bulky yarn and give it a whorl. I used the tutorial here and followed the guidance of Unwind Yarn House in using Mirasol Ushya yarn held double. I’m pretty happy with the look of the result, albeit it’s not as warm as some of my other scarves, and I’m worried that getting a stitch snagged on something might cause the whole thing to be pulled out of shape. We shall see.

Curious to see what arm knitting might possibly look like in progress? Voilà.

PS: I entered this in the Ravellenic Games, which coincides with the Olympics.

I’m also planning on entering a pair of slippers that I’m making for my husband in colours from Fallout, his favourite video game. I started off following this pattern, but had to make so many modifications due to hubby’s extra extra large shoe size that it’s practically its own pattern now. I’m considering publishing it 🙂

Before these I finished Shara Lambeth’s Dentelle Cowl for my mother-in-law. It’s a lovely short cowl, and I really like the finished result. Though I will suggest that if you plan on trying to make your own that you make the foundation chain very loose. The stitch pattern is very stretchy, plus you will be putting many dcs into the foundation chain, so it needs to be able to give a little.

Being at that age where friends and cousins start having kids, I’ve also been doing some baby knits.

This adorbale pair of booties is based on a Saartje de Bruijn pattern. Albeit I used the seamless version by Fleegle instead, because I hate seams. Hate. I had to learn the Turkish cast-on it order to do it. I highly recommend FluffyKnitterDeb’s tutorial, it’s really easy to follow. A little tricky until you get the hang of it, but I’m glad I’ve learned how to do it. It makes beautiful sock toes, bag bottoms, mitten tips, etc.

One of the babies was born in December. She of course required something more warm and snuggly, hence I made her a hat using the Bulky EarFlap Hat pattern from As the Bunny Spins and booties using Simple Soft Baby Booties from Adirondack Mama.

She might not be so happy about wearing it, but I think her parents are glad she’s warm in these -20°C tempertures we’ve been getting.

Then there was my Christmas knitting.

I made a Jayne hat again. This time it was for my middle brother, and I used this pattern, which I think I was happier with.

Here they both are, sporting their hats in true browncoat style 🙂

And now for my pride and joy of the whole lot. The pattern is Fightin’ Words by Annie Watts of Wattsolak Designs. These fingerless mitts were for my youngest brother, who seemed to get a kick out of them.

My first true stranded colourwork. A pretty awesome pattern, and a pretty awesome job, if I do say so myself.

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I am not a crocheter

As you may remember from my last (real) post that I recently finished my fingerless mittens, using Julia V’s pattern:

While I am enjoying them (aran weight merino is lovely warm and soft, though sadly the brand I used no longer exists) I recently had the revelation that I don’t think I entirely enjoyed making them.

How can this be?!

The problem, I believe, lies in the fact that a) they were crocheted, and b) my answer to the age old “are you a process or a product knitter?” question is that I am a process knitter. How are these two things related? And how did I come to these conclusions? Let me explain:

These fingerless mittens took much less time to whip up than the last pair I made, which seemed to prove the oft-heard adage that crocheting is faster than knitting. So, when my brother asked for a pair of convertible gloves, I immediately searched for crochet versions on Ravelry.

I even went so far as to narrow it down to Sue Norrad’s Crocheted Mittens / Fingerless Gloves

Yet when it came time to start the foundation chain (like casting on for you knitting-only folk) I felt something I had never felt before: reluctance. I did not want to start the bloody thing, regardless of how much I admired the pattern and liked the idea of getting the mittens made quickly. For a brief moment, this made me fear I was loosing interest in a hobby that has been such a focal point in my life, but as I thought about it some more, I realized my problem was that I did not want to start another crochet project so soon. My hands were missing their beloved needles. I think there is something in the process of knitting, in holding a needle in each hand and working with them in tandem that I crave. Indeed, as I performed the same Ravelry search for knitted convertible mittens, I felt noticeably happier.

So, I learned some things today:

1) though I thought I didn’t have a preference when it came to knit vs. crochet, it would seem I do, and 2) despite the fact that I had assumed I was a product knitter since I like the feeling of completing a project, it looks like it may actually be the process I am infatuated with (let’s be frank, at this point my love of yarn is an infatuation).

(However, I have to say that I am a little adverse to lumping people into two tight categories. I may enjoy the process, but I’ll be damned if I don’t also enjoy getting the product at the end of it.)

So, are you curious as to what pattern I ended up with?

At first I thought I had narrowed it down to Glenna C.‘s Podster Gloves pattern

but I thought “the maximum size given is a men’s small. My brother most definitely does not wear size small” and “I’m really not feeling the each-finger-has-a-hole thing. That took a lot of time last year, and I still have a lot of holiday knitting to do. Plus the last thing I need is another part of the mittens that might not fit my brother’s massive fingers.”

Finally I stumbled across Lauren Perruzza’s appropriately titled Manly-Man Man Mittens.

Perfect! Albeit, Lauren claims the pattern is a work-in-progress so some directions may be difficult to decipher. But she’s open to helping, the size is already set to ‘men’s large’ and there are no finicky finger holes outside of the thumbs. I can work with this.

The only thing missing is the awesomeness that is the ‘podster’ thumb from Glenna’s pattern. I’m thinking of trying to incorporate it. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Mine are coming along nicely, having just cast on:

I’ve been using the Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool I got on sale last year. Relatively inexpensive real virgin wool with the lanolin still in. I forgot how much I love wool like this. Plus it’s perfect for my outdoors-loving brother who is known for being rather hard on clothing.

Needless to say, I’m back from my post crocheted fingerless mitten slump 🙂

The bad side to this new mitten project, however, is that my Hitckhiker shawl, which I was all excited about starting in my last post, is going to be stuck at the 25th row mark for a while..

What might cause it to languish even longer is the fact that The DROPS Advent Calendar has come out. Thanks to katknit for pointing this out. Free pattern every day, yes please.

Here’s the cute mini stockings for Dec 1:

http://www.garnstudio.com/lang/us/pattern.php?id=5903&lang=us

One last thing to share before I go:

Believe it or not, this isn’t just another picture of my cat (though I love any opportunity to post one, let’s be honest). The focus here is on the yarn and needles (or the end of one of them anyway)

The yarn isn’t super sexy, I know. And straight needles are kind of out-or-character for me. I’m using them to practice a new knitting technique! Lever knitting.

Last Saturday I took a class taught by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot) on Knitting for Speed and Efficiency at Unwind Yarn House, where she taught us this technique. We’re supposed to practice it for 30 days (a little per day, as much as we can stand it). Apparently that’s about how long it takes to master a new way of knitting. I can believe it, since my stitches are not at all uniform and are ridiculously tight, which has brought back buried childhood memories. Yet slowly, day by day, I’m getting there. Just like when I was nine 🙂

Felicia Lo of SweetGeorgia Yarns has a great summary of the Stephanie’s explanation of the differences between lever (aka Irish cottage), throwing (aka English), and picking (aka Continental, though Americans like to call it American) and how they came to be. She also has links to Youtube videos of Stephanie lever knitting, though FYI Stephanie herself advises to watch sans sound/commentary.