Archives for category: mittens

Pattern: Herringbone Mittens with Poms (PDF link) by Bloomington knitting friend Elliphantom
Yarn Used: Outer shell: Briggs and Little Heritage in 75 Mulberry; Briggs and Little Regal in 23 Forest Brown
Lining: Fonty Coeur d’Angora in 207 Royal; Plymouth Baby Alpaca Brush in 1000 Vanilla
Needles used: US 6 (4.0 mm) for most of mitten, and US 4 (3.5 mm) for ribbing. Knit Picks Options metal, magic loop
Date started: December 18, 2011 for outer shell; January 12, 2012 for linings
Date completed: December 26, 2011 for outer shell; January 21, 2012 for linings
Mods/Notes: I made a pair of these a couple of years ago for a mitten swap, during my short-lived membership in the Madison Knitters’ Guild (I just never found myself inclined to go to the meetings, so why pay the dues?) I liked the results a lot and bought this yarn in 2009 as well, at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool, with the intention of making a pair for myself, but somehow never got around to doing it until this year.

I picked out the skeins of rough, rustic Briggs and Little from a big basket after comparing all the color combos, and was so involved in the color selection process that I somehow didn’t notice they were two different yarns, of two different weights, until after I got home. They seemed to work just fine together regardless.

I made the mittens one at a time, on Magic Loop, without much of a break between finishing one and starting the other, but my gauge varied hugely on the two mittens, so the first one hugged my hand pretty snugly, and the second was far roomier. I tried to fix this by blocking mitten #1 as severely as I could, but unfortunately, they’re still noticeably different in size. Oh well.

We had a very warm winter here; it was 50 degrees and snowless well into January, so I wore the mittens as-is for a while. On January 12, we had a first snowfall and I decided I might need to make them a little warmer. The cashmere-lined Bodhi mittens I made last year made me a firm believer in the power of a good mitten lining, so I dug out a couple of skeins of yarn that have been sitting around for ages and ages: a fluffy royal blue angora (I thought it was 100%, but it’s only 80%) and some scraps of a somewhat thicker brushed baby alpaca in white.

I was hoping the angora would last through both linings, but I ended up having to finish the second lining (cuff and thumb) with the alpaca.

I made the linings top-down for kicks:
CO 18 sts on 6s with the Turkish cast-on. Since I was using Magic Loop, I divided the stitches evenly between the two needles, 9 sts per needle.
Knitting in the round, increase at each end of both needles every round until there are 50 sts on the needles.
Continue in the round until the mitten reaches the thumb crotch.
CO 21 sts with waste yarn and backwards loop cast-on; knit onto these with the main yarn and continue working in the round, decreasing 2 sts at the center of the thumb every other row for the thumb gusset until all 21 thumb sts are gone and you’ve reached the base of the wrist.
Switch to size 4 needles and work one round as *k3, k2tog* around.
Work in 1×1 rib until cuff length matches outer cuff. BO loosely.
Unpick the waste yarn and put the thumb sts onto your needles. Join yarn, leaving a long tail, and knit in the round until about 1/4 inch from the tip of the thumb. K2tog around. Knit one more round, then cut yarn and pull through remaining sts.

Weave in ends, turn lining inside out (so the wrong sides of lining and mitten face each other), and stuff the lining inside the mitten shell. I joined the two by threading a needle with the purple yarn and sewing along the edge of the cuff with loose running stitch.

Forgive the pilliness of the mittens in these photos–they’ve been worn and dragged around in my purse for several weeks.

Things I’d change: if I’d planned for the linings, I’d probably have knit these on 7s for a roomier fit (they are very tight with the linings inside) and knit them two at a time for a consistent gauge. I’d also ideally have one consistent yarn for the linings; the Baby Alpaca Brush felt similar in the skein, but creates a much thicker fabric than the angora yarn. Classic Elite Fresco has a nice gentle halo, both alpaca and angora, and might make a nice alternative. Or, if they’re not too rich for your blood, Filatura di Crosa Superior brushed cashmere for a lightweight lining or Great Northern Yarns Mink Cashmere for a fuller-bodied alternative.

I had been saving that angora for “something special”, feeling like I shouldn’t waste it on something invisible like mitten linings, but decided “what’s more special than something functional that I’ll enjoy next to my skin every day for months?” It feels so lovely to slip on a pair of toasty warm, kitteny-soft mittens when it’s freezing outside.

You know, though, angora may be wonderful and fluffy and warm, but Jesus, it’s like the asbestos of knitting*. The fluff floats up EVERYWHERE. Up your nose, in your eyes, all over your clothes, and it’s near-impossible to get it all off. I wish there was some kind of knitting equivalent of those containment gloveboxes they use for handling radioactive materials, but for angora.

*Glitter is the angora of papercrafts.

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Those guys from Firefly would have looked a lot less sinister if they had worn blue mittens instead of gloves. Like these.


Pattern: Bodhi Mittens, from RiverPoet Designs

Size made: Medium, knit to the length suggested for Small

Yarn used: Malabrigo Merino Worsted in Azul Profundo for the outer mitten and inner cuff (every last bit of one skein); Plymouth Royal Cashmere DK in Sage for the lining, about 90 yards/30 grams (I have about 20 grams left). I bought the Malabrigo at Stitches West in February and the cashmere, from DBNY, has been sitting in my stash for years now, periodically being swatched and frogged–somehow I just never found an application that seemed right for it until now. I think it’s a cabled yarn (multiple two-plies plied together) so it is a bit ropier-looking than you might expect 100% cashmere to be.

Needles used: US size 6/4.0 mm (magic loop for the main mitten, magic loop two at a time for the linings, DPNs for the thumbs of both shell and lining)

Date started: First mitten: June 6. Second mitten: June 16. Linings: June 18.

Date completed: First mitten: June 8. Second mitten: June 18. Linings: June 21.

Mods/Notes: I’ve been admiring this pattern for a bit; it’s not too well known, I think, but I saw a few FOs and KALs going on in the Malabrigo Junkies group, and I had wanted to cast on for these during Malabrigo March but just felt like I couldn’t commit to another WIP at the time. I brought the pattern and yarn with me when I went to Boston, and completed the first mitten there in just a couple of evenings. Worsted weight, non-stranded mittens are so gloriously fast!

I cast on for the size Medium (using a tubular CO) but realized as I neared completion on the hand that I would only need to knit it to the length specified for Small. I probably should have chosen the size Small to knit to begin with, in fact, because the fit was a bit roomy. The underside of the cuff is knit in seed stitch, which looks really sharp but obviously doesn’t draw in at all. So the wrist was outright baggy, and the rest of the hand was a little looser than I wanted.

To remedy this, and counteract the relatively thin and holey single-stranded fabric, I decided to knit linings for the mittens. I thought for a while about how to do it, and I think I got it almost right. I decided to use the rest of the Malabrigo to knit ribbed cuffs for the lining–it seemed perfect to have a combination of ribbing to draw it in tight against my skin, and the thicker worsted weight yarn to fill in as much of the empty space as possible. I was also worried that a) the cashmere would show if I used it to knit the cuff, b) it wouldn’t have as much elasticity as the merino, so the ribbing would sag, and c) it wouldn’t have as much body as the merino, so cold air would get up into the mitten.

I picked up stitches around the wrist edge, right side facing, at a 1 to 1 ratio (destroying my lovely tubular cast-on in the process). This is the only thing I think I might have done differently–if I’d planned ahead I would have done a provisional CO, and otherwise I might have picked up with the WS facing to create a purl ridge on the outside for a turning row, so the cuff could be folded in with a nice sharp fold.



I knit in 1×1 rib until I ran out of the Malabrigo. Serendipitously, this took me exactly to the end of the wrist area/beginning of the palm. I switched to the DK weight cashmere, which I chose because the finished fabric would be thinner and presumably would allow enough ease inside the mitten (particularly the thumb) for me to bend my fingers. Using the same needles, I knit in stockinette (RS facing), following the main pattern exactly for stitch and row counts but omitting the patterning on the back of the hand. After I finished the thumbs, and wove in the ends (not much weaving required–long tails can be hidden between the lining and the shell of the mitten) the lining could be turned inside out and pushed up inside the main mitten.

The mittens are extremely thick, warm, and cozy now. I was concerned at first about the little holes formed at the base of each blossom motif–holes in a mitten are no good for a Wisconsin winter!–but the linings will counteract those nicely. It will feel so luxurious to have these secret cashmere linings and gloriously warm hands to look forward to come winter. I love the way the mittens look, too–the flowery bodhi tree motif on the back of the hands is very pretty.

The pattern was nice to work with–I had no issues with it. It could have been condensed (I didn’t read the pages with the visual explanation of the mitten setup, but I can see how they would be helpful; and the left and right mitten instructions were spelled out line by line, instead of having one set of instructions with just the thumb placement reversed).

If I made these again, I would just go with a normal ribbed cuff instead of the seed stitch, even if I were doing the lining again. Seed stitch is pretty, but it looks really poochy in the wrist area.

The instructions provide a couple of methods for working the twist stitches–I used the k2tog variations (i.e. no cable needle).

Have you ever lined mittens? Do you have any tips for sizing, yarn selection, etc.? The sizing on these was easy since the gauge was the same between the shell and lining, but I’ve always been unsure about how to deal with it for stranded mittens. (Easy answer… gauge swatch for the lining in stockinette… but what a pain in the ass.) I’ve read that angora makes a fantastic lining, and I was thinking of experimenting with Kidsilk Haze or a KSH-type light and fuzzy yarn for a low-bulk lining that would still trap a lot of warm air.

Some actual knitting makes an appearance on the blog, for the first time in ages!

Pattern: Herringbone Mittens with Poms from elliphantom.com

Size made: Women’s Small

Yarn used: Patons Classic Wool in 00231 Chestnut Brown and 166488 Dark Natural Mix; less than 1 skein of each (weighing my leftovers, it looks like it took 30 grams of the brown and 25 grams of the tan, or about 67 yards and 56 yards, respectively, if I’m doing my math right–seems like an unreasonably tiny amount of yarn, doesn’t it?)

Needles used: US 4/3.5 mm, US 2½/3.0 mm, US 6/4.0 mm. I started the ribbing on size 4 needles, realized the wrists were coming out too big, and switched to the size 2.5 needles for the remainder of the ribbing. I used the size 6 needles for all the colorwork. I knit these two at a time, Magic Loop.

Date started: March 25, 2009

Date completed: April 26, 2009

Mods: Elli, I’m so sorry, but I did not Respect The Pom. I meant to, but I accidentally left out the eyelet row and by the time I realized, there was no going back. I also accidentally left off the cute CC starting row.

Notes: These mittens are gorgeous, but they have been the bane of my existence for the past month, because I felt like when I picked them up, I entered some kind of weird time warp in which all my knitting proceeded at a quarter of its normal speed, and my pattern recognition skills devolved to the level of a chimpanzee’s. It seems entirely unreasonable to me that I should knit monogamously on a tiny project like mittens and take more than a month to complete it.

Things started off swimmingly. I used a tubular cast-on for the ribbing, divided the stitches and got going with the magic loop, got pretty much all the ribbing done in one knitting night plus another evening, and then everything went to hell when I got to the colorwork. It was a two-row repeat and every other row was easy to remember–just K2 MC, K2 CC, the entire way around. For some reason, I just could not get the rhythm of the second row until I was more than halfway done with the mittens (3 weeks after starting them).

The second row goes a little something like this: K2 MC, K1 CC, K1 MC, K2 CC, K1 MC, K1 CC. Not that hard, right? But for some reason I couldn’t memorize it and kept screwing it up, losing my place when trying to follow the chart cell by cell, and frogging every other row as I realized I had messed up the pattern. When the pattern finally stuck in my head, I felt so dumb, as though I had been staring at this logic problem and gotten it wrong every day for the previous 3 weeks:
Q: 1, 2, 3, 4…: what is next in this series?
a) 5
b) 2
c) K1 MC, K2 CC, K2 MC, and… oh, crap.

Anyway, I finally finished them up. Finally. And they look gorgeous! And fit beautifully! I’d been admiring them since Elli brought the prototypes to our knitting group in Bloomington to show off ages and ages ago.

The sad part about this all is that I’m not even going to keep them. I knit them for a swap for the Madison Knitters’ Guild–“Cold hands, warm feet”: we traced our hands and feet on a piece of paper and brought this and some yarn in a brown paper bag, swapped it for another bag, and knit some kind of hand or foot covering to fit the recipient. At next month’s meeting, we’ll bring the bags with FOs back to their rightful owners and swap back. My contribution was Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in Jeans, from the same enticing giant basket ‘o’ blue Lorna’s Laces at Yarns Unlimited that drew in chemgrrl. I am hoping to get a pair of nice blue socks back.

Anyway. Sadly, this neverending, stupid-making, beautiful pair of mittens will find a new home soon. But like Rahul said when I lost my Bird in Hand mittens, “luckily, you can always make another pair.”

I love the bias knit striped thumbs–I’ve never knit a pair of mittens with a thumb designed like these before.


Wool mittens: the fashionable accessory for spring!

“But what,” you might ask, “is that fabulous blouse the mittens are accessorizing?”

Pattern: Simplicity 4077, View D
Size made: 12, blended to a 14 at the waist and hips
Fabric used: Amy Butler Daisy Chain Clematis in Gray, 2 yards, from Fabric.com. As an aside, they were really fabulous to deal with–I had bought some other fabric from them, and my order arrived n disappointing condition–stained and with multiple yard orders in multiple pieces–so I wrote to complain. They immediately offered to send me a replacement. Unfortunately, they were out of the original fabric I’d wanted. I asked if I could sub this one, which was slightly more expensive, so I said they could just send me 1 3/4 yards or whatever the equivalent amount was, but instead they sent me the full 2 yards in this fabric. Anyway. I think it’s a lovely fabric, the quilting cotton works well in this blouse, and am pondering the idea of an entire wardrobe made of Amy Butler fabrics.

Date started: Tuesday, April 28
Date completed: Thursday, April 30 (I cut out the pieces Tuesday night and sewed it together Wednesday night, and spent about 5 minutes today hammering in the remaining snaps. Rahul came home around 10:45 and found me sitting on the floor, hammering snaps, and said even if our downstairs neighbors are undergrads and probably stay up until 3 AM, it would still be polite not to hammer things on the floor at 11 PM, and I grudgingly admitted he had a point.)

Mods: I made a slapdash muslin of this shirt and felt like the waist was too tight, so decided to cut a larger size around the bottom of the bodice. When I put the pieces together for this shirt, though, I felt like the darts were completely wrong. I’m sure this was partly my fault–I accidentally marked the front darts incorrectly–but I had to sew them another inch or so longer and I think the placement is still a little bit too far out from center. I am also wondering if I could actually have gotten away with a smaller size on the bottom–it’s comfy but maybe a little loose compared to my favorite RTW shirts.

I didn’t cut out the front darts as the pattern calls for, just pressed them to the side. Why bother creating all those extra raw edges by cutting the dart? The fabric isn’t very sheer or thick, so I don’t feel like it’s significantly more visible to have the full dart thickness there instead of trimming it.

I used hammer-on pearl snaps rather than buttons. Easy, pretty, and avoids the issue of the janky buttonhole feature on my sewing machine. “Oh, buttonhole? Sorry, I thought you said you wanted a giant, snarled mat of thread.”

I left the interfacing out of the sleeve cuffs to give them a softer look (although I left it on the facings and collar).

Notes: Sewing is slowly getting easier! I remember when I bought this pattern a couple of years ago, it seemed incredibly complicated and difficult; but when I finally sat down to put it all together, expecting it to take at least a couple of evenings, it went together in just a few hours and with very little fuss. I guess I’m starting to get the hang of how sewn clothing is constructed.

Further notes from my review on Patternreview.com (my first one!):
The style is cute overall.

The sleeve cuff and pleats are really cute and easy to sew. Other people commented that they were too tight, but I found them very comfortable. I left the interfacing out of the cuffs so they would be sort of soft and floppy, not stiff. One thing I’ve noticed is that when you put your arms into the sleeves, it’s easy to push the seam allowances for the cuffs downwards so they’re visible from the outside. I might stitch them into place inside the sleeve–I think the pattern just calls for pressing them in place.

I don’t quite like how puffy the sleeve caps came out–my shoulders are already sort of broad, and I feel like they have an embiggening effect, and I also think they look puffier than the picture on the envelope. I am a little confused about the sizing, too. I made a size 12 muslin first and it felt a bit too tight in the waist, so I sized it up… now it seems like it may be too loose. However, I’m a beginning sewer, so I’m not sure whether this is just typical for Simplicity patterns.

I like the style of the collar, but it seemed fiddly to put together neatly, and lumpy even after trimming the seams. I couldn’t get the ends sewn on neatly and ended up hand-sewing the ends down with a slip stitch. (This could all be just user error.)

Close up view of embiggening sleeve caps and lumpy collar:

It seems like a great pattern for using pretty quilting cotton prints. I think I’ll make it again, with one of the shorter sleeve views and maybe a front ruffle, and try to adjust the pattern a little further. One of my favorite store-bought tops is very similar in style to the cap sleeve/front ruffle view, in an embroidered olive green eyelet fabric.

Next time I might try cutting the front facings as a single piece with the shirt fronts, like in the shirt dress from Heather Ross’s Weekend Sewing. I don’t see a reason they need to be cut separately and sewn to the shirt fronts as opposed to cut as one piece and then sewn and turned. Maybe it’s necessary for the views with the front ruffles.

I was surprised at how quickly this went together, and loved the cuff detail. It’s a simple, stylish, and comfortable casual blouse pattern, and I’m sure I’ll be making it again. (I first saw it on Flintknits’ blog and have been desperately coveting that Nani Iro double gauze blouse and the Amy Butler yellow polka dot blouse since they were first posted.)

Anyway, in closing, I will say that it’s kind of funny that I’m posting these two things together, since the Herringbone Mittens were designed by Elli of Elliphantom, and just as I finished the mittens, I was actually prompted to sew the blouse by Elli’s sister Rae. I noticed the Spring Top Week Sewalong she’s hosting on her blog, Made by Rae, and decided to bite the bullet and sew a spring top. She wrote a tutorial for a really cute little ruffle sleeved top on Sew, Mama, Sew! and I’d like to try that sometime soon, too.

I got really inspired by this blog post of Heather Ross’s about ideas for converting her Summer Blouse pattern to a sleeveless shift dress using a Marimekko print or some other fabric with a large central motif, taking off the sleeves, and lengthening the pattern pieces.

So I ordered some home dec fabric with a giant vertical flower motif and set to work! Last things first, here’s the end result:


I re-traced the pattern pieces and made a bunch of modifications before cutting them out, based on my earlier Summer Blouse: lowered the front neckline, lowered the shoulder seams to make the armholes smaller, took in the sides a LOT, added back darts, and lengthened the dress, using my hip measurement as a guide and cutting straight down from there for a straight skirt style.

I made a muslin out of a thrifted bedsheet, made further adjustments to the pattern, and finally decided (after confirming I could get in and out of the dress without a zipper) that I was ready to cut it out from my fashion fabric.

I hit a slight snag, though–I had bought 2 yards of 60″ fabric, which was indeed more than enough to make a shift dress out of, but unfortunately not enough for a centered line of flowers down both the front and the back. I ended up having to cut the back in two pieces (adding a seam allowance to each) and lost the kind of neat colorblocking effect of the single vertical stripe on the front of the dress. Behold the weird double line of flowers:

I finished both the armholes and the neckline with 1″ bias tape cut from the main fabric, and sewn on using the method described in the book (I think)… I can’t find a photo tutorial for the life of me, but basically this is what I did:

  • fold the double-fold bias tape in half
  • align the raw edges of the bias tape with the raw edge of the fabric (neckline or armhole edge), on the right side of the fabric, and pin in place
  • sew the bias binding to the fabric, removing the pins as you go, stitching in the line made by the ironed folds of the bias tape
  • fold the bias tape to the inside of the dress neckline/armhole and carefully topstitch in place.

My bias tape and sewing were not entirely even, so I had a little trouble with this last part and spent quite a bit of time ripping out seams and re-sewing to make them look decent on the outside while also catching the folded bias tape on the inside.

When I made the Summer Blouse before, I didn’t read through the book’s instructions and just stuck the neckline into the fold of the bias tape and topstitched, which I think works just fine as well, but maybe doesn’t look quite as neat, and also doesn’t fold away the seam allowance accounted for in the other method, which might be why the neckline seemed so incredibly high first time around.

I thought about using this method as well: with this method, the bias tape is not visible from the outside. It also seems like it might be easier to sew. Maybe next time.

You can see the bias tape finish a little bit better here, and also the amazingly long placket that goes down to about my belly button (I think I did a pretty good job sewing up the center opening so that it’s not too obvious that there’s a big central chunk missing from the flowers in the placket region, but next time I might just skip the whole stitch-up-the-placket bit and just cut the placket to be shorter in the first place):

Pattern: Summer Blouse from Weekend Sewing by Heather Ross, heavily modified as described above
Size made: Small
Fabric used: 2 yards of Anna Maria Horner’s Anna’s Drawing Room home dec fabric, from Fabric.com, “Trellis Stripe” in Rose. If you buy anything from them, make sure to use a coupon code, they have tons of them out there! I believe I got 20% off with the code “SIMPLICITY”
Date started: forgot.
Date completed: forgot, but it took about two evenings to put together.
Mods: described in detail above
Notes:
I think this dress looks a bit better with something to define the waistline, like a sweater on top:
(I love this red sweater… sadly, it’s not a handknit, but an end-of-season cashmere sweater from Old Navy)



The perfect dress for a visit to the zoo to see the capybaras enjoying the sunshine!

Sadly, the lovely weather in these photos didn’t hold up over the weekend, when I volunteered to demonstrate drop spindle spinning at the 2009 Great Midwest Alpaca Festival. It was a rainy and dismal day, but I had a great time meeting alpacas, spinners, and spinners-to-be. Rahul came with me and even he enjoyed himself, even though we were there for almost 3 hours and normally his patience with fiber events wears pretty thin pretty fast.


These bedraggled ones are suri alpacas.


These puffy ones are huacayas.

Alpacas are cute. And they hum! It makes them sound kind of annoyed all the time, like Marge Simpson when she makes that disapproving noise.


This dude has the smallest neck and biggest head in the entire world.

It was a nice way to spend a rainy Saturday. I spun up about half an ounce of silvery gray alpaca while I was there, and wrote down the Jenkins Woodworking contact information for about 10 people who were very interested in my Turkish spindle. (If only they had a referral program! I know at least one of those people bought a Turkish spindle after seeing mine.)

In addition to all this sewing and fiber festivaling, I will also have some actual knitting to show off soon. Really. I finally finished the accursed never-ending mittens I’ve been working on for the past month! However, continuing the trend, after taking forever to knit, they are now taking forever to dry. I think this is the third day they’ve been sitting there on a towel in a room with good air circulation, and they’re still faintly damp. I have faith that one of these days, they’ll finally be dry, and I can finally take some pictures and call them done and dusted.

I think it is customary, after a long craft blog silence, to say something like “Life’s been crazy! I’ve been so busy!” or “Look at all the amazing things I’ve been making in the meantime!” but I really don’t have much of an excuse or anything super exciting to show off.

I have been sewing a bunch and have at least 3 new dresses to show off at some point, but only have photos of one of them and they all came out too ugly for me to show off here, so I will just tell you that two are from Weekend Sewing and one is a Vogue pattern. (And the photo below is not actually any of them–it’s a vintage shirt pattern that turned out HORRIBLE, giving the effect of a pregnant linebacker, so lucky the gingham was a dollar a yard and I could just scrap the project.)


I got a really exciting copy of Hansi Singh’s Amigurumi Knits–you may remember Michael Phelps from a while back, who was a Loch Ness Monster knit from a Hansigurumi pattern (included in this book, so now I own two copies of the pattern);

I’m excited about it–so many things are in my queue from this book; I want to make some crazy-ass toys for my best friend, who’s expecting a baby in June. The jackalope, octopus, hermit crab, and squid/kraken are all pretty high on the list, but I also really loved the Nessie and kind of want to make one for myself (I still have a lot of green and white yarn left). I think the book looks pretty good overall, definitely a good buy if you plan to knit up more than two of her patterns, but a few patterns in there felt like filler–the earthworm and cucumber spring to mind. I guess they’re meant to cater to beginners, so you can build your skills on a simple toy before embarking on a full-on cephalopod or preying mantis. I do still want the Horned Owl pattern, which has gotten good reviews on Ravelry but is not in the book.

I went to a Fiber Jubilee (what a hokey name, right?) in Richmond, WI, about an hour away from Madison– I went with Mary, Liz, and Liz, from my Wednesday night knitting group:

It was pretty great. We saw goats being sheared, I bought a sweater’s worth of locally grown white merino yarn (and she threw in a skein of natural gray laceweight as a bonus) for $16, and we sat on a picnic bench in the sun and ate Sloppy Joes made by the ladies of a local church.

Shearing!

The stall where I bought the merino:

Various scenes from around the farm:








I met Minou from Ambrosia and Bliss–she spotted me as I was going upstairs and we got to meet in person, so that was cool! We had corresponded on Ravelry/via blogland for a while but never actually met up.

I bought some natural-colored Corriedale there that I’ve already spun and plied into about 310 yards of worsted-weight two-ply. I only have pictures of the singles right now, but the other ply is a sort of creamy oatmeal color and it’s a really nice, squishy, bouncy marled yarn:



And I will be volunteering this Saturday from 10-12 at the Great Midwest Alpaca Festival, demoing spinning for a couple of hours, and I can’t even tell you how excited I am about going to a gigantic convention center full of alpacas. And I get to keep whatever I spin while I’m there (incentive to spin faster!)

Knitting-wise, I’m currently working on some Herringbone Mitts (warning, PDF link) for a swap. It took me weeks to get the pattern of the every-other rows so that I could do it without referring to the chart (k2 MC, k1 CC, k1 MC, k2 CC, k1 MC, k1 CC, repeat) and once I finally got it I felt really dumb and annoyed for not being able to figure out and memorize it sooner. But I am nearly at the top decreases now, and the end is in sight! I seriously don’t know how I can finish a sweater in a few days but take a month to knit a pair of mittens.

And I’m working on a shrug for my friend Casey’s wedding next month (whoa, time flies!) I hope it works out–the fabric is so delicious: one strand of Malabrigo in Stone Blue held with one strand of Kidsilk Haze in Hurricane… fluffy, smoky, tone-on-tone blue.

Anyway, that’s what’s been going on in craft land here. It’s finally starting to feel like spring around here! It makes me want to sew cotton dresses more than knit woolen mittens/mohair shrugs, but knitting is so much more fun and portable.