Archives for posts with tag: tips

Sooo my trip planning is going kind of poorly. One of the airlines I have tickets with (Siem Reap Airways) got blacklisted by the EU for inadequate safety standards and suspended all flights about 6 days after I bought the tickets. Supposedly we can still fly with their parent carrier (but is that any better?) And then tonight, at Stitch ‘n’ Bitch, I broke my glasses! The earpiece just snapped right off. We’re leaving on Monday and tomorrow and Friday we’re supposed to get 6-12 inches of snow, so I’m not sure I want to venture out to the optometrist until the weekend. Not sure what to do about this, and I can’t find my spares. For the moment, I’m supergluing the broken pair back together. Things are not going well!

But I do have something knitting-related that I’m happy about, at least. More than one thing, but I don’t know how many of them I’ll get a chance to write up before I go.

Some background: my absolute favorite mittens are my Bird in Hand mittens (pattern available here.) The only problem is that when it gets down to below zero, like it was here in Madison the other day,

stranded worsted weight knit at a fingering weight gauge, while plenty warm, just isn’t quite warm enough. I wanted a pair of thrummed mittens like the ones I made Rahul (see the guts? I didn’t have a picture of them last time)

but I also wanted to wear my favorite mittens.

So I decided to retrofit my mitts with afterthought thrums!

They are invisible from the outside (aside from the mitten looking a little puffy, and fitting tighter than it used to) and super warm.

Here’s how to do it:
Gather your supplies:

  • one pair of stranded mittens, preferably a pair with more ease in them than mine have,
  • a couple of ounces of nice woolly roving, matching or not–mine is indigo and osage-dyed Corriedale from Handspun by Stefania, and really I should have used the random bright pink and orange roving I have lying around that I’ll never make anything with, rather than the expensive natural-dyed stuff, but I couldn’t resist the matching green. Whatever color you pick, it won’t show. The important thing is that the fibers should be at least a couple of inches long, and have some crimp, so they’ll stay in the mitten. There was a thread on Ravelry about thrummed mittens where someone suggested cashmere thrums. This is a bad idea, because down fibers are so short, they’ll never stay in place. You want something where you can pull off a decent-sized lock.
  • a crochet hook of a decent size (I don’t know much about crochet hook sizing, but I think I used a G hook. Something a reasonable size for worsted-weight yarn)

Turn the mitten inside out.

Pull off a piece of wool about the width of your finger and a few inches long. This is your thrum.

Stick your crochet hook under a couple of floats. Do not go through the main part of the knitted fabric, just under the floats.

Fold the thrum in half and loop the middle over the crochet hook (sorry, this is a little blurry, but you get the idea).

Use the crochet hook to pull the center of the thrum under the floats.

Now go over the floats with the crochet hook and grab the tail ends of the thrum with it…

And pull these through the loop formed by the folded middle of the thrum.

Voila, a thrum attached invisibly to the inside of the mitten, after the fact!

Continue to attach thrums evenly across the back of the fabric so you have a nice woolly layer. I have a short attention span and a lot of Christmas knitting to do, so my mittens are still pretty much in the partially-thrummed state you see below, but it has really improved their insulating powers. (For one mitt. I have part of one mitt thrummed. But on Monday I will be in a place where it’s 80 degrees out, so I’m not in a huge hurry to get this done.)

Pretty awesome, right?

I hope this trick is useful to my fellow knitters in similarly fiercely cold climates!

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I have knit lots more rounds of the Hemlock Ring blanket since my last post. I’m now up to Round 38 of Jared’s chart (I guess this corresponds to Round 84 of the original pattern), and the behemoth 250-gram, 478-yard centerpull yarn ball is finally nearing its end and collapsing in on itself.

Additional props to the Rainey Sisters for their notes and PDF: once I made it past the error in Round 35, I got to the Feather and Fan section and went to print out Jared’s chart so I could highlight the rounds I’d completed. Because I am apparently a technological moron, every time I saved the chart from Flickr and tried to print it, it came out tiny and illegible, and I couldn’t seem to get it to any kind of normal size. The Rainey Sisters PDF came to the rescue with flying colors! It has a chart key on the same page, too, and includes the original pattern in the PDF so you don’t have to print it out separately. Ladies, thank you.

I’m still really enjoying the endless feather-and-fan–it was a good project to bring to knit night, because of how it’s mostly just stockinette in the round. Also, after I kept getting paranoid that my increases and decreases had shifted over by half a repeat, and suspiciously counting the YO eyelets and trying to spread out considerably more than 40″ of crumpled lace to lie flat on the 40″ needles, Nicole helpfully suggested that I use stitch markers to keep track of where I was. If I were at home instead of having met my knitting group, I’d probably still be sitting here counting, re-counting, and grumbling.

I had never really thought of Feather and Fan as being the kind of lace pattern that might give someone problems, since it’s super-easy and one of the simplest ones out there, but since the number of plain stitches, increases, and decreases varies on every pattern row as the Hemlock Ring expands, I had to tink back a few times after letting my mind wander and reverting back to the increase/decrease pattern from the previous lace round, getting towards the end of the round, and realizing–heeeeeey, that doesn’t match up. It also doesn’t have the really strong geometric lines that some lace patterns do, that would immediately flag a mismatch between the current round and previous ones. (In fact, even the flowery center part of the Hemlock Ring, despite the more complicated nature of the lace, has for the most part really strong and easy-to-read increase and decrease lines, so I did realize there was a problem right away with Round 35 because it was clear that the decreases were not stacking up properly when I followed the pattern as written.)

I had already drawn a vertical line down the middle of the chart to divide it in half, so half the YOs are on the left and half on the right, to mark the beginning of the round, since the round begins in the middle of a lace repeat. I made markers from pieces of scrap yarn and placed them at this location on every repeat: 8 markers total, 1 of which was my original end-of-round marker, a different color from the rest of them.

Now (as is standard practice with using stitch markers in lace), as I begin each set of increases, I count to make sure I have the right number preceding the marker; slip the marker, make sure I have the right number of increases following it, and then work the plain sts (as needed) and the decreases, and I can tell by the time I get to the next marker if I’ve messed up the pattern.

It feels like it’s going really fast, although I am told that is just a cruel illusion, since the rounds get longer and longer. Since it’s my Mindless Knitting project, though, I have high hopes that it will get done reasonably soon and with a minimum of soul-crushing tedium. I do wish I could spread the whole thing out flat to look at it. Right now it’s like a giant lace bag, or some kind of weird sea creature (Emilee compared hers to urchins and anemones, but it kind of reminds me of an jellyfish at the moment, perhaps because of the color.)

In other knitting news:

Bad news: there was a fire yesterday night at the Malabrigo mill. They posted on their site that “Even though our floor did not catch fire, it seems there is substantial damage on our mill and offices caused by the soot and smoke.” I hope nobody was hurt and that they’re up and running again soon.

Good news: I’m really excited about Norah Gaughan Volume 3. Norah has been posting sneak peeks of her designs on Ravelry, in her projects, and discussing them in the Norah Gaughan group. They’re hosted on Flickr, so you don’t have to be a member of Ravelry to see them. I think one of these design stories is totally beautiful and appealing–look at Eastlake:

And Loppem:

Those are my two favorites of the ones she’s shown so far. Calvert is pretty nice too: