Archives for posts with tag: angora

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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So I just posted about the YELLOW Malabrigo lace I bought, but that’s not the end of it, not by any means.

I just got the prizes from winning Best Original Design for Malabrigo March for Prickle in the mail yesterday. They are lovely!

First of all–get an eyeful of the giant pile o’ prize yarn at the contest moderator’s blog. Wow. Aren’t those all just amazingly gorgeous?

Two of the skeins from that giant pile are now mine!

A skein of merino worsted in Hongos, a pink and brown variegated colorway:

And a skein of their brand-new superwash sock yarn, in “Test Color,” a lovely light blue with a subtle mixture of turquoise and gray shades.

Here, take a closer look.

Yum! It’s soft and pretty, but I can’t tell you much more than that yet–I haven’t skeined it up or swatched with it yet.

Now, if you’re my mom, don’t read any further! Everyone else, go ahead. There’s more Malabrigo goodness behind the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s been getting cold, and closer to Christmas, and both of those are inspiring a stream of little bagatelles…

I forgot to include my ball of gray Cotswold-angora roving in this picture (and the dishwater gray Hideous Panties) but I thought it would be nice to put together a little still life of the various grays, cool and warm, matte and shiny, that I’ve been working on lately:

In the back, my Lara sweater; clockwise from there, my feather and fan cowl in silver Artfibers Ming, pinned with a beautiful Perl Grey ringstick from Purlescence; my Dryad Mitts in Squirrel Heather Knit Picks Swish; and a skein of local, millspun alpaca from the farmer’s market–worsted weight, 50g/110 yards.

So the Ming Cowl is done, and I’m suffering from Ming withdrawal. Sigh… look at this stuff.


Apparently, I can make this heap of silvery gorgeousness look like a crumpled heap of grayish fabric when I wear it, but I think it’s beautiful anyway.

Pattern: the Luxe Neck Warmer from Knit 2 Together

Yarn used: Artfibers Ming, Color 08

Needles used: Size 10/6mm Denises

Started: 10/14/07

Finished: 10/25/07

Notes: This is the second time I’ve knit this pattern. It’s a nice pattern, if more decorative than truly warm.

So that’s one thing. Here’s another. The farmer’s market alpaca from the top picture quickly turned into another warm gray winter accessory:

Pattern: Cat Bordhi’s Cashmere Moebius Cowl

Yarn used: Alpaca from the Bloomington Farmer’s Market for the main part of the cowl; my own handspun angora for the edging. The white angora fluff I used (“roving” seems like such a harsh word) was from Breezy Manor, and was the leftovers from the second mini-skein I spun up and Navajo-plied for Last Minute Knitted Gifts angora booties for my friend Jen’s newborn baby.

Needles used: Size 10/6mm 40″ Addi Turbos

Started: 11/5/07

Finished: 11/5/07

Mods: I ran out of alpaca yarn, so I switched to the angora for the edging, made it through only rows 1-3 of the lace edging, then started to run out of angora as well and began to bind off. I ran out of yarn during the bindoff, and had to use the no-yarn crochet hook bindoff for the rest of it. Thankfully, the unusual shape of the cowl means that a tight bindoff will not impede getting the finished object over your head.

Notes: I loved using this alpaca. It felt so fluffy and light while I was using it that I felt like I was knitting with cake frosting, or whipped cream. It’s warm and utterly soft and fluffy around my neck, and the rather hard, overspun, rope-like twist I put into the angora is good for durability, and keeping the angora from shedding and flying away too much. I took pictures with my preferred way of wearing it–tight against my neck with the half-twist overlapping in front like a shawl collar, and the excess fabric folded down to tuck into my coat. I think Cat Bordhi’s version has a smaller circumference, which seems more attractive as an accessory but less warm for the chest. I might try the pattern again, subtracting one pattern repeat.

The pattern uses Cat Bordhi‘s signature Moebius cast-on, basically a clever way of getting your needle through both the top and the bottom loops of a provisional cast-on, with the half-twist that makes the Moebius strip one-sided. The Girl from Auntie has a great series of posts about approaches to knitting Moebius strips, and Thomasina has compiled a big list of links to other Moebius patterns on her geeky knitting page.

“A mathematician confided
That a Möbius band is one-sided,
And you’ll get quite a laugh,
If you cut one in half,
For it stays in one piece when divided”

Have you ever knit a Moebius strip using Cat Bordhi’s method? I definitely recommend it as something to try at least once–it’s fascinating. The cast-on is for the “equator” of the Moebius strip, and the knitting grows up and down from there as you knit in the round. All the lace lines in this pattern slant the same direction as you’re knitting them, but once you’re done, you can see that they are facing you from the right side on one half of the strip, and on the wrong side from the other half, so you have a half stockinette, half reverse stockinette cowl with chevrons of lace radiating out from its equator. You can probably see this best in the top picture I posted.