Mittens in the Dark

I’ll never be a blogger with a ‘brand’ or ‘branding’, advertisers will never want to shell out money for ads here, I will never have a post with ‘reveal!’ in the title, no one is going to ask me to write a book based on my blog, I wouldn’t call myself a taste-maker or any sort of maven, and I’m ok with that (mostly. I’d like to write a book, I just don’t know about what). I’ve always enjoyed the idea of keeping a diary, and typing is just so much faster. My work schedule gets way too hectic for me to think about blogging for weeks at a time. But I always come back, because I do like to share my craft projects and random photos from my life. (PS: this is as close as you’ll ever get to an apology for not blogging – I hate it when bloggers do that! Your blog is not your life.)

These fingerless mitts for example, that I made almost entirely in the dark backstage during tech:

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The temperature in the theatre was somewhere sub-zero for the whole time. I at least get to stand up and walk around, so I was only wearing a few sets of layers. Poor Amy has to sit at the desk the whole time, so she was wrapped up in hoodies and blankets and scarves and my old Endpaper Mitts. I lent her those ones for the two weeks, and worked on these ones as fast as I could backstage. I finished them just in time for opening.

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This is some deep stash – I bought it at Sock Summit 2009! It is from Black Trillium Fibres*, and I still have a fair bit left. I could do a short pair of socks, or some longer mitts I think.

They are also a Harry Potter House Cup project… if you thought knitting was geeky, don’t even ask.

*I just realized that this is an American-based indie dyer who actually spells fibre fibre! I knew I loved her stuff for a reason.

Knitting Olympics

Well, I did and I didn’t do what I came to do at this Knitting Olympics.

I was glued to the TV for every possible minute of the games. Sunday I had to work, and thank goodness for overtime! If the hockey had ended when it was supposed to, it would have been during the show. Because of overtime, it ended about 3 minutes after curtain call. As soon as the actors got offstage, they asked about the game, and as soon as I said ‘overtime’, we were all running down to the green room. (There usually isn’t a TV that gets outside channels in the green room, but one was dragged in just for these two weeks!).

I didn’t finish P’s thrummed mittens. I started, ripped out because I wasn’t following the pattern, restarted, and spent the whole time I was knitting wondering if they’d fit, if they’d work, if he even wanted mittens. Then my thrums were too fat, which made Magic Loop hard, so I had to find DPNs…. I put them down, and concentrated on my Fiddlehead Mittens.

Finished Fiddleheads

I finished those! Linings and all!

Finished Fiddleheads

I even did some re-knitting on these. The first lining I completed felt lumpy in the mitten no matter what I did. I started the decreases for the tip about 4 rows earlier on mitten #2, and that felt much better, so I ripped and re-knit the top of mitten #1.

Mitten #3 of 6

My Olympic knitting is coming along – I’ve finished both colourwork parts of the Fiddlehead mittens, and I’m on to the first lining:

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And after work last night, I’m almost up to the spot to start decreasing for the top.

I’ve decided that these mittens are probably better known as my work knitting mittens. I’ve done all the work so far on them at work, and I think I’ll try to finish them entirely at work, so they can be the playRites festival mittens.

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The other mittens, the ones I want to finish while the Olympics are on… I started them yesterday! I haven’t brought them in to work yet, because I don’t really want to be tied down with thrums at work. The other mittens are so easy right now, just plain knitting, that they’re perfect for work.

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Not bad progress for just one session’s knitting. I’m still confident I can get these done before the Olympics end, although I may have to give in and bring them to work.

I’ve been toying with the idea of making my birthday the “knitting new year”, and either finishing everything up or frogging it, so I have no WIPs on my birthday. My birthday is April 2, so it might just be possible. Still thinking about that, while I work crazily on mittens.

Fiddlehead #1

Here is Fiddlehead Mitten #1!

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This was knit entire at work, backstage. The three middle colours were the easiest sections, because of the high contrast. The pale purple tip of the hand was very hard – it’s always dark backstage, the lights are tinged blue, so high contrast is good. But, with the help of a headlamp, I managed it!

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I even wove in all the ends before I started mitten #2! I’m halfway through the dark purple section of mitten #2, so I’m doing quite well.

I’ve decided to join the Knitting Olympics, and my project will be thrummed mittens for my boyfriend. The yarn is black though, so I think that pair may be home knitting only.

Besides, I’d confuse people at work if I started working on a new project.

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Fine Fiddlehead Start

So, once the toe socks were finished, and the Druid mittens frogged, I needed a new project. I actually needed a new project within 15 minutes so I could head out the door to work! I grabbed the Fiddlehead Mitten kit I bought from my LYS, Make One Yarns. I grabbed about 3 different needle sizes, and ran out the door.

I wound up the yarns by hand, putting the skeins over the back of a chair backstage, and started knitting. The kit even suggests the best way to swatch for a mitten is to just start knitting!

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This was 3 days of work! They were 12-hour days, but I definitely don’t knit the whole time at work, just when I’m hurry-up-and-waiting.

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I got up to colour #4, just a few rows of dark purple. These will be lined mittens, so I’ll end up basically making 4 mittens, but they will be super warm! And hopefully slightly less like oven mitts than my thrummed mittens are.

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The Fate of the Druid Mittens

So I finished the green and blue toe socks, I’m just waiting until I can get some good photos. I thought I might as well start on the Druid mittens, maybe get them done before the Olympics start so I can start a new Olympic project.

Too Small Mitten

I opened the knitting bag, and pulled out the entire mitten (except thumb) I had knit with needles much too small (2.00mm). Then I pulled out the half a mitten knit on 2.5mm needles. I decided I didn’t like that fabric either, so I ripped both partial mittens, and started again with 3.00mm needles. I managed to knit the whole cuff with the yarn I’d just frogged. Yarn that had been living as a mitten for more than a year. Then I realised that looked bad, and would probably continue to look bad, even after blocking, so I ripped that cuff too. Then I started with fresh yarn from the ball. Last night I did the first few rows, and decided I wasn’t sure if I liked the fabric, if it was too loose or holey or what.

So I frogged that, and have decided to forget about those mittens for a while. I’ll probably knit the pattern sometime or other, and I’m sure I’ll use the yarn in something else, but I think I just need to take the curse off that project by not trying to force it.

Luckily, I have a Fiddlehead Mitten Kit just waiting to be started! I was going to save that for the Knitting Olympics, but I have to head to work in 20 minutes, and will need knitting. Excuse me, I have to run and find some needles!

Never Tired of Mittens

Here’s another card with that gorgeous Impression Obsession mitten stamp:

Purple Mittens

Simple mittens coloured with Copics, then mounted on mica-flecked handmade paper. I love the simplicity of this card. And I LOVE this stamp. I went over the snowflakes on this one with white opaque pen.

I have a pair of these mittens (in green) on the front of what I’m calling my ‘idea book’. Really, it’s where I stick my practice colouring pieces, and eventually any other inspiring things or ideas written down. I’m excited to add to the cover over time, until the entire black cardboard cover has disappeared.

I just want to say that I have a ‘thing’ about mittens. I just checked my Ravelry queue, and I have 16 mitten patterns in line.

Mitten Madness!

OK, so there are two fingerless mitt patterns, and one glove pattern in that mosaic, but you get the idea! I either want to make the cupcake mittens, or the tree mittens next, I’m not certain yet. First though, I need to finish these:

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The one pictured is too small. I have up to the thumb of a new, larger one.

Last night a fell asleep picturing a mitten display – a board that hangs on the wall, with clothespegs or something to hang up all my mittens – one for each day of the week! If I want to see that though, I’m going to have to get knitting!

Mitten for the New Year

For my first project of 2009, I’m picking up something that I left half done in 2008; my Druid Mittens.

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I “finished” (except for the thumb) one mitten in October, but got discouraged and needed some time away from it. I love the pattern, I love the cables, and the yarn, but I chose the wrong needle size. And I even did a swatch! Although a stockingette swatch for something that has NO stockingette in it wasn’t the best idea Vogue ever had.

The fabric was much to tight, but I was too much in denial to actually stop knitting. I kept telling myself that blocking would fix it. Nope! Still tight, and too small for  my hand. But it is small in an interesting way:

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The palm has a different row gauge than the top, so the mitten curls on itself. It can even stand up by itself:
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So yes, definitely too small for  me, and odd enough that I wouldn’t want to give them as gifts. For whatever reason it took me ages to realise this, so a few days ago I cast on for mitten #2, with needles 0.5mm bigger, and we’ll see what that does. I haven’t frogged mitten #1 yet though, because I like petting the cables. :)

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Upstairs Downstairs Knitting

I’ve been knitting away on two projects recently. I’ve found a system that I can only implement here, in my parents’ big house. My newest project (cast on as soon as the Annetrelacs were done) are my Druid mittens, and they are my basement project. The long-neglected $1.50 cardigan is my upstairs project.

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The mittens get worked on when I go down to the basement to watch TV after dinner. The having cable thing is great; I get to watch Iron Chef, and Mythbusters (I would love to work with Jamie and Adam)! On a side note, these Discovery Channel ads doesn’t get old.

The cardigan gets worked on when I curl up in the chair in my bedroom and listen to podcasts, or watch things on  my computer (like…. all of Heroes Season 2).

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The mittens are fairly slow going, what with all the cabling. I’m using 2mm needles, and the fabric is quite tight, but that’s good in mittens because it will keep the wind out.

What I’m finding interesting is that I seem to have a different row gauge on the back of the mitten than I do on the palm. The back of the hand is all cable-y, and the palm is a slip-stitch pattern, and somehow I am much tighter doing the palm pattern. It is actually causing the mitten to want to curve over. Luckily, that’s the shape hands naturally are, so hopefully it won’t affect the finished product too much.

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I took these photos on the ferry. I had to get away from the house for a day or two, so I went to Vancouver and visited some friends. Waiting for the ferry, and being on the ferry gave me lots of knitting and reading time.

Two Endpaper Mitts, mwa ha ha

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As I said, I finished last night. I really wanted to block, because there are a fair number of slightly wonky stitches. But I couldn’t wait (and have yet to figure out where to block, in our entirely-hardwood apartment), so I wore them to work. Oh! So, so warm. Got a few weird looks, but I am from the warm part of Canada, and many people don’t seem to understand how COLD it is here.

Pattern: Eunny’s, it’s everywhere.
Needles: 3.0mm Addi Natura, 2.5mm Addi Turbo
Yarn: ArtYarns UltraMerino4 (green) Fortissima Socka (blue)

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EDIT: How could I forget the exciting knitish thing that happened today?
A co-worker came up to me today and said that some time over my days off, a lady came in, and as her purchase was being rung through, she complemented the store on their ‘wonderful selection of knitting books, very impressive!’. That’s my job! I order the craft books! I’m so proud, because this wasn’t just any customer… she owns a yarn store!! Unfortunately, we don’t know which one, she said it was in the south, and there’s at least 3 in the south of the city.
In talking to this coworker about knitting stores, I found out the most amazing thing: There is a YARN. STORE. no less than 6 blocks from here. It has never shown up in my googling of Calgary yarn stores. It’s called Pudding Yarn, and I will visit on my next day off. So sometime in February.

End of Endpapers

I finished my mitts! I’m wearing them right now, and oooh are they nice. :)

They are slightly different. On the first, I used the cast-off recommended by Eunny (kitchener rib bind-off). I couldn’t get it to look even, and it isn’t stretchy. The second, I used EZ’s sewn bindoff, which is lovely and stretchy. The tight one isn’t too restricting, except when I’m typing. Which is sad, as I was hoping to wear these at work. I can always push it just past my knuckles too I guess.

Pictures tomorrow, it’s late now.

Oh, and I finally bought Jennie Atkinson’s Romantic Style today. 40% off, no less. :)
I think I smell another project. At least, I would, if I had any appropriate yarn in the stash. Need to knit from the stash. These mittens weren’t and I still feel bad. I think next I make Odessa, followed by Shedir. My head will be well-hatted.

D&D report

D&D went well, although it turned into a two-day campain, rather than the one we were all expecting. I knit through most of it, and have enough done to hopefully finish Endpaper # 2 tomorrow. I’m halfway through the last repeat of the pattern. I could be done the whole thing, but I thought we’d go late and I didn’t have the needles for the ribbing, so I kept putting it down between rows so I wouldn’t run out.

Pictures tomorrow, when done. :) Hopefully.

It snowed today, yay. But boo on snow when you have to drive.

One Mitt…

Look what I finished last night!
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I finished it last night (Christmas Eve), and immediately cast on for the second. I want to finish these this year, which I can hopefully do. Although, I am only halfway through the ribbing on the second one.

I tend not to measure gauge for small things, figuring that the mitt itself is a swatch. Thing is, I forgot to ever measure my ‘swatch’. In total, it is about an inch longer than Eunny’s. Not a bad thing, really. And according to the scale, I have plenty. The mitt is 0.8oz, the leftover yarn is 2.0oz. Then I realised that doesn’t tell me if I have enough of each colour, but I figure that if I have enough for another two mitts, there should be plent of each colour.

Christmas was wonderful, my only yarn related gift was a hank of sari silk yarn from my auntie in Manchester. She knits too, but is more into lacemaking. Not knitting it, but the thing with all the pins and the tiny thread. Beading too. She’s really crafty, and (unlike me) finishes all her projects.

Mitt is growing!

I bought the right needles today!
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I bought Addi Naturas; I decided I still wanted to go with the Magic Loop, but thought that metal would be too slick. I have heard that bamboo is better for colourwork, and I think it works.

I’m having a great time doing the colourwork! Really enjoying it, and very happy I ordered a copy of Anna Zilboorg’s book, Marvelous Mittens a week or two ago. I’m looking forward to that arriving.

The green I’m using is slightly variagated, I really like the way it looks. Although, there are some bits that are a bit too dark for my liking. They’re not as dark as the blue, but they’re still quite noticeable. Anyway, I like the overall look.

The only thing is, I’m slow. The progress (of the colourwork, the ribbing was already done) you see took me 2 hours. That’s only about 12 rows. Granted, there was putting laundry in the dryer, a quick phonecall, and stopping to admire, but still, SLOW.
I can’ figure out holding a colour in each hand, so I’m doing it the way I normally knit; dropping each colour as I don’t need it. As the colour changes at least every 3 stitches, it’s a lot of pickup/drop/pickup/drop.

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Bits and Pieces

I’ve knit a bit more on mitt #1 since I posted. Not much, so no pic. That pic was with 4 rows of ribbing. I’m up to 8 now. Teeny needles+teenier yarn+1X1 ribbing= hours of monotonous, minuscule progress. But in 6 more rows I get to start the colourwork! I’m hoping that will go faster because it is interesting. Still don’t have the right needle though, so it doesn’t matter that I’m going slow.

I can’t remember where I orginially saw this linked, but have you seen CraftMemo? You sign up (free and fast!) and then you can enter all your craft supplies, so you’ve got a nicely sortable list! You can enter projects, and add supplies to them, so you can see what you need, add suppliers so you’ve got all their phone numbers together… It’s just great. I think I may sit down with this for a bit this weekend. It’s almost a good thing I don’t have all my craft supplies here, this way I only have a ‘little bit’ to enter.

Thinking of stuff… I bought craft books. I am weak. But I have two things to say in my defense:
1. I have combinitis, that disease where when you’re buying Christmas presents, you can’t help but add something for you into the basket, because ‘well, I’m buying here anyway. why come back later?’
2. They were 40% off. I think that on its own is pretty good.

We get 30% off stuff normally, but if it is going to be returned to the publisher (which books are if they sit on the shelf too long) we can pick it out of the piles in the back, and get 40% off. When the average discount a bookstore gets from the publisher is 44%-47%, they’re still making a dollar or two, which is better than just getting their money back.
This is why Amazon is driving smaller bookstores out of business. They sell so much, they can afford to make everything 37% off, because it makes up for it in volume. I can’t count the number of people who mention Amazon and then try to beat our prices down. We just can’t compete, don’t people get it? Gigantic warehouse vs. independent business is just no competition. Luckily enough people still like making purchases in an actual store that bookstores can stay in business. It will be a sad sad day when all that is left is Ch*pters and Amazon.

I know I link to Amazon if I do a book review, but it is the best source of information the public can get to. Maybe I’ll start linking to the publisher’s pages instead.

Oh yeah, the books I bought?
One Skein and
Beads Buttons and Bijoux

Both are more inspiration books. You know, the ones you flip through for the pictures, so you can make something ‘inspired by’ rather than following the pattern completely. Although I think I will have to make a cupcake or two from One Skein. :)
BBB is very much an inspirational book. I think I’ll do a better review over the weekend, with a scan or two. I really like them both.

And yes, I got Christmas books for other people too. The total savings on my bill? $56. <3

Start of the end(paper)

I started the Endpaper Mitts tonight:
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What do you mean you don’t see it? Here, I’ll zoom in:
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I’m liking this whole Magic Loop thing. I first used it on Coronet, because I wanted to learn something new. The only thing is that the cord on my Addis has a mind of its own. The long Denise cord I got from my SP way back when was fine for Coronet, nice and flexible. The Addis? Not so much. I still need to get needles in the colourwork size, I’m trying to decide between DPNs and another big circular.

At last a FO!

It's about time

Yep, those are my finished Fleece Artist Thrummed Mittens.
I know I promised a finished pic a week or so ago, but I haven’t been able to photograph them on account of wearing them for the past week. You may also be asking yourself why I took the photo on my grubby (but completely dry) craft mat, rather than outside in the picturesque snow? The answer: if I was taking a photo of the mittens outside, that would mean that I am outside, and not wearing the mittens. It’s -25 frickin degrees out, my friends. I am not going outside with those mittens on. It’s supposedly going to hang around the -30C mark tomorrow. YAY.
Did you know that -18C is when flesh starts to freeze? I found that out tonight, thanks TV weather guy.

I’ve been very good and plodding away at that sweater sleeve in the evenings. I’ve done the increasing, and I actually don’t have too much more to go until I can start decreasing. I have to admit, it has been very, very hard not to cast on Eunny’s Endpaper Mitts. They’d be so perfect for work, I sit in a draft all day and they expect me to type and not drop the phone when I answer it.

Picture update.

My first handspun

My first handspun. Nowhere near even, or anything like that, but I had so much fun! I want to use it as a stripe in a hat or something. I even did a little bit more today, with the needle felting roving I bought to finish of my mittens. I did one colour after another, worsted-ish, then spun up all the white very thin, and plied them. It looks like a multi-coloured candy cane. It’s drying right now, pictures later. :)

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For Eunny’s fingerless mitten pattern. I love the semi-solid green, but knew I had to find something solid for the other colour, and there was a lovely (and cheap!) denim colour in Socka.

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The sweater so far. It’s just a teeny bit past my elbow now, and I just started a new ball a few rows back. I’m feeling good about having enough yarn. For a basic-shaped sweater (no weird vents or flappy sleeves) I figure that the two arms are the same (duh), the front and back are double an arm. Especially as this is a cardi, I break it down into units. One unit is one arm. So:
Arms = 1 unit each
Fronts = 1 unit each
Back = 2 units

So if I use two balls on a sleeve, I need 12 for the sweater. Seeing as I have 12, it should work. For the size I’m making, you cast on the same number of stitches for each front as you do for the sleeves.

Mitten pics soon!

I made yarn!

I made yarn! I did a spinning class at my LYS. I was right to be worried, I really enjoy it. I managed to spin up and ply all the fibre they gave us with the class. No pictures, because it’s gotten dark now. I will take some pics tomorrow of it. I also bought some yarn. Bad Heather.

I bought yarn for Eunny’s Endpaper Mits. Gorgeous-yet-deceptively-simple-(I-think) pattern? Check. Delightfully-geeky-and-bookish-name? Check.
I bought two sock yarns, which again, will be photographed tomorrow, one skein of a greeny Ultramerino, and one skein of Fortissima Socka. The green is slightly variagated, but I think think the blue is darker than any shade in the green, so the pattern should still show well. I hope. That’s the plan, anyway. I’m facinated with doign colour work with variagated or semi-solid as one yarn, and a solid as the other.

I’ll cast on tomorrow, or once Eunny has her tips up. Even though I really should work on that sweater.

Categories: Spinning_

Mitten Report

Well, I have a pair of mittens. Definitely fraternal twins, but that was to be expected with the random-coloured roving (and three different lots of it)! One (the newest) is also much, much fatter than the one I made in February. I think with a bit of wear, that one will un-puff. It may also be that i’ve had the other one for almost a year, and have been trying it on and all that. I hoping.

Oh well, I live somewhere cold now, they’re not for pretty, they’re for warm. :)

Pictures to come…. sometime with it is light out, and the boyfriend is home. Can’t take pictures with these on! Can’t even use the timer, because they’re like wearing (tight) oven mits. I’m sure I could bash the top of the camera until I managed to hit the button, but that’s just tedious. And with the amount of puff, I’m not sure even bashing it would have any effect.

What’s exciting is that I have a good amount of the third lot of roving left (I would be scared if I didn’t…) for felted Christmas ornaments! I’m also taking a spinning class this coming weekend, so I’ll either have more roving to turn in to balls, or I’ll spin this leftover mitten stuff. eee. I really shouldn’t even be testing out another hobby. I’ll get obsessed, I know I will.