Archives for category: tips and techniques

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 made two more pairs of felted clogs while I was at Rahul’s parents’ house over Christmas–one pair for me and one pair for Rahul. The pattern is fast and easy, and the double-stranded yarn makes it a great way to stashbust.

Pattern: Fiber Trends Felted Clogs AC-33 (the old version).

Size: I made the Men’s Medium (to fit shoe size 10.5) and the Women’s Small (to fit shoe size 6.5)

Yarn used: I used Lamb’s Pride Worsted this time, bought for a song (40% off) from a LYS moving sale in Cleveland. It made a warm, cozy, but hairy fabric, and felted faster and more completely than the Lopi I used last time.

  • Men’s clogs: M-68 Pine Tree, exactly 2 skeins; M-151 Chocolate Souffle, about 1.25 skeins.
  • Women’s clogs: M-77 Blue Magic, a bit less than 1 skein, M-76 Misty Blue (actually gray, to my eye), about 1.25 skeins.

Needles used: US size 13/9.0 mm Denise circulars

Started: Men’s: 12/22. Women’s: 12/23

Finished: Men’s: 12/25. Women’s: 12/25. Both pairs felted 12/26. The felt was so dense, they both took about 4 or 5 days to dry!

Mods: I used the instructions for a higher heel for both pairs. I knit the women’s pair with a bumper, but was running short on yarn for the men’s pair, so I knit a modified bumper–knit the two soles together using a double strand, then bound off with a single strand on the next round.

The most significant modification I made was leaving rows 3 and 5 out of the sole instructions for the women’s pair to try and get a narrower fit. I left the instructions for the upper alone. They’re a bit too narrow this way; I think the fit would have been perfect if I had left out just one of the plain rows. The clogs fit, but I feel like the bumper has been co-opted as part of the sole width, when the main part of the sole should cover the foot completely, with the bumper extending a bit around the outer perimeter of the clog.

Notes: Very useful and comfortable. However, I would still like to caulk the soles of these to make them nonstick. Our house is mostly carpet, so it doesn’t matter for the most part, but I’d hate to slip on the kitchen linoleum.

So–Ravelry just gets cooler and cooler. I was browsing around on Ravelry today–I already knew about the needle/hook chart that lets you print a PDF chart listing the sizes of knitting needles and crochet hooks you own–but then I found the following information in the Help wiki:

“Ravelry also gives you the ability to text message for your needle size. Hey needle inventory users – if you are on a US mobile network, you can text Ravelry and ask it what needles you have.

Text Message 41411 and send the message “ravelry [user name] needle [size]”. You will receive a text message reply with your information.”

So cool!

I screwed up!

So a few days ago, I finished making my presents, went down to Hobby Lobby to get gift bags, wrapped everything up, wrote up little cards and care instructions, put everything in big boxes and drove down to UPS to mail them, with a great sense of pride and accomplishment swelling in my chest.

Then I found out it would cost $63 for each of my two packages to get them to California by Christmas! I don’t have that much holiday spirit. So my presents won’t arrive till the Friday after Christmas.

Here are two more of the Christmas projects I finished.

Pattern: Fiber Trends Felted Clogs

Yarn used: Unfortunately, I have no idea of how much yarn I used, since one was handspun and the other was recycled. Some amount of my neverending hyacinth violet Lopi, some amount of black walnut-dyed handspun Romney singles, both single-stranded. The yarns were really hard to felt–I had to run them through the washer on hot three times, and they still came out kind of fraternal, but at that point I had run out of other clothes to wash with them and lost patience with trying to get them exactly the same size.

The Romney singles didn’t felt very evenly or completely, as some areas were very energized and others were quite underspun and soft–but it did felt to an interesting and pleasing kind of boucle texture that worked well as the trim/contrast color on the clogs.

I quite like the lavender and light brown combination.

Needles used: US size 13/9.00 mm

Started: 12/13/07

Finished: Finished knitting 12/16/07. Took another day to felt, and one more day after that to caulk the bottoms.

Size: Women’s Small. Pre-felting, the clogs were roughly 13.5″ long, 6.5″ across instep at widest point, 21″ around ankles, and 6″ high.
pre-felted clogs

pre-felted clogs 2.

Post-felting, they were roughly 11″ long. 5.5″ across instep, 14.5″ around ankle, and 3″ high.

Subjectively, this meant that they fit my feet reasonably well lengthwise, but were very loose around the instep.

Mods: I accidentally knit the outer sole and bumper in the main color instead of the contrast color. The bumper was showing little blips of the wrong color and I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. Then I looked at the pattern again and realized that I was supposed to knit them in brown instead of lavender. Hence the brown blips showing up where I had picked up stitches.

The other thing I did was, instead of purling, to just turn around and knit the other direction in the round where it calls for 6 rounds of reverse Stockinette stitch at the ankle. I figured it was being felted anyway, so why not? I don’t usually hate purling that much, but it really wasn’t fun with the big thick needles.

Notes: I made these for my great-aunt for Christmas. I don’t know what size shoe she wears, so perhaps they’ll fit her better than they fit me.

Some research on this pattern on Ravelry revealed that there are two versions of this pattern, and you’re SOL if you bought the old version and want to upgrade to the new one. You just have to buy it again! I thought that was pretty annoying.

I knit the old version, AC-33x, printed on teal paper. The new version is labeled AC-33 and is printed on white paper. The newer version is apparently narrower than the old version. It seems like the new version would fit my feet much better than the old version, but I’m not sure I want to shell out for the pattern again. The designer suggested that I could leave out one or two plain rows from the sole to make it narrower, but apparently there are many other changes to the new version, including the decreases being moved around to different places.

I wear a women’s size 6.5 or 7, but after testing the pattern this time, I think I’d make the women’s size small despite the admonition that it’s only suitable up to size 6. It seemed still quite loose on me.

I added stripes of latex caulk to the bottom for traction. Nicole’s advice was to use latex caulk instead of silicone caulk, which gets very slippery when wet. I took this advice, but despite her excellent clog-caulking tutorial, I totally forgot to buy a caulk gun and ended up digging out caulk from the container with DPNs and slathering it over the soles–hence the somewhat skimpy amount shown here. The only color I could find was white, which seems to get dirty VERY fast, but better that than super slippery clogs. Unfortunately, I didn’t put enough on the soles to find out how effectively they retain traction on wet surfaces. They seemed pretty good, but there is so much exposed felt, I’m not totally sure, and I found the clogs getting so dirty from my sliding around the bathroom floor that I decided to stop all clog-testing immediately in the interest of keeping them looking at least somewhat new.

I have a lot of Lamb’s Pride worsted stashed away to make this pattern again–twice, once for myself, once for my boyfriend. I feel kind of sad that it didn’t fit me that well, but perhaps with a more quickly felting yarn and the two plain rows removed from the sole, it will be OK this time.

For my great-uncle, I made this:

Pattern: Jared Flood‘s Koolhaas, from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2007, now also available as a single pattern from the Knitting Daily pattern store

Yarn used: Plymouth Encore Worsted in 0149 Light Blue Heather, left over from my Tilted Duster, about 0.75 skein

Needles used: Size 6/4.0 mm for the ribbing, US size 8/5.0 mm for the rest of the hat

Started: 12/17/07

Finished: 12/17/07

Size: 18″ around, unstretched; 8.25″ high.

Mods: When I was knitting the first Koolhaas I made, I thought it would be interesting to try using twisted stitches instead of cable crosses. So I used the following twisted stitches throughout the hat:

“1st st” = closest to needle tips (distal)
“2nd st” = farther from needle tips (proximal):

1/1 LPC: knit 2nd st through back loop from behind and leave on needle, knit both sts tbl, drop from needle.

1/1 RPC and 1/1 RC: k2tog and leave on needle, knit 1st st again, drop from needle.

I prefer working right crosses with twisted stitches, and I think they look cleaner, so I substituted a right cross instead of a left cross on rows 3 and 7. However, I didn’t notice until I got to the decreases at the crown that the decreases would start spiraling the opposite way. Oops. Because I was in a hurry to get this done, I wasn’t about to rip back or rewrite the decreases to use k2tog, so I just let the crown go the other way. Perfectionists will doubtless be disturbed to their core by the untidiness of this substitution.

The twisted stitches have better stitch definition than the cables–they really pop!–but they also cause little tiny holes all over the knitted fabric. They’re faster and less fiddly to do, I think, but in the final analysis, I think the original pattern’s 1-over-1 cables are superior.

The holes are really only visible when the fabric is stretched out, so if there were an application for this pattern with positive ease, I think the twists would be a suitable substitute. However, since this hat is a few inches smaller than the average head, the holes do become visible when the hat is worn.

The twisted stitch version came out a little bit larger than the cabled version. I don’t know if this was partly due to the difference in yarn, but the needles were the same and I knit them right around the same time.

I took some side-by-side photos and some closeups so you can see for yourself and decide. Obviously, the brown hat in the photos is the Koolhaas made the proper way, and the blue hat is the twisted stitch version.

Cable pattern, stretched out:

Twisted stitch pattern, stretched out:

Here’s one of the patterns eating up my stash of self-striping yarn.

These shapes and colors in these pictures remind me of Andy Goldsworthy photos.

Here’s a overhead shot of the entire scarf:

You can see what I meant about it probably looking even more effective in a yarn with fewer colors in it, right?

Here are a couple of shots of it modeled–the curves aren’t as pronounced as when it’s laid out flat:

Pattern: Kureopatora’s Snake, from String or Nothing
Yarn used: Plymouth Boku, color 5 (mixed reds), from WEBS, approximately 1.8 skeins

Needles used: Size 7/4.5 mm

Started: 11/11/07

Finished: 11/12/07

Size: 8 pattern repeats, not counting the set-up and finishing rows. 4-5″ wide, 66″ long post-blocking.

Mods: Just the length.

Notes: This is a really cool pattern–one of those few really unique scarves out there that isn’t just a stitch pattern applied to a long rectangle. It’s made up of the side triangles of entrelac worked in 1×1 rib, causing the scarf to wave back and forth in long, slow, trumpet-shaped curves.

I couldn’t get a full pattern repeat out of the last bit of yarn, so I frogged back and worked the finishing rows, ending up with quite a bit of leftover yarn–hence “1.8 skeins” instead of “2 skeins.”

I started this pattern a while ago with some Patons SWS, but got frustrated and gave up after heading the wrong way in the entrelac a couple of times. This time around, I paid careful attention as I was setting up the pattern, and only messed up once.

Here’s how I thought about the scarf pattern to keep from getting confused by the entrelac.

The stitches on the needles are divided into two sections: stitches you are actively knitting, and dormant stitches you “devour” with the decreases at the end of every other row.

For most of the scarf, look at the rows and see if you’re heading towards the center. If so, you’re on what I considered the RS, and you will need to increase at the beginning of the row, work to the split between the two sections, then ssk one stitch from the active stitches with one stitch from the dormant stitches and turn your work.

On the WS, just work p1, k1 rib (always starting with p1) across the active stitches.

The increases at the beginning of the RS rows are either (knit into the front and purl into the back) or (purl into the front and knit into the back) of the first stitch. When you’re increasing at the beginning of the row, look at the stitch you’re working into, and work the increase that starts with the opposite type stitch: for example, if it’s a knit stitch, work (purl into the front and knit into the back).

And if something looks weird in your entrelac, make sure you haven’t knit straight across the row into the dormant stitches.

Here’s a glimpse at another Boku project (colorway 7), a bicolor brioche scarf combined with leftover Northampton, looking all cheerfully chocqua and color-coordinated with my Sicily tablecloth:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Plymouth Boku > Noro Kureyon. It’s soft and evenly spun, no knots, no vegetable matter, and it has gorgeous colors. Maybe not quite as lovely as Noro colors, and it’s not as luminous as Silk Garden because it doesn’t have mohair in it, but it’s much nicer to work with than Noro. It’s cheaper, too!

Oh, and speaking of snakes, here’s the next snake I’d like to make. I’m not really big into knitted toys, but he eats the mouse! How cute/horrifying is that? A: Very! I love it!

I totally dig this post on Gallium Arsenide, Old Lace that offers a great way to think about the direction in which you wrap your yarn around the needle. It made me very confused reading Stitch ‘n’ Bitch when Debbie Stoller kept talking about wrapping the yarn clockwise or counterclockwise and I had no idea which way she was looking at her needles.

I also really like this mnemonic I read somewhere: to remember which way k2tog and ssk lean, think of an equilateral triangle with the point facing up and one side facing down. Think of k2tog on the left side of this triangle, making the side of the triangle slant right, and ssk on the right, making the side of the triangle slant left. You can remember which one goes where by remembering that k2tog comes earlier in the alphabet than ssk, so the two terms are in alphabetical order.

I still always get M1R and M1L confused and have to look it up. I know in one of them, you lift the strand from front to back and knit through the back loop, and in the other, you lift the strand from back to front and knit through the front loop. This sampler thingie on seems good (they say knit through back loop then knit through front loop, if you’re picturing an upside-down equilateral triangle), but then this Knitting at Knoon link seems to tell you to do the opposite (knit through front then knit through back). Anyone have a good mnemonic to share with me for these two increases?

Nona’s tutorial on Kitchener stitch seems like it should be helpful for remembering how to do it, but I still get all messed up thinking of front and back and knitwise and purlwise and find it easiest just to try and picture the path the yarn would take if it were another, knitted row of stitches. I just might have to knit Teva Durham’s Lace Leaf Pullover using her bizarro construction technique–knit the top down, knit the bottom up, graft the two halves together all around the middle of the sweater–so I can get more grafting practice in.

It’s gotten cold around here suddenly! It went from 90 degrees the other day to about 60 degrees today, and it will be around 40 degrees tonight. I need more fingerless gloves, but first I’ll have to try and crank out presents for three friends who are all celebrating their birthdays this Saturday. I’m thinking hats or mini-mufflers, but I may end up having to buy them stuff instead. Hopefully next time I post, I’ll have some speed gift knitting to show off.

Edited because I just saw this amazing set of Niebling lace doily patterns you can apparently buy from this person “doilyhead,” though I’m not quite sure how, and I wanted to link to it. They are beyooooootiful.

Some bullet points today, because I feel like listing things:

  • Jess II: The Re-Jessening continues apace. I finished the back during my lunch break today. I tried short-row shoulder shaping for the first time and it seemed pretty good, except I had some issues with the short rows worked on the wrong side, and got all confused, and had to redo that side. It looks mostly OK now. For future reference (i.e. in a day or two, when I end up doing the the matching short row shoulder shaping for the front), I went and read nona’s short row tutorial again, and looked again at the lovely explanations on let me explaiKnit and knitty. And I looked, but to my surprise, there’s nothing about short rows on TECHknitting yet.
  • I wasn’t entirely sure if I should be trying to knit in pattern when I did the last row to knit up all the wraps. Perfectionists, avert your eyes–I think I ended up doing one side plain and the other side in pattern.
  • I am now 8.5″ into the left front. Hurray for size 11 needles!
  • I used a backwards loop cast-on for the back, and knitted on the cast on for the front. The back looks tidier from the inside, but I think I’ll use the knitted cast-on for the rest of the hems. It’s much less of a pain in the ass to knit into the cast-on row, and it’s harder to pick up and match the stitches to the live stitches when you’re knitting the hem up.
  • I love my ball winder. I’ve been winding all my skeins into double-stranded centerpull balls to avoid having to knit from two skeins (the first pair flopped around and got all tangled). And then, after I finished the back, I rewound my loose little heap of leftover yarn into a nice firm ball of merino/alpaca/silk goodness again.
  • I re-seamed the collar on Lara. It’s still not perfect, but the little blip of excess neckband is at least at the back of my neck now instead of hanging out at the side.
  • I received Knitty K8’s stitch markers in the mail–forgot if I mentioned that already. They’re pretty! I haven’t had a chance to use them yet.
  • I’m baking a dish from I’m baking a dish from Lindsay Bareham’s Supper Won’t Take Long right now, called “Brown Tom.” More here. It’s a lovely feeling to have a casserole baking in the oven, and know you’ll have a hot, savory dinner soon.

There. Done with listing off all kinds of boring stuff for my own benefit.

These are FO notes cross-posted (edited) from Ravelry and my blogspot blog–pictures here–for the benefit of someone who wanted directions.

Blue Pomatomus “mermaid” gloves–a Christmas present for Patty. Finished 11/21/06, started maybe a week before. Size 3 DPNs, about 1/2 to 3/4 of a skein of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sport in Jeans.

So these gloves are essentially Knucks with the Pomatomus Chart A stitch pattern applied. I accidentally messed up two things on these: neglected the “move pattern one stitch over” instruction in the actual written instructions for Pomatomus and somehow didn’t realize that I hadn’t knitted the second thumb before starting the second glove… so I got to the gusset and had to do a provisional cast-on for the gusset stitches, then later pick them up and knit the thumb upwards, leading to a weird jog in the ribbing.

Here’s the math and other mods:
– Pinky: 12 sts, 1×1 rib, 10 rows.
– Ring, middle, thumb, and index: 16 sts, 1×1 rib, 10 rows.
– On joining row, do not k2tog and ssk. (Actually, my mistake in not realizing the stitch count would no longer be a multiple of 12 after decreasing. Didn’t seem to make a difference)
– Carefully match up ribbing on fingers when arranging on needles to join–make sure the 1×1 rib alternates on adjacent fingers.
– Knit one round of 1×1 rib to join, then start Pomatomus Chart A. (60 sts = 5 repeats)
– Work to row 18 of the chart, then join the thumb: place it on the needles with a stitch marker separating it from the main part of the hand. Continue working the chart on the hand, and work 1×1 rib on the thumb.
– While continuing to work from the chart for the hand, work 4 rows even on the thumb and then begin gusset decreases–reach first marker, k2tog tbl, 1×1 rib to last 2 sts before second marker, ssk.
– When there are two stitches remaining, k2tog.
– When there is one stitch remaining, remove marker and ssk with adjacent stitch.
– Continue knitting until row 13 of pattern (or as long as you want) and then switch to 1×1 rib for the cuff.
– Use symmetrical decreases in gusset area to reduce cuff by 4 to 6 sts (for a comfortable fit on my wrists, which are fairly small).
– Knit 10 rows on the cuff and bind off with the sewn bind-off. (For future gloves, the cuff should probably be longer. I was afraid of running out of yarn, so made it the minimum reasonable length)
– When weaving in ends, use “darning” technique to weave first horizontally, then vertically between fingers to close up the holes, and then begin weaving ends along the yarnover columns to reduce the size of the eyelets. After weaving in a bit, use the tail from the wrist bind-off to crochet a sc chain at the edge of the cuff, directly under the thumb, so you can hang up the gloves on a hook for storage.