Archives for category: selbuvotter

I will!

Pattern: Kate Gilbert’s Bird in Hand

Size: Smallest size, downsized further for a 7″ hand; finished size about 7″ around and 5″ from thumb crotch to fingertip; thumb about 2.5″ long and 3″ around. They fit my hands perfectly!

Yarn used: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Chocolate, about 1.5 skeins; Classic Elite Tapestry (Ravelry link) color 2272 (green), just less than one skein.

This photo shows the amount of yarn I had left afterwards. I started with about 1.5 skeins of WOTA (one full skein plus about half a skein left over from a scarf) and exactly 1 skein of Tapestry.

Needles used: Knit Picks nickel-plated DPNs, US size 0/2.0 mm, for about 80% of the hand of the first mitten, and Knit Picks Harmony DPNs, US size 1.5/2.5 mm for the rest.

Started: 1/3/08

Finished: 1/11/08

Mods: Aimed for a gauge of about 8 sts per inch to downsize the mittens. Since my gauge went down as I was knitting the first mitten, the size shrank accordingly and I had to block severely to fix it–the mittens are roughly the same size now, but you can see that they’re fraternal in the side-by-side pictures:



Following the advice of some people on the Ravelry Bird in Hand KAL, I used a two-color Estonian braid for the middle braid of the second mitten, to mix things up a bit. Link to the two-color braid discussion here. I like the look of it better than the single-color braid. I went back and duplicate-stitched over the middle braid in the first mitten so it would match. They look nearly identical, see?


To work a two-color braid: M1 using CC, put it back on left needle.
*From behind, knit the second st through the back loop using MC and leave it on the needle, knit the first st through the front loop using MC and drop both sts, put new st back on left needle;

From behind, knit the second st using MC and leave it on the needle, knit the first st through the front loop using CC and drop both sts, put new st back on left needle;* and so on, always knitting the back st with MC and alternating colors for the front st, until the end of the round.

Notes: The best advice I got on making these from the knitalong was to do the embroidery before closing up the thumb. My embroidery could use some work. Maybe I’ll have to make another pair so I can have another go at making realistic birds.

Here they are:


And some colorwork close-ups:


I have lots of other notes on these mittens in the previous posts about them. So I don’t have much more to say right now–I just have to say I love these mittens, they fit wonderfully, and I’d totally make another pair. I’m not sure I could say that about any of the other ones I’ve knit so far–with their repeating motifs, they somehow all seemed like much more of a slog.

Soundtrack: The Littlest Birds, by the Be Good Tanyas

“Well, the littlest birds sing the prettiest songs…”

I guess I should get around to writing up the official finished object post for the Selbuvotter Black Lilies mittens, too. There are lots more pictures and details on these in the archives.

Pattern: NHM #7 from Selbuvotter

Size: Finished size: About 6″ from thumb crotch to fingertip (i.e. about 1″ too long for my hands); thumb about 3″ long and 3.75″ around; hand about 9″ around (i.e. about 2″ too wide for my hands). There’s probably enough room in there for a fuzzy mitten liner, if I get around to making one. I think my gauge (and row gauge) is about 8 sts per inch.

Yarn used: Knit Picks Telemark in cream and black, 2 skeins each. About 1.25 skeins of black, 1.75 skeins of cream.

Needles used: US 1/2.25 mm (What was I doing with these? I wrote it down but don’t remember why I used them–the ribbing, maybe, and/or the thumb?) and US 1.5/2.5 mm circs, magic looped, for most of the mitten

Started: 9/26/07

Finished: 12/22/07

Mods: Used a striped thumb instead of the charted thumb from the pattern, as detailed here.

Notes: I ran out of black yarn when I was thisclose to finishing the second mitten:

And I stalled for a while. I don’t think a pair of mittens would normally take me three months to make.

My gauge changed kind of a lot between mittens. You can see the difference in size here, with the smaller mitten placed on top of the larger one:

Eh. They’re pretty anyway!
Here are the lilies:

The palms with the stripey thumbs:

and the undersides of the thumbs, where I more or less successfully continued the palm pattern upwards–a detail I’m quite proud of, but which would be lost on most non-knitters:

I might need some convertible mittens/glittens next. I do have a pair I cobbled together by making Knucks and putting together my own flip-top pattern, but the yarn is thin and they’re not that warm.

Berroco has their Spring 2008 collection up now. I kind of love Currer, from Norah Gaughan Vol. 2, but started to worry that perhaps this was one of those things where I’m drawn to a pattern because it’s unusual and has an interesting construction technique, but it’s actually a major fashion mistake when viewed by any non-knitter. I’m thinking this because when I looked at Ellis, Currer’s sister pattern, my first thought was that the model looked very much like a grasshopper , with wings folded neatly back.

I also like the circular neckline insert thing going on with Athos and Porthos, but I’d probably make the Lacy Waves top from Lace Style before going with either of those.

I’ve made four pairs of stranded mittens in the last year or so:

1. North Star mittens from Robin Hansen’s Knit Mittens! in Patons SWS, since given to my mother, who think they’re lovely and wants to hang them on the wall, having no use for them in California


2. Top-down mittens 5/16 from Anna Zilboorg’s Magnificent Mittens in Rowan Yorkshire Tweed DK and Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted, same pattern as Hello Yarn’s, if you can believe it (hers look so much nicer!)



3. NHM #7 mittens from Terri Shea’s Selbuvotter in Knit Picks Telemark


4. and my Bird in Hand mittens from Kate Gilbert’s site, in Knit Picks Wool of the Andes and Classic Elite Tapestry (Ravelry link). These are still blocking, so this post is still not the big reveal.

I’ve learned some things from each project, and from the fascinating hive mind of the internet, along the way, so I just wanted to post about the tips and techniques I’ve been using, and the lessons I’ve learned. I am still far from an expert on colorwork and I look forward to learning more from each project I try.

Things I’ve learned the hard way:
– Yarn choice matters. (Duh! But I always seem to learn this the hard way.) I realized after my first two pairs of mittens, particularly after seeing the contrast between HelloYarn’s Magnificent Mittens in Cascade 220 and mine, in two different weights of leftover yarn, one woolly and tweedy, the other a fuzzy, hairy singles, that using a smooth, plied yarn (and using the same weight for both colors) can make all the difference in getting your colorwork to stand out and look good. The mohair haze and sheen muddled up my colorwork, and the tension suffered from the different yarns, so your eye is drawn more to the contrast between the textures in the two yarns than the contrast between the colors. So I went with Telemark for the next pair, and the difference is plain to see.
– Color choice matters a lot. For best results, pick two colors that contrast as much as possible in both color warmth and color saturation/value. One warm, light color and one cool, dark color, or vice versa. The Patons SWS in my first pair was pretty, but because the two colorways I picked (Natural Plum and Natural Navy) were too similar in tone, the pattern got lost and you have to search a little to pick it out. Swatch as much as possible before deciding on your colors; something that looks like it should make a good combination when you’re holding the skeins next to each other might not look so great once it’s been knit up. I swatched with a couple of other colors before deciding on brown and green for my Bird in Hand mittens; the front runner going into the swatch-off was a combination of brown and periwinkle that looked very pretty in the skein, but once I swatched it, I realized the periwinkle was too close in value to the brown and wouldn’t stand out… I needed something lighter and brighter. So lime green pulled a surprise upset victory.
– Knitting at a tight gauge makes for warm hands and pretty colorwork. Knitting at a looser gauge makes for soft, comfy mittens. Three of the four mittens above are knit at a bulletproof gauge–worsted weight on size 0, 1.5, and 3 needles and sport weight on size 1.5 needles. The Magnificent Mittens were knit on size 6 needles. They’re soft and pliable, but the wind gets into them on cold days, and I can’t make snowballs with them without the snow getting into them in about 2 seconds. I wore the Patons SWS mittens through a whole day of snowman-building and snowball fights and it was hours before the snow seeped through.
Size matters. A lot. Check your row gauge against the number of rows before and after the thumb, and make sure you’ll wind up with some correspondence to your actual hand size. Unlike plain-colored or cabled pieces, many colorwork mittens are not really properly structured for easily lengthening or shortening without destroying the pattern. (Patterns with small repeats of geometric patterns are an exception–Elli’s Herringbone Mittens or Squirrelly Swedish Mittens come to mind.)

You’ll note the strange and non-anatomical thumb placement in my North Star mittens. Contrary to what you might believe from careful study of those mittens, my thumb does not emerge from my second finger joint and shoot up from there to the length of my fingertips. (I blithely assumed that all hands were roughly the same shape and that by following the directions, I’d be fine.) They were slightly better once on, but all the blocking in the world couldn’t save the fingers from being uncomfortably short. When I rode my bike while wearing those mittens, I’d have trouble squeezing the hand brakes because my fingers wouldn’t comfortably reach that far if my thumbs were still on the handlebars.

The Magnificent Mittens and Bird in Hand mittens fit the best. The Selbuvotter, as it turns out after blocking, are tragically about half an inch or an inch too long and quite a bit too wide in the hand. However, I might use the extra space to add an angora mitten liner.
– As techniques for working a small circumference in the round, Two circs, Magic Loop, and double-pointed needles (DPNs) all have their pluses and minuses. Two circs and Magic Loop are easy to transport and easy to work with–with DPNs, I tend to get all tangled up every now and then with the yarns getting caught on stray needle tips, and sometimes the needles fall out of my work. Also, you can divide the stitches into halves, a natural way to divide them up when you’re working on a mitten. Two circs has an advantage over Magic Loop in that you can use this technique with stiff-cabled or short circular needles. Magic Loop has the fewest needle tips to wrangle with, so it’s the easiest and tidiest in many circumstances, but you do need a flexible-cabled needle like Addi Turbos or Knit Picks Options to use with it. I think that generally, for colorwork, DPNs work the best for me. The reason for this is that you can always flatten the two needles you’re working on and keep the join between needles as flat as possible, minimizing the tendency to pull too tight on the yarn or strand the floats too tightly at corners. They also have a built-in stitch marker system without annoying dangly things–you can tell by the end of each needle if you’ve muffed up the pattern somewhere because your stitch count will be wrong by that point.

If you’re doing colorwork for the first time, making a hat, like the Inga Hat, the Red Light Special, or We Call Them Pirates, would be an easier way to start than mittens, because for most of the hat, you can just work on a 16″ circular needle instead of having the double frustration of keeping your colorwork even on DPNs, magic loop, or two circs.

Things I’ve learned the easy way (aka reading up in books and on the internet, and doing what I was told):
Knitting two-handed makes colorwork much easier for me. I couldn’t work out holding two yarns in my left hand, so I re-learned how to knit English style, and now I hold the contrast color in my left hand and the main color in my right hand.
– Be consistent with the way you carry your yarns, and carry the contrast color ahead. Nonaknits has a good post on this. Since I knit colorwork two-handed, her notes about establishing color dominance couldn’t be applied to my knitting wholesale and I had to figure out that I first need to pick up the contrast color in my left hand, and then pick up the main color in my right hand so that it travels over the left-hand strand of yarn when I wrap it around the needle.

– Catch your floats as you go. (The float being the strand of yarn carried across the back of the work while not in use.) If a float travels over a significant number of stitches in a row–“significant” may vary from two stitches to five or six stitches–you should weave it in using the other color to keep it from snagging on your fingers when wearing the mitten. I also usually catch floats in the corners of my mittens, on the last stitch of a needle or the first stitch of the next one, so that the yarn doesn’t take the shortest path possible across the corner and make the work pucker on the right side. There are a lot of tutorials out there for how to do this. Sockpr0n has an extensive tutorial. I found this Knit Picks tutorial (warning, PDF) the most helpful, personally.

If I’m weaving in a float from my left hand (CC), I keep my left hand where it is, and instead of moving my right hand over the CC yarn to wrap the MC around the needle, I move my right hand under the CC yarn and wrap the MC around the needle. I resume knitting the normal way on the next stitch.

If I’m weaving in a float from my right hand (MC)–this isn’t a concern in most patterns, but the Bird in Hand mittens feature long runs of both MC and CC–I use the method shown in the Knit Picks PDF: wrap the MC as if to knit, wrap the CC as if to knit, unwrap the MC while leaving the CC on the needle, then complete the stitch. Unfortunately, it’s not as fluid of a motion for me as weaving in CC yarn and I find it much slower.

Either way, I have to give the stranded yarn a little tug after it’s caught in order to to pull it back, away from the front of the fabric.

– On a related note, strand your yarn as loosely as possible. I’m not very good at this yet, but in theory, your work will look best if you leave big sloppy floats hanging off the back of it. I have an unfortunate tendency to pull my floats pretty tight.

– Blocking is essential to colorwork, and covers a multitude of sins, so choose a blockable yarn and preferably one that can be ironed (i.e. no acrylic). Your colorwork will almost certainly look like crap once it comes off the needles, but it will undergo a magical transformation into a flat, even, well-behaved piece of knitting once it’s been blocked. I love blocking colorwork so much, I block twice. I soak the piece in Eucalan for a while (free samples at that link), squeeze the water out with a towel, and let the piece dry, either flat or stretched out on a bottle. After it’s dry, or mostly dry, I iron it with a hot iron, and it becomes ever so flat and lovely.

– Floats give you a nice way to weave in ends so nobody can see them from the outside. My end-weaving technique is not very beautiful or elegant, but it works. I thread a tapestry needle and weave the tail in and out over the floats like I’m darning a sock. I usually weave in ends by following the path of the yarn through the backs of stitches, but I can’t usually see the actual stitches due to all the floats, and my gauge is usually so tight with colorwork that weaving into the stitches is a royal pain. So I use my hybrid weaving technique and it works just fine for me.

As a general rule, I try to let the ends of yarn do double duty wherever possible so as to minimize the number of ends to weave in. So, for example, in the Bird in Hand mittens, which call for sewing down a picot hem on the inside of the work, I left a very long tail from the cast-on and used it to sew up the hem at the end. I also left long tails from where I attached the yarn again to knit the thumb, carried them up the inside of the thumb along the inside of the floats as I worked, and used them to embroider the details (eye, wing, beak, legs) on the bird on the tip of the thumb.

I hope this is helpful and I hope I haven’t left anything out! If you have any colorwork tips, techniques, or lessons learned the hard way, please share.

I have some things I feel like bitching about.

Non-bitching content first. I finished my Selbuvotter mittens, after entirely too long, with a hiatus in there caused by running out of of CC yarn. I’ll post more about the project details later… in the meantime, just a couple of pretty pictures:

I finished the flared lace smoke ring I was working on and immediately cast on for yet another pair of mittens. “Didn’t you just make a pair of mittens?” said my boyfriend suspiciously. “How many mittens do you need?”

The pattern I’m using is Kate Gilbert’s lovely Bird in Hand–the flowers and vines! the Estonian braids! The tiny, adorable thumb-bird!–and it’s gorgeous, but [commence bitch #1] my hands are killing me! I thought knitting the Selbuvotter mittens using Telemark, a sport weight yarn, on US size 1.5/2.5 mm was bad enough. Now I know that was nothing compared to knitting worsted weight on size US size 0/2.0 mm needles. It’s not that my wrists hurt or anything, but I seem to have some slight bruising where my steel DPN has been pushing against my left pinky and ring finger for leverage. The main part of the knitting is OK, but all the decreases and twists in the cuff were murder on my finger. Ow.

I’m using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Chocolate for the main color. It’s the lighter brown on the right in the picture below:

And I’m using Classic Elite Tapestry in a kind of lime green color for the contrast. It’s the skein on the left in the picture below:

(I got all 6 of these skeins for $5 at a thrift store. One of the best yarn finds ever!)

[Commence bitch #2]
I bought some Jaggerspun Zephyr yarn from Sarah’s Yarns. She had kindly posted to let people know her prices were going up due to increases in the wholesale cost, so I thought I’d make an order so I could see what all the fuss was about with this cult classic yarn. I got a couple of skeins of the laceweight in a dark grapey purple, perhaps for the Peacock Feathers shawl, and some of the DK weight in Ruby–not sure what for, but I have a weakness for burgundy reds.

The UPS tracking number said it was delivered on December 15th, but I have seen no sign of it.

I have every confidence that Sarah will make it right if the package doesn’t ever show up (for the moment, she’s she put a trace on it) but if someone stole the package, that just sucks. I highly doubt that any of my neighbors is a sticky-fingered knitter. Maybe one, or the other, but probably not both. Maybe it was a drive-by swiping, or maybe my package accidentally got sent to Texas or something.

[Commence bitch #3]
I had a big package of Malabrigo on order through a group buy. I didn’t realize this was an issue, but apparently some retailer didn’t like the competition, secretly added themselves to the list, and ratted out the group to Malabrigo, making them cancel the order. Stoolie! Mole!

I guess I can’t really complain that strongly about the backstabby retailer trying to get rid of their competition if Malabrigo has an explicit anti-coop policy, although I still feel like it’s sneaky and underhanded to secretly join the group, pretending all the while that they have good intentions. Some yarn manufacturers, like 100purewool and Peace Fleece, encourage coop/group buys, but others have issues with it and I guess Malabrigo is one of them.

Sad. I had enough worsted weight in Garnet headed my way to make the balloon-sleeve jacket from the cover of Sensual Knits, and I was going to try some of the absolutely luscious (but incredibly expensive) handspun, hand-dyed angora in Velvet Grapes.

One of these days. I’ve still never tried Malabrigo and this is one of those other cult classic yarns that everyone raves about. Maybe I’ll pick some up at the LYS next time they have a good color in stock.

[Commence bitch #4]
Also, I ordered from the WEBS anniversary sale and they were out of part of my order. I only found this out when they shipped the incomplete package and I noticed the billed total was different from what I was expecting. I wish they had told me first, because I ended up substituting colors and now they’re sending me a second, separate package when everything could easily have gone in the same box.

[Commence bitch #5]
My computer crashed while I was writing this.

[Commence bitch #6]
I thought Rahul was just making it up when he told me the New York Times had reported that Mike Huckabee, who just won the Republican Iowa caucus, used to cook up squirrels in a popcorn popper and eat them.

Or something, anyway. You’d think all the yarn in the world had been discontinued. Here’s one installment of the stashy goodness I picked up in California:

Classic Elite Tapestry

6 skeins of Classic Elite Tapestry, part of a Marvelous Mukluks kit (also including a pattern, a postcard with pictures of mukluks, a basket, and a crusty, ancient single-use package of wool wash). Grand total: $5! Found in a thrift store on California Avenue in Palo Alto. I think I’m going to use this for mittens, like maybe a pair of Elli’s herringbone Pom mittens. Not sure how much yarn it will really take, but I’ll find out the hard way, I guess.

(Speaking of which, here’s a picture of how far I got on my second Selbuvotter mitten before running out of CC yarn.

selbuvotter

Now I have to place another Knit Picks order so I can get my $2 skein of Telemark!)

Here’s a whole slew of pictures of a skein of Chameleon Colorworks Twinkle Toes in “October.” I don’t even want to knit with this yarn, it’s so beautiful. It looks much paler than the online pictures I’ve seen of this colorway. So many lovely, warm colors in the skein, and that great Tencel shine. I would have called this Nectarine or Rose Gold rather than October. I associate October with stronger, darker reds and browns and brighter yellows and oranges than this.

I bought it at Imagiknit in San Francisco, and I think, if I can bear to, I’ll make a small lace shawl out of it.

I picked up this tiny bundle of Habu XS-45 20/3 bamboo laceweight at Stash Yarns. It looks like pure spun silver:

I plan to make a Swallowtail shawl out of it.

(I’m having a hard time thinking of casting on for either of these right now because I have this terrible, greedy fear of giving away the finished object.)

One more thing. Meet You Bastard.

you bastard scarf

Also, this is Sasha, the cat I helped cat-sit. Look how flat his teary-eyed face is! Awww. He’s the most beautiful of all. Sasha

Progress: I knit a couple of feet on my “mindless knitting” project, the Forest Rib Scarf–2-row stripes of brown (color 6) and green (color 3) Plymouth Boku over 27 stitches of mistake rib on size 8 needles.  Although I had my first encounter with Plymouth Boku (a soft singles yarn) pulling apart unexpectedly, overall, it was good, and nothing disastrous happened. I’m planning to give this as a Christmas present to my dad or stepdad.

Anti-progress:  The reason I was working on the mindless knitting was that I realized I had knit several rows of my second Selbuvotter mitten without casting on the extra stitches over the thumb hole, then had to spend the better part of an hour carefully tinking back, stitch by stitch. After which I realized I’d left the pattern book with the thumb instructions at home.

My boyfriend finally gave up the data transfer cable so I could get pictures off the camera (and free up the memory card of the 130 MB of squirrel videos we took last weekend). The pictures are pretty crappy in general, mostly snapshots taken indoors at 11 PM with the flash, but I’m excited I have something to show.

First up, the undergarments you’ve all been waiting for: Yes, it’s The Hideous Panties, Unveiled!

Like something out of a Hitchcock movie, aren’t they?

Next up, Lara, aka The Big Gray Sack. Better photos soon, but I’m just excited at the moment because this has become the perfect soft, warm, cozy, knock-around-the-house cardigan and you can really tell from this photo that I am 1) excited about my sweater 2) comfortable and 3) have obviously just been knocking around the house all day.

Now some photos from the field trip to the shearing at Schacht. Elli has more on her site, so I didn’t put up the photos of chickens and naked sheep and such that were essentially the same as hers. But I have photos of a sheep being sheared! And Elli and llamas!

And last but not least, some Selbuvotter pictures! They’re still damp, but I couldn’t wait to take a few progress pictures.

I’m done with the left Selbuvotter mitten! I’m currently trying to block it into submission–I steam-ironed it after finishing the main knitting, just to see how it looked, and found that steam does amazing, wonderful things for stranded colorwork. It was so flat and beautiful! Now the ends are woven in, and it’s soaking in Eucalan.

I’ll definitely have to break into my second skein of cream-colored Telemark, but I’m hoping the black skein lasts through the rest of the second mitten.
Problems thus far:

  • I somehow missed two sets of palm decreases and had to sharply decrease towards the top of the palm. The messed-up area with its little jog is kind of visible on the palm side of the band. Also, I somehow missed the instructions to ssk/k2tog in MC in the beginning of the book, and just did it in whatever chart color presented itself. I didn’t realize the decrease lines would visually align themselves with the side bands rather than the This led to some sort of ugly bits where the black seems accidental.
  • I can’t ever seem to get the tension right in the area between needles, so the side bands are all weirdly puckery.
  • Screwed up a few sts on the palm and duplicate-stitched over them.
  • Also screwed up a bit in the palm pattern on the thumb, but it’s the inside of the thumb, and it looks more or less right, so I’m not fixing it.
  • Nota bene: There’s a tiny error in the chart: the left-hand band chart is missing two black sts, 4 rows down from the top. It’s obvious which ones they are, but beware.

Other Notes
As far as fit, they’re perhaps an inch too long in the fingers, but pretty much perfect in the thumb, with just a tiny bit of extra length. The book warns that mittens may shrink lengthwise during use, so this should be just fine. I gave my other pair of Nordic mittens* to my mom when she was visiting. They were pretty, but the thumb was too high or the fingers were too short, due to gauge issues, and so they were never totally comfortable to wear, though the fabric was nice, cushy and nearly waterproof from working aran weight yarn on size 3 needles.

Terri Shea writes of these mittens: “The palm pattern, reminiscent of the quilting pattern Double Irish Chain, is complex and unless the knitter memorizes the rhythm of each row, it will be difficult to knit.”

I didn’t find it difficult at all when following the chart, but when it came time to extend the pattern to the palm, where motifs were cut off midway, I got kind of confused.

So here is how I’ll remember the sequence for the second mitten. The main motif is white diamonds staggered by a half-drop (and can also be seen as a sea of tiny CC crosses arranged in a diamond-shaped grid). For each set, the rows consist of the following, moved left or right as appropriate to maintain the white diamond rows of 1 MC, 3 MC, 5 MC, 3 MC, 1 MC, all centered atop one another:

1) *K1 MC, k3 CC* across

2) *k3 MC, k1 CC, k1 MC, k1 CC, k1 MC, K1 CC* across

3) *k5 MC, k3 CC* across

4) rep Row 2

Begin again with Row 1, which serves to put the 1-stitch MC point on the first set of diamonds, and also to put the 1-st foundation in place for the next set of diamonds offset by a half-drop.

Modifications:
Thumb: Apparently I didn’t pick up enough sts, so I have 13 sts on the palm (12 picked up plus 1 picked up from edge) rather than 14–but in any case: I defined the end of the round as just after the palm sts.

Rather than knitting the charted thumb, which didn’t appeal to me, I continued the vertical stripes from the gusset on the outside of the thumb, and the palm pattern on the inside of the thumb.

Work 19 rows, then decrease as follows:
Rd 1: k1 CC, ssk MC, work to last 3 sts, k2tog MC, k1 CC. ssk CC, patt across palm sts to last 2 sts, k2tog CC. 11 sts palm, 13 sts gusset.
Rd 2: k3 in pattern, ssk MC, k3 in pattern, k2tog mc, knit in pattern to end of needle. ssk CC, patt to last 2 sts, k2tog CC. 9 sts palm, 11 sts gusset, 1×1 stripes on gusset now.
Rd 3: ssk CC, patt to last 2 sts of side, k2tog CC. ssk CC, patt to last 2 sts, k2tog CC. 7 sts palm, 9 sts gusset.
Rd 4: ssk CC, k1 MC, sl1-k2tog-psso CC, k1 MC, k2tog CC. ssk MC, patt to last 2 sts, k2tog MC. 5 sts each side
Rd 5: ssk CC, k1 CC, k2tog CC, ssk CC, k1 CC, k2tog CC. Cut yarn and draw through these 6 sts.

I really like the looks of the wrong side of colorwork (and I consistently carried
the CC, black, ahead, by picking it up with my left hand first, under the MC, and holding it there Continental-style while throwing the MC with my right hand, so it’s all proper and pretty). However, I kind of ruined it with my woven-in ends. I just weave them up and down under the floats of the opposite color, which is functional, but then they spoil the look of the lovely horizontal floats.

I’m calling this mitten “Black Lilies” because it’s catchier than NHM #7, and because of this introduction to the pattern:

“The main pattern is a stylized lily, according to Annemor Sundbø, and symbolizes purity and the Virgin Mary.” (Sort of the opposite of the black dahlia, then.)

“Lilies arranged in a rosette pattern as seen here were often used in woven tapestries in the county Trondelag, where Selbu is situated.”

Here’s a nice picture of some real black lilies.

Also, I’ve concluded that the world needs a review of the book Knitknit, which I have out on loan from the library, because someone online was asking about project pictures and I could not find my favorites anywhere. There are some really nice photos in the book. Stay tuned! I’ll try to get a review up before I have to return the book to the library.

* The other pair of Nordic mittens:

Patons SWS in Natural Plum and Natural Navy. Look at that corrugated ribbing… such a pain in the ass, but so beautiful. (Better than the rest of the mitten–the color values were too similar, so the pattern didn’t stand out well in most places. I’ve learned my lesson.) The pattern was the North Star Mittens from Robin Hansen’s Knit Mittens! and it was full of errata. You can find my grouchy review on the product page.

See the thumb problem I was talking about? Contrary to what you might believe from looking at these mittens, my thumb does not branch off from my hand midway up my index finger, nor does it end at the same place as my pinky. Of course, it’s knitted fabric, so it stretched… somewhat. But not really enough.

I like this site. It has iguanas.

Also learned at knit night that you can machine wash stainless steel, and that chemgrrl has a climbing wall IN HER HOUSE.

I’m about 1/4 done with Selbuvotter mitten #1. It looks lovely. I think using an appropriate yarn for colorwork makes a huge difference. (There are pics of some pretty, but less successful mittens in my Flickr)

I’ve been a sweater powerhouse lately! I finished the Tilted Duster in two weeks, Lara in two weeks, and I just cast on for Anna Bell/Amelia Raitte/My Fashionable Life’s Jess, which I hope to finish in two weeks as well. It’s become a routine, with all the reading I’ve been doing: cast on at knit night, knit for two weeks, finish by the next one. I might run out of steam soon, though. I guess I should have plenty of one-skein leftovers by that point, perfect for Christmas gift knitting.

Lara

Lara origamied up into a passable cardigan (phew!) She looked like poo when I tried her on pre-blocking. Lots of wrinkly excess cloth in the armpit area, and she made me look decidedly pudgy. I’m hoping blocking will help the fabric drape better. It might also help to not wear a second sweater underneath.

I clipped Lara together with binder clips to keep her in place while seaming, and it worked pretty well, except at the collar, where I had to kind of squish the last little bit in. I’ll see tomorrow if blocking helped that part lie flat, or if I should rip out and re-seam.

Pictures soon, hopefully.

Jess II: The Re-Jessening

…is what I’ve decided to christen my jacket project. I knit Jess in this same yarn (Queensland Uruguay DK, double-stranded, $25 a bag at Littleknits) on these same needles (Boye Needlemaster size 11) for my stepmom this spring. Hers was a sage green color, mine will be a rich burgundy. I loved working with the yarn and I loved everything about the pattern. So despite my general aversion to making the same pattern twice, I decided to go ahead and make the exact same jacket in a different color, and it’s rather liberating–I know the number of skeins I’ll use (I bought one extra just in case), the proper needle size, the mistakes in the pattern, the things to tweak this time around (fewer buttons, longer sleeves, different bindoff for the collar). I knitted on the cast-on stitches and this left nice big loops for picking up and knitting in the hem.

Instead of repeating my thoughts on the pattern, here are the notes I posted on the Craftster knitalong about the original Jess:

“Well, I finished Jess last week, but forgot to take a picture before sending her off to my stepmom! Sad

I used 11.5 skeins of Peru Luxury DK/Queensland Uruguay DK, a wonderful, shiny, bouncy merino/alpaca/silk blend in sage green, double-stranded, and I sewed on wooden buttons instead of doing the crocheted button covers.

My stepmom says it’s too narrow around the chest, but it seemed to fit me fine when I tried it on first, and I think I’m about the same size as her–she probably just likes more ease in her sweaters. The basketweave fabric with the Peru Luxury DK is surprisingly heavy and stretchy and REALLY warm. The sleeves require much more knitting than you would think to get to the proper length–I think they have a tendency to ride up because of the basketweave. I lengthened them to wrist-length instead of having 3/4 length sleeves.

I realized after knitting this that although it’s a jacket, I think it’s a good idea to use something like merino as she suggests, because the basketweave makes the jacket really cling to your arms and I think it could easily get very itchy and uncomfortable if you used a less-than-luscious yarn.

If this makes a difference in your decision to buy or not buy her patterns, they are mostly very clearly written, but I’d say they’re not for beginners (based on looking over Flicca and knitting from Jess)–they’re very concise, and there are some things taken for granted, like that you will know what decreases to use in which situations (I used paired k2tog/ssk decreases worked a stitch in from the edge, and knit a one-stitch garter selvage on the edges to be seamed), or that you will know how to maintain the stitch pattern when increasing or decreasing. Clearly, since I’ve bought two of them already, I think they’re worth the money, but your mileage may vary Smiley

Jess is a really nice pattern overall–it does go so quickly on the size 11 needles (the fronts are only 28 sts each in the smallest size!), the basketweave pattern is easy to memorize, and I love the details–the slipped-stitch edge, the buttonholes, the knitted-up hems. If you’re wondering, the collar is knit in seed stitch with a slipped-stitch edging, which wasn’t entirely clear to me from the pattern pictures. I would totally knit this jacket again.

I found a couple of possible errata in the pattern on the smallest size, but I could have just made mistakes myself, since I was usually doing something else while knitting.
– I think the instructions for the setup rows on the basketweave pattern for the back are incorrect–the structure of the pattern should be pretty obvious after you’ve swatched, so no big deal, but I believe the (WS) instructions should read P1, (K2, P2) to last stitch, P1.
– I think the shoulder shaping is reversed–when I started on WS or RS as instructed, I ended up with shoulders slanting upwards away from my neck instead of slanting downwards away from my neck. I had to rip and reknit a few times because I kept following along with the pattern and then realizing after binding off that I had done it backwards.”

Selbuvotter

I also cast on for a pair of Selbuvotter mittens, NHM #7. Terri Shea’s Selbuvotter book is phenomenal–the author reverse-engineered mitten patterns from samples found in various Nordic museums, and has reprinted them, in all their intricate, monochromatic glory.

The charts require all my concentration, which is why I needed to cast on for Jess–the mittens will decidedly not be my brainless pattern, but will be one step below.

I’m knitting them in Knitpicks Telemark in black and cream, on a US 1.5/2.5mm 24″ circ, magic-loop (I can knit only one at a time magic loop with this length needle, unfortunately). I don’t have appropriately sized DPNs (though I didn’t take a gauge swatch, so these may be wrong anyway) and two circs seemed way too fiddly this time around.

Stashing and Destashing

I’ll have to count using up yarn as “destashing.” I used up 11 or 12 skeins in the past two weeks on Lara. Yay!

Then I went and bought more stuff. Argh!

I tested some stitch markers for a woman on Ravelry a month or two back, and now she’s opened up her own store–Knitty K8’s Stitch Markers. I wanted to support her (and I got a discount) so I picked up a set of gray freshwater pearl stitch markers.

Jannette’s Rare Yarns was having a limited-time sale on Rowan Yorkshire Tweed Chunky at a price I couldn’t refuse: $50 for 10 100g skeins. She usually sells them for $70. MSRP for a bag is $159.50. This yarn is discontinued, and I loved working with the DK version so much, I decided I’d try the Chunky. I happened upon the sale when there were only 4 days left (3, now), and decided, after some deliberation, on Damp, which looks to be a slate gray flecked with blue and green. I was thinking of getting Coast, a mid-blue color flecked with brighter blue, but I think the gray will be more versatile. (What does the Chicago Manual of Style say about how to treat yarn color names? I went for italics this time.)

And my mom brought me 6 skeins of Patons SWS and 2 skeins of Patons Nuance when she came to visit last weekend–she wants a cardigan or a vest of some kind. My plan is to exchange the Nuance for more SWS so I’ll (probably) have enough for a garment.

In other news, I saw Stardust last night and I want to move to Stormhold. Or maybe Wall.