Friday, July 30, 2010

Mitten Smitten

I'm on a bit of a mitten jag.  As summer temperatures soar, I'm in the middle of Wenche Roald's Dala Selbu Hybrid.

It started with the pattern, a free download at Ravelry. Tom is a proud Swedish-American.  We have a collection of wooden Dala horses that come out every Christmas to decorate the house.

The yarn for these mittens is  Knitpicks Palette in two tones of purple.  Knitpicks is the place for completely affordable yarn.  Their Palette line has umpteen colors and is heaven-sent for knitting colorwork mittens.  Palette yarn is so affordable that the total cost of making the mittens in the photo above is under $5.00, assuming you already have the needles.  If not, add another $6.50.

In contrast, the pair of Latvian mittens I'm planning as I join the Lizbeth Upitis KAL at Ravelry will cost much more.  I'll break it down:

  • 3 colors of the recommended yarn, Vuorelman Satakieli from Finland, sold at School House Press ... $15/ea.
  • 1 copy of Latvian Mittens ... $25
  • a free opportunity to learn from the leading U.S. authority on knitting this style of mitten .... priceless

I didn't have to spend $45 on Finnish yarn. I could make the Latvian mittens in Palette for $1.99 - $2.19 a ball.  Maybe next time.

For my first pair of this special style of colorwork knitting, I wanted very much to go the caviar-dreams-and-champagne-wishes route. And so, a great time was had  in agonizing over which three colors to choose.   After much backing-and-forthing and consulting of family members, the final decision came down to turquoise, burnt orange, and grey.

Latvia via Santa Fe!

Friday, July 23, 2010


One skein of worsted, a pair of size 7 knitting needles, a pair of size 9 knitting needles, a cable needle, a few beads  and you've got Insou.  The pattern is free from Berroco but the whole shebang turns out like something for which you'd pay $40 for at anthropologie.

This was a stash-down project.  The wool is Black Water Abbey 2-ply worsted wool in Pink Heather.  It's been in my cedar chest waaaaaaiting for four or five years.  The beads are from the stash of the model, my older daughter.  They are sewn into the center of the flowers.  You can see them if you click the photo to make it bigger.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Science of Socks - July

The last installment of Knit Purl's 2009-10 sock club arrived this morning.  As always, the presentation was beautiful. Also as always, included was a little surprise.

The surprises have ranged from a Lantern Moon sock project bag in shocking pink shantung to a sampling of caramels and chocolates to stitch markers to tea. 

 This month, there are two surprises.  Here's one...

Shibui Staccato Sock (65% superwash merino, 30% silk, 5% nylon, Beachball colorway)

yep, yarn!  192 yards to be exact. It's for the second surprise, a pattern for a headband knit in short-row triangles.  I don't have anyone to give a headband to, so I'll use this beautiful yarn for something else.  


Koigu KPPPM (100% merino, Hot Lips colorway)  The deepest plums are showing up black - sorry about that

The colorway is called Hot Lips.  For those of us who don't live in Portland, Oregon, it's not a reference to the M*A*S*H character but to, sellers of real-fruit sodas.  I guess Koigu was thinking of raspberry soda, blackberry soda, boysenberry soda, maybe even strawberry soda.  Those sodas sound really good, especially on a steamy July day!

The pattern for this luscious yarn left me cold at first. I'm seesawing between contempt and technical interest on this one.  What do you think:  interesting challenge or juggler/clown sock that won't stay up?


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Go-To Knitting Books

The workhorses of my knitting library are Knitting on the Road: Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter and Knitted Lace of Estonia: Techniques, Patterns and Traditions, both by Nancy Bush. From each book, I've knit about 1/3 of the patterns, some of them multiple times.

It's not that I have a plan to knit these books from start to finish, although I might actually accomplish that with the sock book one day. 

In fact, I've got another pattern to check off the sock book to-do list. It's called Denmark because the design comes from Viking art the author saw in the National Museum in Copenhagen.  Click on the photo to see detail. 

They are summer mansocks knit in Panda Cotton (59% bamboo, 25%  cotton, 16% elastic nylon). 

And while I was taking this photo, it occurred to me that beagle action has been too scarce on this blog.  Heeeeeere's Jack!

Sunday, July 18, 2010


I took this photo just a few minutes ago. Our garden is part beebalm and phlox, coneflowers and gayfeathers. The other part is wild woods. The woods is where you'll find blackberries. We leave them for the birds because, even as blackberries go, they're seedy. If you bite into one, its sourness makes you wink.

The blackberries are pretty, though. Fleece Artist has done a nice job of capturing the purples and reds in its Blackberry colorway Sea Silk.

A nice interpretation except, as you already know, variegated colorways tend to swallow lace patterns. Want to see my first try with this yarn? It's Cheryl Oberle's Kimono Shawl, a lovely pattern.

Yep, the yarn and the pattern are fighting each other. Frogged it.

There was a second attempt, which I actually saw through to the end. It's Multnomah and requires only one skein.

I never, ever wore this. Frogged it.

Third time's a charm. Perfection Wrap from More Big Girl Knits was written expressly for variegated Sea Silk. It's a six-row, slog-of-a-knit lace pattern with some P2tog through the back loop. I do hold it away from me and spread apart the lace, admiring how it will look when blocked and Tom has remarked on the loveliness several times so on I knit. This is what one skein of Sea Silk looks like in this pattern. (You can click on any photo to make bigger.)