Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

A little black acrylic yarn and you've got yourself a decorated house/giant cat toy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Found Wool!

A large plastic garbage bag full of wool!

In my basement!

Under my parents' old formica-topped dining room table! Next to a shoebox full of fieldwork notes!

Serendipitous stash enhancement!

That yarn has been there, oh, six years.  I know exactly when I bought it and for what, which happens to be a chullo hat for a baby.

There are over ten colors, yay!
And the yarn is mostly nice wool like Dalegarn Falk (sport weight, 100% wool, machine washable), perfect for stranded colorwork!  Yes, I did end up making that chullo and even in time to give it to the baby I intended it for.  At the time, it took me probably three weeks of concentrated effort.

But that was then and this is now.  There's a lot of knitting between the two.  I am happy to report that, although I found the garbage bag of yarn only three days ago, I have a Finished Object.
Soaking for blocking this morning

The pattern is Annemor #2 from Selbuvotter: Biography of a Knitting Tradition by Terri Shea. If you don't already own this book and you love Scandinavian knitting, consider adding this book to your collection. There are 30 patterns, all taken from antique mittens and interesting background info, too.

The Scandinavian mitten connoisseurs will notice immediately that the yarn is worsted-weight instead of the traditional fingering. I took a pattern for a child's mitten and sized it for an adult woman's medium-sized hand simply by using the heavier wool and larger needles (#3 dpns).

Friday, October 15, 2010

One - No, Two - Quick Knits

You have seen 60 Quick Knits?  It's got patterns of varying difficulty for 20 hats, 20 scarves, and 20 mittens, all for worsted-weight yarn.  A book like this can come in handy at this time of the year *cough* holidayknitting *cough*

Sixty patterns this book may have but I bought the book for only one.  The Birdcage Mittens by Elli Stubenrauch called to me.


My version is made from Peaceable Acres worsted and Aussi Yarn, both from the stash.  I have a hate-hate relationship with that Aussi Yarn. That Aussi stuff  is splitty and it's knotted to make the yardage and it's a little rough.   If someone offered me my weight in Aussi Yarn, I'd turn them down.

Okay, first I'd try bargaining before I turned down the gift.  I'd try for half my weight in Noro Kureyon.  One-quarter in Koigu KPPM?

So, mittens made, I had just the person to give them to.  My younger daughter is making a flying visit home from college for Fall break.  And so I thumbed through the 60 Quick Knits and I made her a hat.

Garter-Ridged Hat and Birdcage Mittens

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Why Knit Socks?

Trail Mix Socks in Panda Cotton Solid (59% bamboo, 25% cotton, 16% nylon)

When I started this blog, I was a confirmed non-sock knitter. What a lot of work for something no one ever looks at because who looks at socks, I figured. What a waste of money.

A little time went by. I got better at knitting. I began to wonder why all the fuss about sock knitting. What the hey, I knit a pair. Then another. It was fun. Socks are a small, portable project, as mindless or mindful as you want them to be and quick to finish.

Much more importantly, Tom was diagnosed with diabetes. It had become essential he have socks that would not bind. In other words, Tom needs socks that fit him perfectly.  Handknit socks fit.  Until you've tried a pair, you think machine-knit socks are fine.

Project portability and custom fit are two great reasons to knit socks. There's a third: sock yarn.  Sock yarn can be really gorgeous. You don’t need a lot of it/a big investment to have enough for a pair of socks.  For around $20, you can make a really special pair of socks but you don't have to spend that much.  The socks in the photo above cost $12 to make.

My favorite sock yarn?   It's Boo Fly Sock a mix of superwash merino and bamboo.  The colors are gorgeous and the yarn wears like iron. You can throw them in the washing machine. The merino makes it warm enough for when the snow falls, which can be October - April here.  The bamboo makes it comfortably warm, not sweaty. Bamboo socks tend not to smell as the fiber contains an antibacterial and bacteriostasis bioagent.

 Happy Socktober, all!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

A Stork's Nest Scarf

I picked up a skein of llama yarn at a harvest festival the other week. The yarn is spun from the fur of a llama named Ghost Dancer.  As you would expect from a name like Ghost Dancer, the color is a pale, ethereal gray.  The wool is as soft to the touch as angora.

It knit up quickly into an Estonian lace scarf in the Stork's Nest pattern written up by Nancy Bush in Knitting Traditions magzine (Winter 2010).  Click on  the photo and suddenly the little stork nests will appear.